Perfect Lemon Cupcakes

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*Makes 12-15 cupcakes



1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 egg yolk

1 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest/peel (from about 2 lemons)

Lemon Frosting:

3 tablespoons butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice (use the lemons you zested for the cupcakes)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Milk, as needed

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest/peel

Freshly grated lemon zest for garnish, if desired


Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Line about 15 muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar and vanilla; beat until well mixed. Add the egg and egg yolk and mix well. Add the 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix. Add 1/2 of the sour cream and mix again. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, stirring until combined. Add the final 1/2 cup of the sour cream and after mixing, add the final 1/3 of the flour. Mix just until combined. Stir in the 2 teaspoons lemon zest. The batter will have a thick consistency.

Spoon about 1/4 cup of the batter into each prepared muffin cup filling between 1/2 and 2/3 full. Bake the cupcakes for 16-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

For the frosting, in a medium bowl, beat the butter, powdered sugar and lemon juice together until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes with an electric mixer (stand mixer or handheld). Mix in the vanilla and add 1-2 teaspoons of milk to adjust the consistency, if necessary. It should be creamy and spreadable. Stir in the 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Dollop a tablespoon or two of the frosting on each cupcake and spread until smooth. Top with a few sprinkles of fresh lemon zest, if desired.