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Wooden serving bowl topped with lemon poppy seed cupcakes topped with swirls of lemon cream cheese frosting and poppy seeds.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Maria Pagiotas
  • Total Time: 1 hour 1 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x


Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes are soft, moist, and made with fresh lemon juice and zest. Tangy lemon cream cheese frosting adds a creamy and delicious finishing touch. You only need basic baking ingredients and less than 1 hour to make these cupcakes from start to finish.



Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

  • 210 g (1 1/2 cups) cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 210 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 113 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 2 lemons
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 170 g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 112 g (4 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 450 g (1 pound) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Poppy seeds, for decorating


Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until creamy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Beat in the egg and egg whites, one at a time, until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in vanilla until mixed.
  5. With the mixer on low speed and in three parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and lemon juice to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat together mostly, leaving a few streaks of flour. Gently fold in the poppy seeds.
  6. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack before frosting.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In a large bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until completely incorporated.
  3. Add the lemon zest and enough cream for desired consistency. Increase to medium-high speed and beat for 2 minutes.
  4. Using an offset spatula or disposable pastry bag fitted with a large piping tip, frost the cupcakes. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.


Storage: Store lemon poppy seed cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Freezer: Individually wrap cooled cupcakes with plastic wrap and store them in a freezer after container. Alternatively, store frosted cupcakes in a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Square cake: Bake the batter in a greased and floured 8x8-inch square baking pan for 30-35 minutes.

Mini cupcakes: Fill mini liners halfway and bake for 10-12 minutes in a preheated 350°F/177°C.

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cooling Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 16 minutes
  • Category: Cakes & Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking