I am a firm believer that you need a specific recipe for Cupcakes. Because they are small and contained within their own paper case, they can be lighter with less structural integrity than larger layer cakes. That means you can use more liquid in them, which is just perfect for these delicious Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes.
This delicious recipe contains just one egg, but has both milk and lemon juice to add to the moisture content. The Lemon Flavour comes from both the zest of a lemon and the juice. The zest is where most of the lemons flavour is. The zest contains the oils that, when beaten with the butter, will be released into the mix.
However, be careful when zesting a lemon that you literally only take the top yellow part of the peel. If you start to take the white the flavour will soon become bitter. And as a quick tip - always use unwaxed lemons. no-one wants to eat the wax they put on lemons to make them shiny. That stuff is purely for looks and not for eating!
Lemon Drizzle Cupcake Ingredients
This is a classic cake recipe with butter, sugar, flour and eggs. However it has a few added ingredients to make these Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes extra zingy and extra fluffy.
I always use baking spread in cupcakes. The high moisture levels are good for a moist cake, and using baking spread will help keep the cost down.
I would recommend using caster sugar. However, granulated will work. I do find with granulated however I have a slightly sweeter crust on the cakes. Read my post about Caster and Granulated Sugar.
This recipe only use 1 egg. The extra moisture in these cakes comes from milk and Lemon Juice.
Flour and Raising Agent
I use plain (all purpose) flour in cupcakes with added Baking Powder. I use a little more Baking Powder than I would in a larger cake, but not enough that you can taste it. You can use Self Raising flour, however reduce the quantity of Baking powder to 0.5tspn, rather than 1.5tspn.
Use both the zest and the juice of the lemon. A lot of flavour is held in the oils in the skin of a lemon, so using the zest at the beginning of the recipe will help get the most out of it.
As you are using the zest make sure you use unwaxed lemons, or you’ll just be grating wax into your recipe.
I always add milk to my cupcake mix. Use whichever you have in the fridge. Plant based alternatives will also work just as well.
To get a crunchy top on Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes you need to make a drizzle from Lemon Juice and Granulated Sugar. Granulated sugar is best for this as the crystal are bigger and you get a nice crunch.
Butter for Frosting
Always use block butter for buttercream. The fat to moisture ratio is best and you will avoid sloppy frosting.
Regular icing (powdered) sugar is fine for this recipe. If you Icing Sugar is lumpy, make sure you sift it first.
The flavouring in the buttercream comes from adding lemon curd. This can be either home made (if you are a domestic goddess) or shop bought.
Gluten Free and Dairy Free Alternatives
You can use gluten free flour and baking powder in this recipe. In fact, due to the high levels of moisture in the mix gluten free flour works very well. I would also use Xanthan Gum to avoid the cupcakes crumbling. Follow the pack instructions for the quantities.
Both plant-based butter and milk alternatives can easily be used int this recipe. For the buttercream always use a plant-based butter block, as the moisture content will be lower and the icing will keep its structure better.
Lemon Drizzle Cupcake Technique
These cupcakes use the Reverse Creaming Method. You start by mixing the sugar, flour and butter /baking spread together until you get a breadcrumb texture. This allows the flour to be coated in the butter/baking spread fat before the liquid hits it. Once the egg, milk and lemon juice hit the flour the gluten will start to develop if you work it too much. Coating it means the development will be less, making your cupcakes lighter and fluffier.
Always take your cupcakes out of their pans as soon as they come out of the oven. This will help to avoid the cases peeling, and the cakes shrinking. Read my post on how to bake cupcakes for the best results.
If you are using the drizzle coating, before the buttercream, add this as soon as they come out of the cupcake pans, whilst they are still hot. The heat from the cakes will help to evaporate the moisture in the juice, leaving behind the zesty flavour and crunchy sugar.
Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes FAQs
Use a different recipe to larger cakes. One that is specifically designed for cupcakes with lots of moisture, that make very light, fluffy cakes.
Bake them at a lower temperature. This may mean they take a little longer, but you will avoid getting that annoying pimple top that you can sometimes get. I bake cupcakes no higher than 150c (300f). If baked low the whole cake will bake at the same rate and rise at the same rate. If you bake too high the outside of the cake will bake first, and when the middle bakes it’ll have nowhere to go but up, and that’s when you get a dome.
Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes Pro Tips
Make sure you mix the milk and lemon juice into the mix separately - this is NOT a bung it all in kind of recipe. Lemon Juice, if mixed directly with the milk will make it curdle. Therefore, mixing it in at the end will allow the milk to be protected from curdling by the butter, sugar and flour mix.
However, the best way to get maximum flavour from the zest is to put it in right at the start. The oils will release from the zest whilst it's being beaten with the sugar and butter and can them permeate into the whole of the recipe.
This recipe should make 8 cupcakes but can be easily scaled but doubling or tripling the quantities. It also works great with oranges or limes.
If you've enjoyed this recipe, you'll love these
Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes Recipe
- 1 Zesting grater
- 1 Lemon Juicer
- 1 measuring jug
- 1 mixing bowl
- 1 Electric Mixer Preferred but not essential
- 1 Scales and Spoon Measures
- 1 12 hole cupcakes Pan
- Cupcake Cases/liners
- 40 gms Butter or Baking Spread
- 1 Zest of a Lemon approx. 2 tbspn
- 120 gms Caster Sugar
- 120 gms Plain Flour
- 1.5 tspn Baking Powder
- 1 Large Egg
- 100 ml Milk
- 30 ml Lemon Juice approx 1 medium lemon
- 30-40 ml Lemon Juice approx 1 medium/large lemon
- 2 tbspn Granulated Sugar
- 150 gms Block Butter at a spreadable consistency
- 300 gms Icing or powdered Sugar
- 2 tbspn Lemon Curd
- a few drops yellow food colouring optional
- Pre-heat your oven to 150c fan, 180c, 350f, GM4
- Line a cupcakes tin with 8 cases
- In a mixing bowl - this can be done in an electric mixer - weigh the butter/baking spread, caster sugar and lemon zest.
- Beat together until light and fluffy
- Add the flour and baking powder, and mix until you have the consistency of fine breadcrumbs
- Add the egg and milk and mix until just combined
- Lastly add the lemon juice and mix through
- Divide the batter between the 8 cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes, or until well risen and a cocktail stick placed in the centre comes out clean
- Whilst the cakes are baking mix together the juice and granulated sugar for the drizzle
- As soon as the cakes are baked, remove from the oven and transfer the cakes to a wire cooking rack
- Whilst the cakes are still hot spoon over the drizzle
- Allow to cool and the drizzle to become crunchy
- Whilst cooling mix the buttercream by placing all the ingredients in a bowl and mixing slowly until everything comes together
- Then mix on medium/high for at least 5 minutes to get light and fluffy buttercream
- Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag, or use a palette knife to decorate the cakes
Have you Tried this recipe?
I would love to see it or hear about your experience of it.
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