Primrose Bakery lemon cupcakes

(45 ratings)
Lemon cupcakes
Lemon cupcakes
  • Makes: 12

  • Prep time:

  • Cooking time:

  • Total time:

  • Skill level: Bit of effort

  • Costs: Mid-price

These fresh lemon cupcakes are always very popular at the bakery and also at weddings and baby showers. Make sure you use really juicy plump lemons for the best result!


  • 110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 225g caster sugar, preferably golden
  • 2 large eggs, free-range or organic
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 125g plain flour
  • 90ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1tsp (roughly one lemonís worth) grated lemon zest
  • 1tbsp sour cream

For the buttercream:

  • 115 g unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Grated Lemon Rind from an unwaxed lemon
  • 500g Icing Sugar, sifted

Why not get the kids to help you out with the icing?


  1. To make this cupcake recipe, preheat oven to 160deg C (fan)/180 deg C/350 deg F/gas mark 4
  2. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the creamed butter and sugar and beat well.
  4. In a jug, combine the milk, lemon juice and sour cream. Alternate adding the flours and milk to creamed butter mix as follows - add one-third of the flour and mix well. Add half the milk mixture and mix well. Add another third of flour and mix well. Add the reminder of the milk and mix well. Finish by adding the last third of flour and the lemon zest and beat well.
  5. If the mixture looks like it is curdling slightly, donít panic Ė simply add another spoonful of plain flour and beat well.
  6. Spoon out the mixture evenly between the cases and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Use a cake skewer in the centre of one the cupcakes to check they are cooked through. They will appear quite a light golden brown colour even when cooked.
  7. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes and the place carefully on a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. When the cupcakes are completely cold, they can be iced with the fresh lemon buttercream and decorated with a sugared lemon slice (pots of these are sold in most supermarkets) or some grated peel from a lemon.
  9. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.
For the buttercream:
  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter, milk, lemon juice, lemon rind and half the icing sugar until smooth. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat until thick and creamy. This can take several minutes.
  2. Use this icing on the lemon cupcakes or to ice the middle and top of the lemon layer cake.
  3. Store any unused icing in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Make sure to beat well before re-using.

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Average rating

  • 4
(45 ratings)

Your comments


This is my favorite lemon cupcake recipe!! Yes, maybe the cakes don't taste too lemony, but the icing fixes that! As for the icing, the amount of icing sugar is toooo much! And every time I make it, I never put 500 grams. I start with the initial 250 grams, and then add bit by bit till I'm happy with the taste. I also increase the amount of lemon juice depending on how I want it to taste! Result: Every one that has tried them has loved them...and I do too..


Followed the cake part of this recipe to the letter and was quite disappointed with the result. The cakes are dense, not very lemony and in fact don't taste of very much at all. The frosting is very tasty, but the recipe must be wrong - for a start it doesn't tell you how much milk to include. And there's waaaay too much icing sugar - we stopped adding it when we thought the frosting mixture was saturated and we must have had 200g left over! And we still had too much frosting for our 12 cakes.

Tif Burns

This. Was. Awesome. After reading other reviews, I will say they look a little funny coming out of the oven, but you have to ice them. Alone, no, they're not very lemony. BUT, if you get them too lemony and then ice them it's REALLY over whelming. Follow the recipe and you will be happy with the mixture of icing and cupcake. I used lime zest in the icing instead of lemon to give it a little something different, and added 3 oz of cream cheese and used half the sugar and it was still pretty sweet. It made it creamier and less sugary which was nice. The icing balanced out the cupcake though - if the cupcakes are too sweet or citrusy it's over powering. I also made them gluten free!!! Just add a tsp of xantham powder and 1 tsp of baking powder to the flour and they come out FANTASTIC!! Made them for a birthday party and they RAVED about them! I liked the recipe a lot. :) Thank you!!


I have just made these, and again i didn't think they tasted very lemony so i added more lemon juice and zest. When i took them out of the oven, they looked pale and plastic. I didn't enjoy the taste as they were very stodgy and not light and fluffy. However, whilst they were in the oven I did prepare the icing and it tasted really nice, i did add a touch more lemon though. I would use the icing recipe again but with a different lemon sponge recipe.


Just tried to make these, although I haven't and won't get as far as icing them. I thought the sponge mixture did not taste particularly lemony so added more zest and juice to the mixture before baking but once out of the oven I am not a fan! Taste more fragrant than of lemon. I will be looking for a different recipe.

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