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Lemon Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream

When in doubt – always go with the classics! You can never go wrong with this delicious and easy to make lemon vanilla cupcake! Paired with its swiss meringue vanilla buttercream frosting – it is moist and perfect for any birthday party, high teas or simply indulged on its own on a chill evening.

Wait for it! It gets even better! This cupcake batter is a one bowl recipe and doesn’t even require a mixer to make! Just put all the ingredients in one big bowl, hand whisk them until well combined and boom it’s done!

And you know what? This Lemon Vanilla Cupcake recipe can even be made in advance! In fact, leaving the cupcake and frosting to sit 24 hours in an airtight container allows the cupcake to absorb some of that delicious frosting flavoring. Thus, making the cupcakes even more moist and delicious!

I came across this recipe when I first started baking (thus super kid-friendly) and ever since, it is my go-to cupcake recipe. Its plain-ish batter makes it very versatile. You can add choc-chips, dried fruits like raisins or cranberries or you can change the lemon zest to orange zest… just style it as you wish! 

Tips & Tricks

  • Measure the ingredients properly – For instance, don’t scoop the flour directly out of the bag with the measuring cup. Since flour compacts, this method will add too much flour to the recipe. Instead, spoon the flour into the measuring cup, then level off with the back of a knife
  • Do not overmix – Once you add the flour, do not overmix the batter. You want to gently mix the batter until just combined. If you mix too vigorously, the protein in the flour will develop too much and make the cupcake dense and tough

Storage Tips

  • Buttercream – The buttercream can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for around 1 week or for about 1 month in the freezer. You’ll have to thaw it in the fridge if you froze it. Then, just bring it to room temp (remove it from the fridge approx 1 hour before using) and beat it well before piping
  • Cupcake – You can keep the batter in the fridge for about a week or even freeze it for a month. I do not recommend refrigerating or freezing the cooked cupcake (cake portion) as it draws out the moisture and tends to dry out
  • Once cooked and piped, I recommend keeping the Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes in an airtight container on your kitchen bench (in a shady area). The buttercream will melt if it is in direct sunlight.

Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes

Course: Something Sweet, Dessert, Afternoon teaCuisine: VariousDifficulty: Easy


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Lemon Vanilla Cupcakes, a little twist on an ultimate classic. An easy recipe perfect for any occasion.


  • 150g (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, room temp

  • 100g (⅓ cup + 2 tbsp) castor sugar

  • 3 medium eggs, room temp

  • 200g (1⅔ cups) self-raising flour

  • Pinch of salt

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence or 1 vanilla pod

  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest


  • Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line your cupcake tins with paper cases
  • In a bowl, sift together the flour and pinch of salt. Mix well until well combined
  • In a separate bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy
  • Keep whisking and add the eggs one at a time, scraping the edges of the bowl each time*
  • Then add the vanilla essence and the lemon zest. Mix well to combine
  • If you are using an electric mixer, turn the speed to slow then add the flour in 3 batches. Mix until just combined. It is important not to overmix or be too heavy handed otherwise your cupcakes will turn out dense and tough
  • Fill the cupcake tins to about 2/3 full. Bake in the oven for around 20-25 minutes, turning the pan around in the oven half way through to make sure they bake evenly. When a skewer inserted comes out with just a crumb or two, they are done. In the meantime, you can prepare the vanilla buttercream frosting
  • Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely
  • Once cooled, use an apple corer to create/dig a small hole at the centre of the cupcake to pipe the frosting.
  • Pipe the frosting using a piping bag and decorate to your liking


  • * The mixture will look lumpy but that’s alright, it will all come together when we add the flour

For the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe, click here

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