My mom (who is also a wonderful baker and the very person I learned my skills from) said that these lemon poppy seed cupcakes are luscious, light and airy. She also pointed out that even the person who doesn?t usually like lemon cake will really enjoy this cupcake. We took a cake decorating class about 2 years ago and I thought it would be fun to share a frosting style tip I learned back then: how to make your frosting look swirled with color. Check out the directions below for this easy frosting decoration that will surely impress your guests!



Last week was my grandpa?s birthday and I wanted to make him a special dessert for his 83rd celebration! I brainstormed many different ideas and finally made up my mind last minute and decided on lemon poppy seed. It just happened to turn out that lemon poppy seed cake is one of his very favorites! This awesome moment made me realize that my magical power must be that I subconsciously know everyone?s favorite cupcake flavor.  🙂 Below is an adorable picture of him at his birthday party!


In my non-baking life I am about to graduate (FINALLY!) with my physical Therapy doctorate degree! Back when I first started PT school about 3 years ago is when my baking blog: was created. My blog has transformed over the past years and I never could have imagined that one of my posts would be pinned on Pinterest over 44,000 times!!! Check out the post here. I?m excited for the coming months and I have several recipes lined up for your baking pleasure



Check out the recipe below and let us know what you think!! Enjoy!!!


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How to swirl color into your frosting:

You will need: a frosting-piping bag, 1 food grade or clean (and never used) small paintbrush, and gel food coloring of your choice.

1. Prepare your frosting bag by folding over the edge ~2-3 inches to prevent over filling the bag and for easier handling. Place your favorite tip in the frosting bag. I used Wilton brand 1M to create a star/swirl pattern.

2. Using your paint brush, paint a thin stripe of gel food coloring on the inside of the bag from the frosting tip to ~3/4 the way up your bag. You can paint a few stripes of different colors or use the same color like I did. Then, place the frosting in your bag being careful to not touch the fresh gel paint with your spatula. Then unfold the top edge and twirl to create a closed end.

3. Pipe frosting on your room temperature cupcakes or cakes. 



Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Classic Buttercream Frosting
Serves 24
A summery, delicious, light and fluffy lemon poppy seed cake with the most creamy butter cream frosting.
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
3 hr
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
3 hr
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Ingredients
  1. 1 cup butter (softened)
  2. 2 cups granulated sugar
  3. 4 eggs
  4. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  5. 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  6. Lemon Zest from 1 large lemon
  7. Lemon Juice from 1 large lemon (use the same lemon!)
  8. 3 cups cake flour*
  9. 1 tablespoon & 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  10. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  11. 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  12. 1 cup milk
Classic Buttercream Frosting Ingredients (requires stove-top and stand mixer)
  1. **Make sure all ingredients are room temperature
  2. 1 and 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1/2 cup water
  4. 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
  5. 2 large eggs
  6. 1 and 1/2 cups unsalted butter (softened, equivalent to 3 sticks)
  7. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Directions
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. 2. In a large bowl add butter and beat well for 1 minute until creamy. Add sugar 1 cup at a time and beat until creamy for 2-3 minutes.
  3. 3. Add eggs 1 at a time and beat well after each addition. The mixture should be very creamy.
  4. 4. Add vanilla, lemon extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Beat until well incorporated.
  5. 5. In a separate medium bowl add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds; mix well with a whisk.
  6. 6. Add flour alternating with the milk at a 3:2 ratio of flour mixture to milk. Beat until just combined after each addition.
  7. 7. Place cupcake papers into pan and fill each cup 2/3 full.
  8. 8. Bake in the middle rack for ~18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean with no batter. If using 9” cakes pans, bake for ~30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean with no batter.
Classic Buttercream Frosting Directions
  1. 1. Combine sugar, water and cream of tarter in a medium saucepan and continue stirring while over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  2. 2. Once simmering, stop stirring and cover for 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Then cook uncovered until the syrup registers 238° on a candy thermometer.
  3. 3. Meanwhile, fill a medium-large saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer. In a separate medium sized heatproof bowl (that will fit on the saucepan), beat eggs and vanilla extract on high until thick and pale yellow. Beat eggs again right before the syrup reaches 238°.
  4. 4. Pour the syrup into the egg bowl in a small stream, beating constantly. Then, place the bowl above the saucepan of simmering water (like a double boiler) and stir constantly until the thermometer reaches 160°. Remove from heat. Wash the beaters and then beat the hot mixture until it cools to room temperature (this is easiest with a stand mixer).
  5. 5. Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time and beat well between each addition. If you add the butter too fast, it may curdle and therefore adding butter slowly is necessary. If it becomes soupy, place in the fridge for several minutes and beat again.
  6. 6. Place frosting onto room temperature cupcakes or cakes.
  1. *To make cake flour: substitute 1 tablespoon of flour for 1 tablespoon of cornstarch; repeat with each cup.
More Chocolate

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Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe is an original from Michelle from
Classic Buttercream frosting was adapted from the Joy of Cooking.
This post was originally posted on

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