Indulge in the delightful combination of zesty citrus with these irresistible lemon poppyseed cupcakes. These moist and fluffy lemon-infused cupcakes are studded with delicate poppyseeds and topped with a luscious lemon buttercream frosting. Make this for a special occasion or enjoy as a simple sweet treat to brighten your day.Jump to Recipe
Lemon poppy cupcakes are a favorite in our home. I love anything lemon and when you add poppyseed to the mix, it just takes it to another level. You get the bright and tangy flavor of lemon with the subtle crunch of poppyseeds all throughout the cupcake and the icing. They're so much fun to make and will bring all the spring vibes to your home. If you have a sweet tooth for lemon desserts like I do then you're going to love the fresh lemon flavor in this recipe.
- Why You'll Love Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes
- Substitutions for Poppy Seed Cupcakes
- How to Make The Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes Recipe
- How to Make Lemon Buttercream Icing
- Tips For The Best Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How to Store
- Other Desserts You'll Love
- Delicious Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes
Why You'll Love Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes
Burst of refreshing citrus flavor: Lemon adds a vibrant and tangy taste to the cupcakes, giving them a refreshing and zesty flavor that delights the palate.
Textural delight: The addition of poppyseeds provides a pleasant crunch and a unique texture to the cupcakes, elevating them to the next level.
Perfect balance of sweet and tangy: Lemon cupcakes with poppyseeds strike a perfect balance between the sweetness of the cake and the tartness of the lemon, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.
Versatile and appealing: Lemon poppyseed cupcakes are versatile and appeal to a wide range of tastes. They can be enjoyed as a breakfast treat, afternoon snack, or as a dessert for any occasion.
Light and refreshing: The bright lemon flavor makes these lemon and poppy seed cupcakes feel light and refreshing, making them an ideal choice for warmer seasons or when you're craving a dessert that isn't overly heavy.
Eye-catching presentation: The combination of the vibrant yellow color from the lemon zest and the specks of poppyseeds create an eye-catching appearance, being sure to impress your family and friends.
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour - you can substitute cake flour with a simple 1:1 ratio if you have this on hand
1 cup granulated sugar - for sweetness
Zest from 1 lemon - to enhance the delicious lemon flavor
1/4 tsp baking soda - works as a leavening agent
1 1/2 tsp baking powder - to give the cupcakes a light and airy texture
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt - to enhance the other flavors
3/4 cup unsalted butter softened - helps make the delicious cupcakes nice and moist
1 tsp vanilla extract - for added flavor
2 large eggs room temperature - works as a binding agent
1/2 cup sour cream - to add additional tanginess
1/4 cup milk - non-dairy milk can be substituted
1/4 cup lemon juice - fresh lemon juice is best for this recipe. You should only need 1 large juicy lemon
2 tablespoons poppy seeds - can be found in the spice section of most grocery stores
1 cup butter softened - make sure to use unsalted butter
1 tbsp lemon zest - served over top of the icing to add a touch of color
1/4 cup lemon juice - for added tanginess and lemon flavor
5 cups powdered sugar - for sweetness and to bring the icing together
1 teaspoon poppyseeds - to be drizzled over the top
Substitutions for Poppy Seed Cupcakes
Lemon Zest and Juice: If you don't have fresh lemons, you can use bottled lemon juice or lemon extract as a substitute. However, keep in mind that the flavor may not be as vibrant as using fresh lemon zest and juice.
Poppyseeds: Poppyseeds are an essential ingredient in lemon poppyseed cupcakes, and it's best to include them for their distinct texture and subtle flavor. However, if you can't find or don't have poppyseeds, you can substitute chia seeds which will bring some fiber to the dessert. You can also omit them from the recipe, and you'll still have delicious lemon-flavored cupcakes.
Flour: If you want to make the cupcakes gluten-free, you can use a gluten-free flour blend as a substitute for all-purpose flour. Just make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for substituting the flour since you may need to make other adjustments to the recipe.
Butter: If you prefer a dairy-free option, you can substitute butter with a dairy-free alternative like margarine or coconut oil. Make sure the substitute is in a solid state, similar to softened butter, for proper texture and consistency.
Milk: To make the cupcakes dairy-free, you can use a non-dairy milk such as almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk as a substitute for regular milk. The choice of milk alternative will depend on your dietary preferences and any allergies or sensitivities.
Eggs: If you need an egg-free option, you can try using a suitable egg replacer or substitute like applesauce, mashed bananas, flax egg, or a commercial egg replacer product. Eggs are important in maintaining moisture and binding properties in the cupcakes so a substitute could change the outcome. I haven't tried this substitute but if you end up doing so, leave a comment and let me know how it went.
Buttercream Frosting: Consider making a cream cheese frosting instead. This is easy to do by substituting the butter for 8z cream cheese. A lemon cream cheese frosting is sweet, tangy, and so good.
How to Make The Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes Recipe
Step 1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Spray the cupcake liners with cooking spray to avoid sticking and to help with the removal of the liners.
Step 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until the flour mixture is well combined. Set aside.
Step 3. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Once done, lower to medium speed and beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the sour cream, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.
Step 4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the electric mixer with the wet ingredients, alternating with the milk. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Finally, stir in the poppyseeds until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Step 5. Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about two-thirds full. Then bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Step 6. Once the cupcakes are done, remove from the oven and let them cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the lemon frosting. In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter until creamy.
How to Make Lemon Buttercream Icing
Step 1. In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter until creamy and smooth.
Step 2. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Step 3. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice to the butter mixture. Mix well to incorporate the lemon flavor throughout.
Step 4. Place the icing in a piping bag with the icing tip of your choice. Pipe the icing over top of the cooled cupcakes. Top with poppyseeds and extra lemon zest.
Tips For The Best Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes
Use fresh ingredients: Freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest will provide the most vibrant and authentic lemon flavor to your cupcakes.
Properly measure the flour: Spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with a straight edge. Avoid packing the flour, as it can result in dense cupcakes.
Do not overmix the batter: Mix the batter until the ingredients are just combined and there are no more white streaks. Overmixing can lead to dense and tough cupcakes.
Let the batter rest: Allow the batter to rest for about 10-15 minutes after mixing. This will help the flavors meld and the poppyseeds soften slightly.
Fill cupcake liners appropriately: Fill the cupcake liners about two-thirds full to allow room for the cupcakes to rise without overflowing.
Check for doneness: Insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake. If it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, the cupcakes are done. Avoid overbaking to keep them moist. I recommend checking at the 18 minute mark to see how they're coming along. Some ovens cook faster than others.
Cool completely before frosting: Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack before applying the lemon buttercream icing. This prevents the frosting from melting or sliding off, especially since it's made from butter.
Adjust frosting consistency: If the buttercream is too thick, add a little milk or lemon juice to thin it out. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar. Aim for a spreadable and pipeable consistency. Also try to choose a larger icing tip so the lemon zest doesn't get stuck.
Garnish with lemon zest: For an extra burst of lemon flavor and a decorative touch, sprinkle some freshly grated lemon zest on top of the frosted cupcakes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have to rinse poppyseeds before baking?
It is not necessary to rinse poppyseeds before using them in baking. Poppyseeds are typically used as they come, without rinsing. Rinsing them may not have a significant effect on their taste or texture, and it can be challenging to rinse them thoroughly due to their small size. However, if you prefer to rinse poppyseeds before using them in the lemon poppyseed cupcakes, you can place them in a fine-mesh sieve or strainer and rinse them under running water. Be sure to drain them well and pat them dry with a paper towel before incorporating them into your recipe.
Why Are My Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes Flat?
There are various reasons your cupcakes are flat. Following the directions as they are written shouldn't leave you with flat cupcakes. They should be springy to the touch. Below are some reasons this is happening.
- Overmixing: Overmixing the batter can develop excess gluten, leading to a dense and flat texture. Mix the ingredients just until they are combined.
- Incorrect oven temperature: If the oven temperature is too low, the cupcakes may not rise properly. Ensure that your oven is calibrated correctly and preheated to the specified temperature in the recipe.
- Expired leavening agents: Baking powder or baking soda can lose their potency over time, resulting in flat cupcakes. Make sure your leavening agents are fresh and active by checking the expiration date and storing them properly.
- Improper measurement of ingredients: Using inaccurate measurements of flour, sugar, or leavening agents can affect the structure of the cupcakes. Be sure to follow the recipe and use the appropriate measuring tools for accuracy.
- Opening the oven door too early: Opening the oven door during baking can cause a sudden drop in temperature and disrupt the rising process. Avoid opening the oven door until the cupcakes have had a chance to set.
- Overfilling the cupcake liners: If you fill the cupcake liners with too much batter, they may overflow and collapse, resulting in flat cupcakes. Fill the liners about two-thirds full to allow room for the cupcakes to rise.
Can I Make These Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes In Advance?
Yes, you can make lemon poppyseed cupcakes in advance. This can be done a few different ways.
Bake in advance: You can bake the cupcakes ahead of time, allow them to cool completely, and store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They can stay fresh for 2-3 days. Ice the cupcakes before serving for the best results.
Freezing baked cupcakes: If you want to extend their shelf life, you can freeze the baked cupcakes before they're iced. Place them in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag, ensuring they are well-sealed to prevent freezer burn. They can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. When ready to serve, thaw the cupcakes at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Once thawed, you can frost and decorate them as desired.
Freeze the cupcake batter: If you prefer to have freshly baked lemon poppyseed cupcakes on a later date, you can freeze the batter instead of baking it right away. Prepare the batter according to the recipe, scoop it into lined cupcake tins, and then place the entire tray in the freezer. Once the batter is frozen solid, transfer the individual cupcake portions into a freezer-safe bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven, place the frozen cupcake batter in the lined cupcake tins, and bake as instructed in the recipe. You may need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time since the batter starts out frozen.
Frosting in advance: If you want to save time, you can prepare the lemon buttercream frosting in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Place the frosting in an airtight container, ensuring it is well-covered to prevent it from drying out. The frosting can be refrigerated for up to 2-3 days. Before using the frosting, let it come to room temperature and give it a quick whisk to restore its creamy texture. You may need to add a bit more powdered sugar or milk to achieve the desired consistency.
How Many Cupcakes Does This Recipe Make?
This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.
Can I Use a Food Processor?
While it is possible to use a food processor to make cupcake batter, it is not the most common or recommended method. Cupcake batter is typically made using a mixing bowl and an electric mixer, such as a stand mixer or a handheld mixer. This is because overmixing can develop gluten and result in dense cupcakes. Using a food processor may make it more difficult to control the mixing process, potentially leading to overmixing. Also, cupcake batter needs to be well-incorporated but not overworked. The use of an electric mixer helps ensure that the ingredients are evenly blended while incorporating air into the batter, which contributes to a light and fluffy texture. A food processor may not provide the same level of aeration.
How to Store
Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before storing them. If you store them while they are still warm, condensation can form and make the cupcakes soggy. Store in an airtight container or cupcake carrier that is large enough to hold the cupcakes without squishing the frosting. If using a container, line the bottom with a layer of parchment paper or wax paper to prevent sticking.
Store the cupcakes in a cool, dry place at room temperature. Avoid storing them in direct sunlight or near a heat source, as it can cause the frosting to melt or the cupcakes to dry out. Cupcakes are best when consumed within 2-3 days of baking. If you need to store them for longer, you can refrigerate them for up to 4-5 days. However, note that refrigeration can affect the texture of the cupcakes, making them slightly denser. Before serving refrigerated cupcakes, allow them to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes to restore their freshness.
Other Desserts You'll Love
Delicious Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes
- 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons poppyseeds
For The Lemon Buttercream
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon poppyseeds
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Spray the cupcake liners with cooking spray to avoid sticking and to help with the removal of the liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until the flour mixture is well combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Once done, lower to medium speed and beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the sour cream, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the electric mixer with the wet ingredients, alternating with the milk. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Finally, stir in the poppyseeds until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about two-thirds full. Then bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Once the cupcakes are done, remove from the oven and let them cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the lemon frosting. In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter until creamy.
How to Make Lemon Buttercream Icing
- In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter until creamy and smooth.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the lemon zest and lemon juice to the butter mixture. Mix well to incorporate the lemon flavor throughout.
- Place the icing in a piping bag with the icing tip of your choice. Pipe the icing over top of the cooled cupcakes. Top with poppyseeds and extra lemon zest.