Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes

Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes

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(241 ratings)

Prep: 40 mins Cook: 22 mins Plus cooling

More effort

Makes 12

These zesty cupcakes look so gorgeous you won't want to eat them, but once you start you won't be able to stop

Nutrition and extra info

  • Can be frozen un-iced

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal529
  • fat30g
  • saturates18g
  • carbs66g
  • sugars51g
  • fibre1g
  • protein4g
  • salt0.75g
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  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • zest 2 lemons



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds, toasted
  • 3 eggs



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 100g natural yogurt
  • 175g butter, melted and cooled a little



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

For the icing

  • 225g butter, softened



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 400g icing sugar, sifted
  • juice 1 lemon



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • few drops yellow food colouring
  • icing flowers or yellow sprinkles, to decorate


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake or muffin cases. Mix the flour, sugar, lemon zest and poppy seeds together in a large mixing bowl. Beat the eggs into the yogurt, then tip this into the dry ingredients with the melted butter. Mix together with a wooden spoon or whisk until lump-free, then divide between the cases. Bake for 20-22 mins until a skewer poked in comes out clean – the cakes will be quite pale on top still. Cool for 5 mins in the tin, then carefully lift onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

  2. To ice, beat the softened butter until really soft in a large bowl, then gradually beat in the icing sugar and lemon juice. Stir in enough food colouring for a pale lemon colour, then spoon the icing into a piping bag with a large star nozzle.

  3. Ice one cake at a time, holding the piping bag almost upright with the nozzle about 1cm from the surface of the cake. Pipe one spiral of icing around the edge, then pause to break the flow before moving the nozzle towards the centre slightly and piping a second, smaller spiral that continues until there are no gaps in the centre. Slightly ‘dot’ the nozzle into the icing as you stop squeezing to finish neatly. Repeat to cover all the cakes, then top with sugar decorations or scatter with sprinkles.

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Comments (300)

samfoodie's picture

Mmmmmm these are delish! Didn't bother with the icing as they don't need the extra sugar and fat although I did add a dollop of lemon curd in middle of each cake. I also added juice of 1 lemon as I feel they're not lemony enough, didn't bother toasting poppy seeds, used full fat Greek yogurt because that's all I had and added a tablespoon of chia seeds! Nice little treat in packed lunch!

bexbeam's picture

Five stars for the cupcakes, which are great - moist and squidgy. For the icing I made lemon-infused white chocolate ganache. Bring 100g double cream + zest of 1 lemon just to the boil. Leave to cool for 20 mins or so, then melt in 100g white chocolate and cool again until spreadable. Delish!

thebryonysea's picture

Just made these without the icing and they've come out lovely! Nice flavour and the poppyseeds didn't just fall to the bottom. However for me this easily made 17 cupcakes, not 12, but I won't complain!

Caroline-14's picture

Love, love, love this recipe! So easy to make, and nice and lemony. I left out the poppy seeds, instead I used a cupcake corer and added a tsp of homemade lemon curd to the centres before I iced them. No idea why so many people had problems with the icing being too runny as it is a standard recipe for butter icing? Oh, and this recipe won me first prize in the cupcake section at my county show :D

CotswoldMummy's picture

Made these yesterday for afternoon tea. They are fabulous...not sure the icing is needed as they tasted yummy on their own but I did ice them and it was a nice treat. I didn't follow the icing recipe though as it just seemed too much butter and icing sugar so I made up some lemon buttercream using less ingredients and it was fab. Will be making these again very soon....

razata's picture

I have made these several times already. Absolutely lovely and enjoyed by all the family. I don't do the icing as nobody likes it (and who needs another pack of butter in?) and they don't need it really. Once I put a large pecan nut on top of each before baking and it was lovely.

michelle E's picture

These cupcakes were so easy to make and so delicious, will be baking these again

kathosw's picture

Absolutely divine cupcakes. Cake is very well balanced with the lemon butter icing. These will be a regular of mine now. Thanks so much for the great recipe - easy to follow ingredients list and well set out instructions.

rosiemccar's picture

Absolutely gorgeous! I've just baked these gorgeous cupcakes and everybody loves them! They're really cheap to make too, thank goodness for my student budget!

Table_for_Ting's picture

This recipe is awesome! I've replaced the poppy seeds with blueberries so it ended up being blueberry lemon zest cupcakes. I've reduced the sugar and butter for a healthier option and the cupcakes turned out beautiful. Click on the link below for the modified recipe.

cakebaby13's picture

Tried these again for the 2nd time, once again icing too runny and I followed the recipe to the last gram! What's going on? Other than this great cupcakes but the icing is irritating me now.

coconatalie's picture

Everyone has said that the icing was too runny, but I thought the batter looked fairly runny - I guess because of the yoghurt. The cakes rose amazingly though and look great, so I guess they were as runny as they were meant to be!

There wasn't much space for them to rise further in my cupcake cases, so I think if I was going to add lemon curd or something like others have, it would make more than 12.

For the icing, I used half the amount of butter, really juiced the lemon (it was quite a big one), added the yellow food colouring and then just kept adding icing sugar until it looked and tasted right (really zingy and nice!)

I decorated with halved candied lemon slices. Look great! Can't wait to eat!

jaytom93's picture

LOVE LOVE LOVE these cupcakes!! I was quite impressed with myself!! The only trouble I had was the icing was far too runny...to overcome this I added a lot more icing sugar. :)

cakebaby13's picture

Great cupcakes! Only problem I had was the icing was a bit loose and runny. I did what others suggested and added some lemon drizzle on the bare cupcakes whilst they were still hot from the oven (I pricked the cakes all over lightly with a skewer so the drizzle would absorb better) this added a great zing! Lovely light cupcakes and the poppy seeds make them look different and special :)

owenbartley1's picture

Lovely recipe

bethany.lane@talktalk.net's picture

cupcakes were scrummy and rose well however the citing was very runny and started to separate which is a great shame as overall presentation of the cakes was not in the same 'league' to the ones in the photo! little disappointed, but good overall mixture!!!

kat_williams91's picture


c.m.srules's picture

i am going to make these tonight ready for mothers day tomorrow. from the other comments i think they will taste nice! hopefully i will not burn them lol! fingers crossed that they work. x

veggie_experimentor's picture

Tried these and yes they came out as well as was promised! I did not put as much frosting ( in fact made half the amount of frosting specified) but yet managed to frost all the cupcakes though not as decadently as shown in the picture. I did not have yellow food colouring so added a small pinch of turmeric, worked well. Also I used Stork brand of butter not normal butter. I wonder if it will work as well with something like butter spread as is 'nt Stork also made from vegetable fat?


Questions (6)

cakebaby13's picture

I have made these and they area amazing. The only issue I had was the butter icing quite running and I had to add a lot more icing sugar to it. Can you guys give me a fail safe recipe for the perfect butter icing for these cakes? the lemon juice definitely works in the recipe but I am wondering if it is the reason why the icing was a bit runny. I did also add lemon drizzle on the cakes whilst still warm which added to the depth of flavour, I would recommend doing this :)

Nurse Natasha's picture

I love these cupcakes and have made them a few times now. Go down a treat for the nurses on night shift. My cakes don't seem to rise very well though, it is usually more icing than cake, the cake comes out quite thin. When I made them again I tried to whisk more with an electric whisk but they are still the same. I have also tried to add more mixture to the cases but it has just spilt over the edge. Any tips?

c.m.srules's picture

do you think its a good idea to add chocolate sprinkles, chocolae pieces and marange? im not sure if it will work! need to know asap as i am making them after tea tonight ready for mothers day tomorrow! i dont want them to go wrong thats all!!
thanks x

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there. You could add some choclate chunks, we'd avoid adding too many extra ingredeints though or the recipe may not work correctly. Perhaps just stick to just one.

thegirlwhobaked's picture

I'm not sure if I should add a raspberry on top and some jam in the icing as well because apparently sour-citrus and berry go really well together. Plus the jam would make the icing look more peachy .
This is also for a cupcake competition so i'm not sure if it is worth the risk

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for your comments. We think a raspberry on top and around 1/2 - 1 tsp of raspberry jam in the middle would work really well added to these cakes. Let us know how they turn out! Best wishes, BBC Good Food team

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