Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

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Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting are so full of bright sunny flavors! Whip up this easy recipe to add a little sunshine to your day. Deliciously tender vanilla cupcakes pair perfectly with the lemon cream cheese frosting.

Vanilla cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting lined neatly on a dark tabletop.

Vanilla Cupcakes

One thing is for sure, I love fruity desserts. I will always choose the fruit-laden treat over the double chocolate one. Don’t get me wrong, I do love all sweets but I can never pass up sweet ripened fruit-filled desserts.

One of my most adored is the lemon. It’s already made an appearance on the blog this winter in this pull-apart bread. I am making sunshine filled treats to entice spring to hurry up!

These cupcakes were an offering to the weather gods. The cupcake itself is soft and full of vanilla flavor. I topped them with a sweet lemon cream cheese frosting. The vanilla and lemon complement each other perfectly.

The vanilla cupcake recipe is incredibly easy. It contains simple ingredients that you should already have on hand. Butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, flour, baking powder, and salt.

I always use butter in my cupcake recipes because I love the buttery flavor. I think all cake should be buttery!

Vanilla cupcake batter in a clear mixing bowl with pink spatula.
Vanilla cupcakes in a muffin pan.

How to make vanilla cupcake with lemon cream cheese frosting

The process is simple. Mix the wet ingredients, then mix the dry ingredients, and combine the two. You really can’t mess this up. Bake them for about 20 minutes and that’s it. Easy-peasy.

The frosting is just as simple. And it tastes amazing! Cream cheese, butter, lemon curd, and powdered sugar are all blended together to make a light, lemony, and creamy frosting. It’s good enough to eat with a spoon. Or as a dip for fruit. Trust me, it’s amazing.

Frost the cupcakes after they have cooled completely. You can choose your own method for frosting. I used a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. This allowed me to pipe large swirls of frosting onto the cupcakes.

The cupcakes and frosting take around an hour to make and I’m certain it will take you less than that to eat them all. They are wonderful.

Angled view of vanilla cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

4.36 from 14 votes
Vanilla cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting lined neatly on a dark tabletop.
Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting are so full of bright sunny flavors! Whip up this easy recipe to add a little sunshine to your day. Deliciously tender vanilla cupcakes pair perfectly with the lemon cream cheese frosting. 
Jen Sobjack
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Serving Size 12

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ⅓ cups (173 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (120 ml) buttermilk

For the frosting

  • 8 ounces (226 g) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup (56 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups (360 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup (56 g) lemon curd, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions

Make the cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then, beat in the vanilla. 
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternating with the buttermilk. Begin and end with flour mixture. Mix until well blended.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
  • Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the sugar, lemon curd, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low until just incorporated then turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 2 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 420kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 46g | Vitamin A: 664IU | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients and brands you used in the recipe.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

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Recipe Rating




53 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I was looking for a lemon cupcake recipe and I came across this. It was pretty amazing. I also added a little bit of lemon curd on the inside of the cupcake and topped it off with the lemon cheesecake frosting. Briliant recipe. Thankyou

  2. Can I make this a cake instead of cupcakes? If so, how many cakes and how much frosting would I have to make for a 4 layer cake?

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      I actually haven’t tried converting these cupcakes into a 4 layer cake but the adjustments needed will depend on the size of the layers. Are you wanting four 9-inch layers, four 8-inch layers, etc.? This recipe alone yields about 3 cups of batter. You can use this pan size chart to calculate how much more batter you need for the size of the layers you want.

  3. Hello, thanks for the recipe, I want to try it but i’d like to know if 1% low fat buttermilk can be used?
    thanks!

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      You’ll get the best results with full-fat buttermilk.

  4. Could I substitute the lemon curd for fresh lemon juice? And can I decrease the amount of powdered sugar as well? These look delicious btw!

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      Lemon juice may work but I’m not sure if it will make the frosting too runny. Using less powdered sugar will definitely leave you with a looser consistency. You’re welcome to play around with the frosting to get the results you desire, though.

  5. Megan - The Emotional Baker says:

    Lemon cake > chocolate cake. It’s basic math 😉 These look so awesome!

  6. Amber @ Dessert Now, Dinner Later! says:

    You make incredibly gorgeous cupcakes Jen! These sound amazing!

    1. You are too kind! Thanks, Amber.

  7. These look so bright and fresh! The lemon cream cheese frosting sounds amazing!

  8. Blair @ The Seasoned Mom says:

    These look so fresh and perfect for spring, Jen! My lemon-loving three-year-old would be very happy to see them at his May birthday party! 🙂

    1. I’m sure the kids would love these, Blair. You’ll have to let me know if you make them. 🙂

  9. Chineka @ Savor The Baking says:

    You’ve got me with the lemon cream cheese frosting. These look delicious and I love fruity desserts as well.