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Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting

September 3, 2014


Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting - 2Teaspoons Tap any photo to Pin

Labor day has passed and pumpkin is exploding on the internet! I love fall and I love pumpkin everything, but with highs in the mid 90’s I just can’t pretend it’s fall yet. No matter how much I want that pumpkin latte.

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting - 2Teaspoons

For me, summer flavors burst with sweet handpicked berries, juicy melons, and tangy lemons! Ice-cold lemonade is the perfect antidote to the summer heat, squeezing lemon juice on fresh summer veggies is the best, and those lovely, light and summery desserts…Mmmm. Today, I’m holding onto summer just a little bit longer with a light, refreshing lemony dessert recipe.

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting - 2Teaspoons

Today’s recipe takes the (cup)cake for refreshing summer desserts…Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting!

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting - 2Teaspoons

These cupcakes bake up light and airy with a refreshing, lemony tang that contrasts perfectly with the sweet and creamy vanilla bean frosting.  Yummy!

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting - 2Teaspoons

Adding lemon to any dessert makes them taste light enough to eat the whole batch. Go ahead, indulge, I promise I won’t tell 🙂

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting - 2Teaspoons


Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Tangy lemon cupcakes with sweet vanilla bean buttercream frosting!
Course Dessert
Servings 12
Author 2Teaspoons


  • 1 2/3 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup greek yogurt or sour cream
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 2 cups powdered confectioner sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean* or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • Optional: Extra lemon zest for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12 muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. CUPCAKES: In a medium bowl melt butter in microwave on medium powder. Whisk in sugar until dissolved. Whisk in egg, yogurt, milk, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla until completely blended.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly whisk in wet ingredients until no lumps remain. Divide batter equally among muffin tin. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
  4. FROSTING: Once cupcakes are cool, if using a vanilla bean, slice vanilla bean open and scrap out inside seeds*. Beat softened butter on medium speed with a standmixer or electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt and beat on high until frosting is fluffy, about 1-3 minutes, scraping down sides when necessary.
  5. Evenly divide frosting between cupcakes. Sprinkle with lemon zest and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

* A nice explanation on how to open and use a vanilla bean can be found at TheKitchn


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Recipe Rating

  1. Avatar for Amanda @ Cookie Named Desire

    Amanda @ Cookie Named Desire

    I am obsessed with lemon-flavored treats, so this screams my name! It looks absolutely divine! Pinned!

    • Avatar for Karen


      Thanks Amanda! If you love lemon desserts I definitely recommend these cupcakes. I have a weakness for them too and just loved these little guys 🙂

  2. Avatar for Katie @ Butterlust

    Katie @ Butterlust

    hooray for holding onto summer! (though I do love me a PSL) these cupcakes are perfect! those little vanilla bean specks get me every time!

    • Avatar for Karen


      Thanks Katie! I totally love the PSL too! With the weather outside, I’ve been operating right on the cusp of summer and fall flavor cravings…Yesterday it felt like 93 degrees outside, but today the high was only 78. If this keeps up I’ll definitely be diving head-first into all the pumpkin, apple, maple flavors in no time 🙂

  3. Avatar for Judy @ I

    Judy @ I'm Bored, Let's Go

    I’m with you, too hot here to think about fall and all the pumpkin recipes! I love all things lemon and these looks so light and delicious. Although I do have a buttercream addiction so I’m sure mine would have much more frosting!

    • Avatar for Karen


      Thanks Judy! I totally agree that all cupcakes are improved by more buttercream 🙂 It definitely wouldn’t be a bad idea to double the frosting recipe…especially if you’re trying to pipe it on the cupcakes.

  4. Avatar for Heather


    Those cupcakes looks so light and lemony. I love the speckles of vanilla bean in the frosting!

    • Avatar for Karen


      Thanks Heather! I love how the little vanilla speckles look and taste too 🙂

  5. Avatar for Jessica | A Happy Food Dance

    Jessica | A Happy Food Dance

    Love that you can see the vanilla bean in the frosting – these look so decadent!

    • Avatar for Karen


      Thanks Jessica! I love the little specks too! I started using vanilla beans only about a year ago and totally think they are worth it, for both their vanilla-y taste and how fun they look 🙂

  6. Avatar for Denise | Sweet Peas & Saffron

    Denise | Sweet Peas & Saffron

    I will admit that I drank a pumpkin latte yesterday…but I am also still game for light, summery desserts like this! They look delicious, and I love those little flecks of vanilla in the frosting…yum!

    • Avatar for Karen


      Thanks Denise! I just started working with vanilla beans about a year ago and I think they are really worth the extra cost and effort. The vanilla flavor is just incredible and I love how the little flecks look too! I’m definitely looking forward to my first pumpkin latte soon…maybe I’ll try it with these cupcakes 🙂

Hi! I'm Karen, the recipe creator, photographer, and food fanatic here at 2Teaspoons. I love delicious food and I love sharing it with great people like you. Welcome to my dinner table, pull up a chair! Read More… →

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