These cupcakes are for everyone out there who loves lemon poppyseed muffins, but sometimes wants them to be dressed up as dessert. The cupcakes are light and moist, with lots of lemon flavor and just the right amount of poppyseed crunch. The frosting is lemon cream cheese, which means that it’s rich and tangy and the perfect complement to the cupcakes. Could you leave the frosting off and call these muffins? Sure, but who would want to do that?
This is one of those recipes that I made per the request of my seven-year-old daughter. She LOVES a lemon poppyseed muffin, dating back to our California days when we lived two blocks from a Starbuck’s and, occasionally, we would walk (she would scooter) there on a weekend morning and let her pick a treat for breakfast. If there was a lemon poppyseed muffin in the display case, that was always her choice. Five years later, and she’s asking me for lemon poppyseed cupcakes, because we all know that a cupcake is just a muffin dressed up with frosting. Cream cheese frosting, to be exact, because it is her favorite.
I think she’s on to something, because the combination of the tart lemon muffins and the rich cream cheese frosting make for a pretty perfect combination. I adapted this raspberry lemon poppyseed bundt cake for the muffins, and added a hint of lemon extract to my standard cream cheese frosting. The end result is a cupcake that is bursting with lemon flavor without being overwhelmingly tart, with a rich frosting to take you from breakfast to dessert. I decided to get a little fancy with my frosting, but trust me that it tastes great whether you pipe on flowers and stars or slather it on with a spatula.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- ½ cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- Zest of two lemons
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter or line a cupcake pan.
- Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds in a medium bowl.
- In a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer on medium speed, beat butter until smooth and creamy, about one minute. Add sugar and lemon zest and continue to beat for two minutes more. Turn mixer to low and add egg, mixing for another minute.
- Add half of the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Repeat with the buttermilk and the rest of the dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling three-quarters of the way full. Bake for 13-15 minutes, then allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Repeat with any remaining batter.
- Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. With a hand mixer, mix on medium-high speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time, mixing on low and then increasing the speed until the sugar is completely incorporated. Add the vanilla and lemon extracts and mix to combine.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost and serve.