Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes
A recipe for delicious, light, and fluffy lemon poppyseed cupcakes that you can make at home.
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Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes

A summery, delicious, light, and fluffy lemon poppy seed cake with the most creamy butter cream frosting. I made these for my grandpa one year because I wanted to try them, turns out it was his favorite flavor. Fate? I think so. Grandpa approves and so will you!

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Classic Buttercream Frosting

A summery, delicious, light and fluffy lemon poppy seed cake with the most creamy butter cream frosting
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time3 hours
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: birthday, buttercream, cake, cupcakes, lemon, poppy seed
Servings: 24 cupcakes


  • stove top
  • stand mixer


Classic Buttercream Frosting Ingredients (requires stove-top and stand mixer):

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter softened, equivalent to 3 sticks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • 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.
  • Add eggs 1 at a time and beat well after each addition. The mixture should be very creamy.
  • Add vanilla, lemon extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Beat until well incorporated.
  • In a separate medium bowl add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds; mix well with a whisk.
  • Add flour alternating with the milk at a 3:2 ratio of flour mixture to milk. Beat until just combined after each addition.
  • Place cupcake papers into pan and fill each cup 2/3 full.
  • 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

  • Combine sugar, water and cream of tarter in a medium saucepan and continue stirring while over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  • 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.
  • 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°.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Place frosting onto room temperature cupcakes or cakes.

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


*To make cake flour: substitute 1 tablespoon of flour for 1 tablespoon of cornstarch; repeat with each cup.
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