Love and Olive Oil

Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes

Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes

This blog has been cupcake-less for far too long. I’ve been neglecting cupcakes for other sweets like cookie dough and layer cakes. Shame on me.

These delicately tart cupcakes are the perfect way to welcome springime (which, to me, is marked officially by daylight savings time – it’s when I can finally start photographing dinner again!) The lemon flavor is subtle enough so as not to overwhelm their delightful texture; the addition of a bit of cornmeal in the cake gives them that little something extra. Like a sweet corn muffin, they’re bright and buttery and topped with a sweet lemon glaze and nonpareil sprinkles.

This week Taylor and I are off to sunny Florida for a little R & R & FBF (rest and relaxation and Food Blog Forum). I’m not going to leave you hanging, though – keep your eyes peeled on Friday for a very special (and super fluffy) post and giveaway!

Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes

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For Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornmeal (preferably coarse ground)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, room temperature*
1 lemon, zested and juiced (should yield 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest and 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

For Glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
Food coloring (optional)


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a standard-sized muffin tin with cupcake papers.

Sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs and egg yolk and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in lemon zest, juice, and vanilla.

Add flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Mix until no dry flour remains.

Divide batter evenly among prepared cups. Don’t overfill, each cup should be no more than 2/3 full, or about 3 tablespoons each. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until edges are lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place pan on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes from tin and allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, to prepare glaze, sift powdered sugar into a bowl. Slowly add lemon juice and whisk until smooth; add 1 to 2 drops of food coloring if desired. Dip tops of cooled cupcakes in glaze, then quickly flip and place on wire rack. Sprinkle with nonpareils or sugar pearls, if desired. Glazed cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they are made, although unglazed cupcakes will keep, stored in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.

*Room temperature eggs will be easier to incorporate into the batter. Set them out for 30 minutes before you start baking. If you’re in a hurry, simply place your eggs in a dish of lukewarm water for 5 to 10 minutes.

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  1. I made these last night for Easter, but they didn’t come out well. They were dry with no lemon flavor (although the batter tasted very lemon-y).

    I substituted white whole wheat flour for all-purpose, but have done that extensively with no issues in the past. Otherwise, I followed the recipe.

    Two questions:
    -Does mix until no dry flour remains mean use the beaters? I normally only make quick breads which you are never supposed to use beaters when adding flour and you always leave the batter lumpy.
    -Have you considered weighing your ingredients? I used 206 g of flour which is 1.5 cups through the spooning method. I never use measuring cups anymore because the weight can vary so much.

    I’m just trying to figure out what made these dry! The lemon flavor I can fix. Thank you, Lindsay!

    • Sorry to hear that! I think dry cupcakes are most likely caused by overbaking. I did use the electric mixer for these, but on low speed and stopped as soon as the flour was all incorporated. The batter wasn’t lumpy like a quick bread, though. While my cupcakes weren’t dry, this particular recipe is definitely a lighter, more cornbread-like texture than some of my other cupcakes. Maybe it’s just different than what you’re used to and thus interpreted as dry? Who knows. There are so many variables it’s really hard to say!

  2. I tried this recipe yesterday…absolutely gorgeous!thanks for sharing

  3. These sound delicious and are so gorgeous!

  4. Interesting idea, adding the cornmeal. I’m want to try it and see if it only affects the taste, or if it also affects the texture. Love the simple glaze.

    You have a lovely blog and photos. I truly enjoy reading your thoughts and ideas.

  5. this looks so light and delicious. i love baking with buttermilk, adds so much moisture without extra fat. looks lovely!

  6. I am so thrilled to have this blog in my life! Your pictures, stories and recipes are just awesome! Thank you so much for sharing. Keep up the yummy work!!

  7. wow! beautiful pics wanted to reach through the screen and grab one of those!



  8. enjoy your trip!! :)

    i’m always looking for new ways to use up leftover buttermilk, i’ll have to remember this!

  9. Lemon is absolutely the perfect flavour to welcome in Spring – I’m all over it at the moment. These look delicious and so beautifully presented!

  10. This recipe looks amazing! i am always on the lookout for a new cupcake recipe, and anything lemony always catches my eye! You have such a lovely blog, and you’ve definitely made a new fan :)

  11. YUM! That fresh lemony flavor is perfect for spring!

  12. These look awesome. Can’t wait to try them.

  13. Thanks for fixing the cupcake-less problem with these beauties. They look incredible.

  14. These are gorgeous cupcakes. What a wonderful spring recipe!

  15. I’m intrigued by using cornmeal in cakes, but these look really lovely. Spring is in the air! :-)

  16. What gorgeous little cupcakes!

  17. These cupcakes look amazing. I like the idea of mixing lemon and buttermilk: fresh yet delicious!

  18. Sounds like a light, delicious springtime dessert!

  19. These look heavenly! The photo just screams Spring and we sure could use some here…more snow this morning.

  20. I’m not crazy about lemon, but you sold me on the cornmeal!

    Have fun in Florida!


  21. Wow- you read my mind and beat me to it! I was thinking of the same exact cupcake (minus the corn meal, which is brilliant) to make for my girlfriend’s baby shower. Now I don’t have to go on an internet searching spree- I’ve got the perfect recipe right here. Thanks!

  22. Perfect way to ring in spring :)

  23. You post and you leave town??? I want one of these! There’s no gelatin! :)

  24. Extremely pretty and sunny cupcakes! :)

  25. guess who happens to have some meyer lemons at home? they were just sitting there, waiting for a purpose. congratulations, you helped some lovely lemons find a home. :)

  26. Wow these look so cute and I definitely agree, cornmeal in cakes and breads can really add something to the texture, and is something I’ve just discovered recently . In fact, I just made some corn bread for the first time last week and will definitely be doing it again! x

  27. They look heavenly! I love love LOVE lemon baked goods. I keep scrolling up to look at the picture. I love the way the light is hitting the cupcakes. :)

    Have fun in Florida!

  28. I’m absolutely crazy for anything lemon right now, love these cupcakes!

  29. What a fantastic idea! Yum!

  30. Lindsay these cupcakes are absolutely stunning! I love them… simplistic beauty is my favorite :)

  31. Gorgeous little treats :)

  32. These look wonderful! I love lemony desserts

  33. Purtroppo non capisco molto l’inglese, ma le immagini sono internazionali e dicono tutto..questi cupcakes sono favolosi!!

  34. yay for evening sunlight! losing an hour of sleep is absolutely worth it. these cupcakes sound like the perfect way to welcome spring. have fun at FBF!

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