Tangy, sweet, soft, and moist, the lemon poppyseed cupcakes have a spring in their step from the fresh lemon juice and a jaunty cream cheese frosting, making them the perfect tea-time snack or dessert. 

I’ve been lucky to have family and friends who come bearing bags of poppy seed from the US. With a stash that’s almost always full, I’ve used the classic pairing in cakespancakesdonutswaffles: you name it. 

You simply can’t go wrong with lemon and poppyseed. The citrus zing of lemon really blooms the nutty flavor of the delicate seeds no matter what you’re baking. 

I’m aware that black poppyseeds are not easily available here. So, yes, you can leave them out. They’re not essential from a structural perspective and you’ll still get fabulous lemon cupcakes in taste and flavor. 

When speckled with seeds, the cupcakes gain a beautiful nutty note and textural crunch: the reason why I love them in my bakes.

Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes | Easy Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

How to make lemon poppyseed cupcakes?

The secret to these zesty, light cupcakes that invoke a burst of brightness is a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. It has a more potent tang and wakes up the entire cupcake.

  • Start by sifting all-purpose flour with baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
  • Stir in raw sugar and poppy seeds.
  • Separately, beat two eggs with almond milk, coconut oil, and a splash of vanilla extract.
  • Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, add lemon juice and zest and mix well until you have a soft dropping consistency batter. 
Steps for making Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes | Easy Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Baking the lemon poppyseed cupcakes

  • With a small ladle or measuring cup, fill the tray cavities lined with muffin paper three-quarters of the way.
  • Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes (an inserted skewer should come out clean). 
  • Invert the tray on a rack to take out the cupcakes, and then immediately turn them right side up.
Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes | Easy Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Frosting the lemon poppyseed cupcakes

I wanted to give the slight crunch in the cupcakes a lovely contrast, and the silky texture of the cream cheese frosting did just that. 

  • To make it, beat icing sugar with softened cream cheese till it has a smooth consistency. 
  • For an extra lemony flavor, you can add a spoonful of fresh lemon juice and zest to it. 
  • I didn’t. The natural sweet-tart tang of cream cheese lends the cupcakes enough play on contrast for me. 
  • I suggest refrigerating the frosting for an hour if it’s hot in your corner of the world. 
  • Then pipe it over the cupcakes using a piping bag, or swirl a lavish dollop of the cream cheese frosting using an offset spatula.
  • A dusting of finely grated lemon zest and some edible flowers for that pop of color were the final touches. 
Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes | Easy Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Variation of lemon poppyseed cupcakes

Toppings: The flowers and the lemon zest are just my personal preference and completely optional, so feel free to omit them. 

Cream cheese: If you can’t get your hands on regular cream cheese for the frosting, replace it with mascarpone cheese.

Sugar: Anything from regular white sugar to cane sugar will work well for the cupcake recipe. 

Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes | Easy Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Oil: I’ve learned that oil keeps the cupcakes soft. Instead of coconut oil, try any neutral-tasting oil. That said, the recipe is not bound to oil. Melted butter works equally wonderfully. 

Milk: Thanks to a lactose intolerant digestive system, I am working on cutting down on dairy. Hence, almond milk. You can incorporate any milk you prefer into the cupcake. 

Egg: When I was still running a bakery, I made countless lemon poppyseed cupcakes. Ten years of baking them, and never once did I bake them without eggs. However, flax egg is a great substitute. I’ve made quinoa orange muffins with it, and they turned out soft and fluffy. 

Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes | Easy Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Serving the lemon poppyseed cupcakes

The cupcakes are best enjoyed fresh, but they do refrigerate well. The oil kept them soft, moist, and flavorful for up to 2 days. That they’ll last beyond that is unthinkable in my household. 

Serve them with your fanciest China, and the dainty lemon cupcakes dotted with poppyseeds exude such a high-tea vibe. They instantly calm you and transport you to nirvana with a single taste.

Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes | Easy Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes

Tangy, sweet, soft, and moist, the lemon poppyseed cupcakes have a spring in their step from the fresh lemon juice and a jaunty cream cheese frosting!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: lemon poppyseed cupcakes, lemon cupcakes
Servings: 10 Cupcakes
Calories:
Author: Natasha Minocha

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Raw sugar
  • 2 tbsp Poppyseeds
  • 2 tsp Lemon zest
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2/3 cup Almond milk You can use any milk you prefer.
  • 1/4 cup Coconut oil You can use melted butter or any neutral tasting oil you prefer
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp Lemon juice

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2/3 cup Cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 -1/3 cup Icing sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 180 C. Line a standard muffin tray with paper liners.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  • Stir in the raw sugar, poppyseeds, and lemon zest.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.
  • Pour over the dry ingredients. Whisk together until well combined. You will get a soft dropping consistency batter.
  • Spoon the batter equally among the lined cups, filling them 3/4 of the way.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and immediately invert them onto a wire rack.
  • Turn the cupcakes right side up, and let them cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Place the cream cheese in a medium-sized bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat well until smooth.
  • Add in the icing sugar and beat again until smooth.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm.
  • Spoon the frosting on the cupcakes and spread it using an offset spatula or a small spoon.
  • Decorate with lemon zest and edible flowers. Serve and enjoy!
Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes | Easy Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting