Soft, light and moist lemon cupcakes loaded with fresh blueberries and topped with an easy lemon cream cheese frosting. These Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes are the perfect dessert for spring or summer!
It’s officially been spring for a few weeks now, but it still feels like winter around here. So instead of waiting for warmer weather, I thought I’d bring a little sunshine to your day with these delicious lemon blueberry cupcakes.
If you’ve ever felt intimidated when it comes to making cupcakes, I promise they’re not too difficult. Sure they may take a few extra steps than using a box mix, but the feeling of baking a dessert from scratch is something you just can’t beat.
These cupcakes are also topped with a lemon cream cheese frosting, but I’ve made notes if you want to try these with another frosting!
To make these cupcakes, you’ll start out with some all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. When it comes to measuring your flour, just be sure to spoon and level it instead of scooping it out of the container. If you scoop the flour, it can become packed inside the cup and you can end up with muffins instead of cupcakes.
Along with the dry ingredients, there are a few other ingredients that really make these cupcakes so perfect:
- Butter & Sugar: You’ll cream together your butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes until it’s light in color and fluffy. This incorporates more air into the batter which means softer, lighter cupcakes.
- Lemon Juice & Lemon Zest: Nothing beats fresh lemon juice and lemon zest in a lemon dessert!
- Lemon Extract: The lemon extract adds more lemon flavor to the cupcake batter. You’ll also be using it in the cream cheese frosting. If you don’t have any lemon extract, you can see my baking tips section on how to adjust the recipe.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk creates a tender crumb and also adds moisture to these cupcakes.
Along with the wet ingredients, you’ll also be using eggs for structure and vanilla extract for a little flavor.
And of course, you’ll be using some fresh blueberries tossed with a little bit of flour. I haven’t tested this recipe with frozen blueberries, but I imagine that they will work just fine. I would avoid thawing them first and just gently mix the frozen berries into the batter to prevent them from turning your cupcakes purple.
For the lemon cream cheese frosting, you’ll be using some cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and lemon extract. For best results, I suggest sticking with full fat cream cheese so the frosting is thicker and pipes better.
Since cream cheese frosting tends to be softer than buttercream frosting, I’ve found that lemon extract works much better than lemon juice. You only need about 1 teaspoon of lemon extract to get the flavor of 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and it keeps your frosting thicker so it pipes better.
I find that some brands of lemon extract aren’t quite as strong as other brands, so feel free to add more if you prefer. I really love Nielsen-Massey pure lemon extract, which is what I used in this frosting. If you don’t have any lemon extract, you can just use vanilla extract instead.
If you want to try these with a different frosting, you can use my regular cream cheese frosting recipe or homemade buttercream frosting. If you want a lemon buttercream frosting, try adding 1-2 teaspoons of lemon extract.
Baking Tips for Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes
- When measuring your flour, don’t scoop it out of the container with the measuring cup. Instead, stir the flour around, spoon it into your measuring cup, and level it off with the back of a knife.
- If you don’t have any lemon extract, you may replace it with vanilla extract in the cupcakes and frosting.
- Be sure to toss your blueberries with a little flour before adding them to the cupcake batter. The flour will help keep the blueberries suspended in the batter so they don’t sink to the bottom of your cupcakes.
- Make sure to use brick-style cream cheese instead of cream cheese spread in your frosting. This will create a much thicker frosting that is easier to pipe on your cupcakes.
- 1 and ½ cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1 and ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 and ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lemon juice
- Zest of 2 medium lemons
- ½ cup (120 ml) buttermilk
- ¾ cup (110 grams) fresh blueberries + 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 8 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two standard 12-count muffin pans (or one 24-count muffin pan) with 14 cupcake liners and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy (about 4-5 minutes). Mix in each egg one at a time, then the vanilla extract, making sure to mix well after each addition. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract and mix until well combined. The mixture may look curdled at this point, this is okay.
- Mix in the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk making sure to mix well after each addition. Use a rubber spatula or spoon to turn the batter and make sure everything is well combined.
- Toss the blueberries with the teaspoon of flour and gently fold them into the batter.
- Evenly distribute the batter between all 14 cupcake liners, making sure to only fill them about ¾ of the way full. Bake in separate batches at 350°F for 17-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly touched.
- Remove from the oven, then carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and mix for about 30 seconds-1 minute until well combined and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and lemon extract and continue mixing until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Pipe the frosting on the cooled cupcakes, serve, and enjoy!
To make ahead: Store cooled cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to two days. Frosting can be prepared 2-3 days in advance, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator. Allow cupcakes and frosting to come to room temperature, mix the frosting if needed, and pipe onto the cupcakes.
Freezing Instructions: Cupcakes will freeze well for up to 3 months. Store in a freezer bag/container, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting. Frosting will also freeze well for up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature and mix well before frosting cupcakes.
More lemon blueberry recipes to try!