Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes

Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes

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(223 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 40 mins Cook: 22 mins Plus cooling

Skill level

Moderately easy


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

Additional info

  • Can be frozen un-iced
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving



  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • zest 2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds, toasted
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g natural yogurt
  • 175g butter, melted and cooled a little

For the icing

  • 225g butter, softened
  • 400g icing sugar, sifted
  • juice 1 lemon
  • few drops yellow food colouring
  • icing flowers or yellow sprinkles, to decorate

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  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.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, May 2010

Comments, questions and tips

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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
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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
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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
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Lovely recipe

bethany.lane@talktalk.net's picture
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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
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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?

c.m.srules's picture

welldone they sound lovely! i think storkis also made from veg fat!

kath998's picture

First batch forgot the lemon zest - doh, second batch a sneaky addition of lemon curd. Both batches eaten and praised. Very easy and look lovely

kimmie1977's picture

Delicious and quick and easy to make.

stravers's picture

Gorgeous cakes, will make again but will make double as they go so quick

lerryn's picture

12 in the oven right now smelling delish. Easy recipe for beginners.

c.m.srules's picture

how did they turn out?

lerryn's picture

Got 12 in the oven right now…Smelling delish. Have made them quite a few times now. One never seems to be enough :)

florencelara's picture

Very tasty and easy to make. I added a lemon syrup to the cakes when they were still warm. Will try adding lemon curd in the centre next time.

o00gem00o's picture

I have just finished baking them and they are delicious! Family adored them. I made half the icing after looking through the comments but found it wasn't quite enough when piping as in the recipe's photo. I also added just under half a lemon juice to the batter.