Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Soft and fluffy lemon poppy seed cupcakes topped with a dreamy blueberry cream cheese frosting! Tender and delicious, they are perfect for Spring baking!

A Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcake on a plate with more in the background.

It’s Monday again and well, Mondays call for cupcakes.  

And let’s call these celebration cupcakes … for the fact that it may actually officially really be spring!  Yes, yes, I know that the official start of the season was a few weeks ago, but this was the first time that we had a string of slightly warmer days.

On that note, we finally went to the store this weekend and got all the goodies to start our garden.  

So funny story.  We were merrily shopping away for our garden supplies when I realized I was supposed to be at a potluck brunch thing that I do with my friends every few weeks.

I somehow managed to put it on my calendar for Sunday (not Saturday).  Which set off my crazy mode – you know, dashing to get out of the store, get home, finding something to bring (since I didn’t make my planned contribution because I thought it was the next day) and finally winding up grabbing a bag of cookie dough balls from the freezer.  

Thank goodness for cookie dough, right?  Saves the day.

A Lemon Poppyseed Cupcake on a plate with more to the side.

So do you see why I need a cupcake on this Monday?  I was frazzled mcdazzled.  

And then it carried through the rest of the weekend because all the things I scheduled were now flipped around.

And my type-A personality can’t handle that kind of funny business.  Which brings me to cupcakes.  These cupcakes will make any day better.  

I took my favorite favorite favorite vanilla cupcake base and jazzed it up a bit with lemon and poppy seeds.  They are light, tender and well, pretty perfect.

And then there’s the frosting.  A blueberry cream cheese frosting.  With just a hint of blueberry flavor from fresh blueberry puree, it pairs deliciously with the slightly lemon base.

A Lemon and Poppyseed Cupcake on a plate with the wrapper peeled off.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Yield: about 22 cupcakes
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 53 minutes

Soft and fluffy lemon poppy seed cupcakes topped with a dreamy blueberry cream cheese frosting! Tender and delicious, they are perfect for Spring baking!


For the cupcakes:

  • 2 ¼ cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 6 ounces fresh blueberries
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, chilled
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ½ to 5 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line cupcake pans with liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Add in the poppy seeds and give it a quick stir. In another medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the granulated sugar and lemon zest. Use your fingers to rub them together until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add in the butter. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, until it is very light. Add in the vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add in one third of the flour mixture. Next, add in half of the buttermilk mixture, beating until incorporated. Repeat this process, one third flour mixture, remaining half buttermilk mixture. Finally add in the remaining third of the flour mixture. Once incorporated, increase the speed to medium low and beat for 2 minutes, to ensure it is well aerated.
  5. Fill the prepared cupcake tins evenly with the batter (about ⅔ of the way full).
  6. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let the cupcakes cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

  1. Add the blueberries to the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the skins, using a wooden spoon to help push it through. Measure out ¼ cup of the strained puree and set aside (any extra you can discard).
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cream cheese and butter. Beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the confectioners’ sugar (start with the 4 ½ cups) to the bowl in several batches, beating on low / medium-low until combined (it will be very stiff at this point).
  4. Add in the ¼ cup blueberry puree, vanilla and salt. Start on low then increase the speed to medium high and beat for another 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the bowl and beater blade as needed. If the frosting is not thick enough to pipe, add in additional sifted confectioners’ sugar to get it to your desired consistency (and beat again on medium high – I usually add the full 5 ½ cups since I prefer it to be stiffer when piping).
  5. Pipe the frosting on the cooled cupcakes as desired.


Cupcake base adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 22 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 320Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 186mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 1gSugar: 38gProtein: 3g
Nutrition data shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator and is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a substitute for a medical professional’s advice.