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Gluten-Free Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

Is anyone else as obsessed with lemon as I am? I know this isn’t a pregnancy craving because I’ve always loved recipes with hints of lemon and even have quite a few here on the blog (Strawberry Banana Lemon SmoothieCreamy Cashew Lemon Snack Bites and Blueberry Lemon Overnight French Toast Bake, to name a few)! There’s just something about that citrus zing that is so refreshing and delicious! 

I was asked to make 35 gluten-free cupcakes for a local Any Baby Can event (more on that below) and I knew immediately I wanted to make them lemon! Consider yourself forewarned though, these aren’t “lighter” cupcakes- you won’t find applesauce instead of oil and they’re far from sugar-free, but they are the most delicious gluten-free cupcakes you’ve ever tasted. Special bonus- they’re really pretty and make your whole house smell like Spring!

Mr. KISS in the Kitchen would see this picture and say that these cupcakes are just in “muffin form”. He doesn’t like frosting so he likes to think that all cupcakes sans frosting he eats are actually muffins. I’ve given up the battle of convincing him otherwise, but I want to point that he actually liked the frosting on these!

I always love creating and trying out new recipes, but I really wanted these cupcakes to be extra perfect. It was such special timing (definitely a God thing) to be asked to help provide these cupcakes in the month of April. Two years ago we had an infant death in our extended family. That tragedy was so powerful that it truly changed my life’s path. Perhaps I’ll share more in another post, but it’s one of those stories you want to pull up a seat next to each other and share your heart over a cup of tea or coffee. A story so meaningful and life-giving even, in a circumstance defined by death. During that time, Any Baby Can actually provided the burial plot for that precious boy and our family will always be grateful for meeting that tremendous need. How special that I had an opportunity to give just a little teeny something back to that organization!

All smiles for these lemony delicious cupcakes made with a lot of love!

This also happened to be the second time (and first time in probably 8 years) ever I actually tried to pipe frosting. I was pleasantly surprised with how they turned out- it’s all about those Wilton tips!

I can still taste these now and I’m ready to whip up another batch! This recipe also made me realize how I should really use my Kitchenaid stand mixer more. For some reason I tend to prefer stirring with a spoon until complete arm muscle failure occurs, but that stand mixer sure makes life easier… especially at 8 months pregnant!

I hope you enjoy these full-fun (all the sugar and butter that make a baked good taste fantastic) cupcakes! If you’re looking for another full-fun recipe, check out this family recipe for Dad’s Favorite Peach Cobbler! And if you’re looking for lighter recipes, check out the 99% of all the other ones in the KISS in the Kitchen Recipe Archives!

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Gluten-Free Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Total Time1 hour
Servings: 24 cupcakes


  • 2 12-cup muffin pans


  • 3 cups All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour (with xanthum gum- I like to use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 sticks butter or vegan butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I used almond)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest (If you zest a 2 large lemons first then juice, you should get the amount of needed juice/zest)

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter or vegan butter, softened
  • ~4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest, more if desired


  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2, 12-count muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.
  • Using stand or hand-held mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high for 2-3 minutes in a large bowl until fully creamed. You may need to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl 1-2 times. Add room temperature eggs and vanilla and continue beating on medium-high until everything is fully mixed, about 2 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with the milk and beating on low speed. Add in the coconut oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice on low speed until just combined.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, scoop batter evenly into the 24 cupcake liners (about 2/3 full).
  • Bake for 20 minutes and remove from oven. Insert a toothpick in the middle of a cupcake to ensure doneness (a clean toothpick = done, crumbs or batter mean cook for another 2-3 minutes). Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  • While cupcakes are cooling, begin to make the frosting. Add the softened butter and powdered on low speed until completely combined.
  • Continue to beat on medium speed until the frosting is creamy.
  • Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and continue to mix on low-medium.
  • Make any adjustments based on preferences (additional sugar if you would like it sweeter or if the frosting is too thin, additional lemon juice or zest if you like it extra lemony!).
  • Once cupcakes have completely cooled, apply frosting and try not to eat an entire batch!

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10 Responses

  1. There’s a time and a place for downright decadent. Love your eat real approach and celebration of delicious.
    “… the most delicious gluten-free cupcakes you’ve ever tasted. Special bonus- they’re really pretty and make your whole house smell like Spring!”

  2. I’m new to gluten-free baking and want to make these lemon cupcakes for a baby shower (to accommodate some of the guests). I’m not quite grasping the flour amounts… you mentioned that you use “Gluten-Free Flour (with xanthum gum- I like to use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour)”… I found the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free All Purpose, but it doesn’t have have xanthum gum in the ingredients. Does that mean you added the xanthum gum to the flour and if so, how much is added? Sorry to sound so stupid – I just want to get it right – lol. 🙂 ~ Susan

  3. Hi Susan! Thanks so much for stopping by. First of all, gluten-free baking can be a bit tricky so please don’t apologize or think you’re sounding stupid. It’s new territory and completely understandable. Yes, you would have to add the xanthum gum if you purchased the flower without it. If you get the Bob’s Red Mill xanthum gum (and I’m assuming they’re all similar in terms of measurements) there’s a key on the side of the package that says how much to add based on the type of recipe. For cake it says 1/2tsp xanthum for every 1 cup flower, so I would do that! Best of luck and please let me know how everyone enjoys them!

  4. Hello! These sound amazing! I would love to make these for s baby shower, but the guest of honor cannot have coconut oil (or any other oil actually; can have real butter). Is there something else I could sub for the coconut oil? Thanks!

    1. Hi Ann. That’s sweet of you! If you melt an additional 2 Tbsp of butter that should be a good substitution! Let me know how they turn out :).

  5. I made these for Easter and they were delicious! I’m not gluten-free so I used regular, all-purpose flour and they turned out great. They lemon flavor is so refreshing – perfect for spring and summer! Will definitely be making these again!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed them! Thank you for letting me know and I’m so glad that even with modifications they turned out delicious; that’s really helpful to know!

  6. 5 stars
    Making these for my sisters baby shower. I made a test batch and these are incredible! The only thing I did differently was to add blueberries to the batter. The cake texture, consistency, and lemon flavor are perfect.

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Welcome to KISS in the Kitchen! I’m Shannon, and my dad always told me “Keep it simple, Shannon”. And that’s what you’ll find here- simple recipes and simple ideas to help you get healthier and happier. Read more…



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