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Last Updated on March 18, 2021 by Chenée Lewis
Sometimes you just need a bite of springtime! And when you do, these lavender lemon cupcakes are the perfect treat. They’re light, moist, fluffy, touched with a hint of lavender, and have the most amazing lemon cream cheese buttercream frosting. And they’re perfect for spring and summer celebrations! So you can make these easy lavender lemon cupcakes for a birthday, a baby shower, a bridal shower, a graduation! Or just as a treat for yourself or the family anytime! They’re so easy, you don’t need an occasion!
These lemon lavender cupcakes come from my mini vanilla cake recipe. And they’re just as easy, and just as moist and fluffy! The ingredients list is largely the same:
- eggs – they should be room temperature
- lemon zest – complements the lavender perfectly!
- pure vanilla extract – perfect balance for the lavender
- lavender extract – just enough lavender flavor to give these cupcakes a unique floral scent. I use Angel Bake.
- granulated sugar – gives these cupcakes their sweetness!
- vegetable oil – adds a bit of richness to the batter.
- sour cream – keeps these cupcakes moist and tender. Should be room temperature.
- cake flour – contains less gluten than all-purpose flour, so your cupcakes will stay light and tender.
- baking powder & baking soda – gives your cupcakes a lift!
- salt – brings out all the flavors.
And then they’re topped with a quick and easy lemon cream cheese buttercream frosting that makes these easy lavender lemon cupcakes irresistible! For that, you’ll just need:
- cream cheese
- salted butter
- lemon zest & juice
- powdered sugar
When you have everything gathered together, you’re ready to make these lavender lemon cupcakes!
Step by Step
- First, you’ll beat together your eggs, zest, sugar, and extracts and then add in your oil and sour cream.
- Next, you’ll sift in your flour, baking powder, baking powder, and salt. Fold it all together until it’s just barely combined.
- Then just fill your prepped baking liners and you’re ready to bake!
Tips and F.A.Q.
Like springtime! These lavender lemon cupcakes have a beautiful hint of floral lavender flavor, softened a bit with vanilla and brightened by the lemon cream cheese frosting. And the lavender flavor in these lavender lemon cupcakes isn’t intense at all! I love using lavender extract because it allows precise control over the amount of lavender flavor. If you are hesitant about baking with lavender, you could start with just half the lavender extract called for in the recipe card below. You’ll still have beautifully flavored cupcakes with a more subtle lavender aroma.
My secret for these lavender lemon cupcakes is using vegetable oil instead of butter. Just like in my mini vanilla cake, the oil keeps the cupcakes from drying out. Most cupcakes are made with butter as the primary fat, which adds flavor. However, because butter is about 18% water, a lot of the moisture added to the batter when butter is used can evaporate during or after baking. Vegetable oil, by contrast, is 100% fat. That means that all of the richness and moisture provided by the oil remains in the cupcakes well after they’re baked and lasts for days.
To make sure your lavender lemon cupcakes bake up nice and light, you’ll need to whip air bubbles into the batter while you’re mixing it. This is why many recipes call for using a whisk or an electric mixer to beat the wet ingredients until they’re “fluffy.” All that air in the batter will expand in the oven, giving you a fluffier cupcake!
Another key is to avoid overmixing your batter so that you don’t overactivate the gluten in your flour. That’s why we’re using cake flour, which has a lower gluten content than all-purpose flour. That’s also why in the recipe card below, I say to “fold” the flour in until it’s just combined — meaning, don’t use a whisk or electric mixer, and don’t keep mixing after the flour is mixed in. This keeps the gluten from activating, which prevents a dense, tough result.
If you don’t have cake flour, you can make a substitute to use for these lavender lemon cupcakes! All you need is all-purpose flour and corn starch. Just measure out 1 ¼ cup of all-purpose flour and replace 2½ teaspoons of it with cornstarch. In grams, it’ll be 155 grams of all-purpose flour sifted with 6 grams of cornstarch. As I mentioned above, it’s best to measure by weight with a kitchen scale, but if you don’t have one be sure to use the spoon-and-level method to measure by volume.
Actually, there are a few different ways to get lavender flavor into your cake or cupcakes. This lavender lemon cupcakes recipe uses lavender extract, which I’ve found to be the simplest. But you can also use dried culinary lavender to infuse milk or other liquid ingredients, or you can grind it in with sugar or salt.
Yes! These cupcakes are best frozen unfrosted — just wrap each cooled cupcake in plastic wrap, then store in a freezer bag for up to 2 months. You can also freeze the frosted cupcakes too. Just freeze them uncovered until the frosting is solid, then wrap them in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Thaw cupcakes unwrapped at room temperature.
If you like these lavender lemon cupcakes, you’ll want to try my Lavender Earl Grey Cake — it’s got so many of the same floral and citrus notes against the distinct flavor of Earl Grey tea, plus a honey-lemon glaze that you’ll want to eat with a spoon! It’s another one-bowl and whisk recipe, so you’ll find it perfect for an easygoing dessert!
Also, you should try my Lemon Icebox Pie — it’s based on a family recipe that’s lasted for generations, and you’ll immediately see why! Full of tart lemons and zest, and sweetened with condensed milk, it sets up in the fridge for the ideal summertime dessert!
Equipment you may need
Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese - full-fat, room temperature
- 5 tbsp salted butter - room temperature
- 4½ cups powdered sugar - (526g), plus an additional 1/2 cup if needed
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 ½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan and spray with baking spray.
- In a large bowl, beat together eggs, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and lavender extract until fluffy and light.
- Add in granulated sugar and whip until fluffy and well combined.
- Mix in vegetable oil and sour cream until smooth.
- Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold until just combined.
- Use a cupcake scoop or measuring cup to fill cupcake liners two-thirds full. Drop onto counter from 3 inches high to eliminate air bubbles.
- Bake in preheated oven 18-20 minutes or until centers are springy to the touch and a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool completely before decorating.
Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
- Using a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat softened cream cheese and butter until smooth.
- Mix in lemon zest and lemon juice until well combined.
- Gradually add powdered sugar while continuing to mix until you've achieved your desired consistency. Beat an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Spread or pipe over cooled cupcakes.
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