Lemon cupcakes

lemoncupcakesHere we have another contender for the Table of Cake for our wedding: a lighter than air, gently flavoured lemon cupcake, richly buttery and slathered in lemon cream cheese frosting. I only had one taste-tester for these, as M is resolute that he does not like fruit-flavoured cake, but they got a big thumbs up from Valentina.

A few notes on the ingredients: I have been unable to find cream cheese in Istanbul for love nor money, so I used labne – a kind of strained yoghurt that is great in all manner of savoury recipes, but also comes out very well in a cream cheese frosting. When making the frosting, you’ll just need to adjust the amount of icing sugar you use, depending on how runny your labne is. The amount of lemon juice and zest listed for the cake itself produces a very mildly flavoured cupcake. If you want a stronger lemon flavour, just double the amount of zest.

Let me know what you think of the recipe: good enough for a wedding?!

Makes 12 cupcakes

What you need

1 cup and 2 tbsp (1/8 of a cup) self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla essence

½ cup milk

For the frosting

½ cup butter, softened

125g labne (if you’re using regular cream cheese you might need more or less, depending on how watery it is. I find labne quite runny when mixed, so you might want to use more if your cream cheese is firmer)

2 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 cups icing sugar


How to make them

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 160˚C (I have a fan oven – adjust if you don’t), and lining a 12-ring cupcake tray with cake cases.
  2. Sieve the dry ingredients together in a small bowl, then set aside.
  3. Using a hand beater, beat the butter and sugar together until the colour lightens (with my snazzy new hand beater, this took around 2 minutes or so).
  4. Add the eggs one by one with a little of the dry ingredient mixture, beating in between until thoroughly combined. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients and beat for another few minutes.
  5. Once the eggs and flour are combined, add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, and beat again until combined.
  6. Finally, add the milk and best again for another few minutes until light, fluffy and completely smooth.
  7. Spoon into your prepared cupcake cases, filling each one only half full, as they will rise a lot during baking.
  8. Bake for 17-20 minutes. I say 17 because that’s exactly how long mine took. Times will vary depending on your oven, so just keep an eye on them after 15 minutes. When a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, your cakes are ready.
  9. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
  10. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. In a deep bowl, beat the butter and labne/cream cheese together until completely smooth. Then add the lemon and vanilla, and beat a little more.
  11. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, until the mixture starts to become stiff (again, you’ll want to adjust the amount of powdered sugar according to how runny your cream is – nothing beats just tasting it to see if it’s right).
  12. When the cakes are completely (and I mean COMPLETELY) cool, use a palette knife (or a piping bag, if you’re feeling fancy) to generously coat each cupcake with your desired amount of frosting.