Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes

Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes

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(267 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, questions and tips

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Joanne Stevenson's picture
Joanne Stevenson
14th Mar, 2019
First off, this is a muffin not a cupcake. ( check the method) there was not enough liquid , very dry, thick batter. Taste was good, but not cake.
26th Feb, 2019
Delicious but I doubled the recipe to make 24, and actually ended up with 48 as there was so much mixture! So, this amount would definitely make 24. Used chia not poppy seeds
20th Jun, 2018
These cupcakes are so delicious they should be illegal, frankly. I'll be making them again asap - my one amend would be to amp up the lemon flavour of the sponge, with juice as well as zest.
10th Mar, 2018
Really good sponge mix. Lovely and light. The buttercream makes this a real treat. You could only have one they are so sweet. Really lemony. I had no issues with the consistency of the buttercream. I forgot to get poppy seeds so instead I added a lemon curd centre
8th Mar, 2018
If you’ve never tried these before, they will quickly become your favourite cupcake. Perfect for afternoon tea/Easter/springs. Don’t be afraid of adding more poppy seeds, the texture is what makes these so special! Very tempted to make this into one big sponge cake...
17th Nov, 2017
These are delicious and look lovely but I was glad I halved the icing quantities because there was still plenty for the 14 cupcakes it made!
22nd Sep, 2017
Lovely tasting cakes but as many others have mentioned, the icing was far too runny (Maybe next time I would use half the amount of butter and gradually add more if needed. I also took the middle out of the cakes and filled with lemon curd. Delicious!
VanillaSpice81's picture
30th Jul, 2017
I really like the cake - didn't use zest as I only had waxed lemons, but used half a lemon''s juice instead. Was lemony but would definitely use zest of unwaxed lemon next time as it would taste nicer. I used 150g sugar and found the taste sweet enough. Made basic icing sugar and lemon juice to cover the cakes thinly. Was a lovely combination and could top it with a flower or decoration. I would only use buttercream for an ocassion so they'd look more 'wow'! Texture of the cake is lovely, moist and and dense. Poppyseeds make a nice change. Enjoy!
17th Jul, 2017
I made this recipe exactly as shown and the cupcakes turned out perfectly. Best cupcakes I've ever made. A few tips make sure your butter is at room temperature for the icing. And your icing sugar is fresh. And I weighed all the ingredients on a 10$ electronic scale for accuracy. PERFECT RECIPE AS IS.
27th Feb, 2017
Amazing cupcakes! The cake itself is gorgeous.


20th Sep, 2018
Could I use this recipe for a sandwich cake? How would I scale it up please
goodfoodteam's picture
2nd Oct, 2018
Thanks for your question. You can cook this as a sandwich cake but unfortunately we can't give exact measurements or timings without testing.
6th Aug, 2018
Can you add juice to the mix to make the cupcakes taste more lemony? If so how much do you suggest? I was also thinking of omitting the poppy seeds...I guess that these keep for 3 or so days(?) I was thinking of making them in advance for a christening party so if you could let me know that would be great! Thank you :) x
goodfoodteam's picture
19th Aug, 2018
Thanks for your questions. You can add 1/2 tsp lemon essence for a more lemony hit and it's no problem to leave out the poppyseeds. If you want to make them beforehand, we'd suggest the day before to maintain maximum freshness or you can freeze them un-iced.
5th Jun, 2014
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
14th Apr, 2014
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?
29th Mar, 2014
hey, 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
11th Apr, 2014
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.
10th Feb, 2014
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
21st Feb, 2014
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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