Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes


Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes
Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

These lemon cupcakes are as light as a cloud, and every bite comes with a light crunch from the poppy seeds. There is also a little surprise filled in the middle of the bright and zingy lemon curd filling. I love lemons. They remind me of the summer season. It is almost impossible to find a naturally flavored vegan lemon cupcake in a bakery, so I took up the challenge to make my own recipe. A friendly reminder: Use room temperature ingredients for this recipe.

Yields12 cupcakes

Dietary ConsiderationVegan


  • Lemon Cupcake
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) unsweetened vegan milk, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) unsweetened vegan yogurt, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup (225 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon (7 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons (18 g) poppy seeds

  • Lemon Curd Filling
  • 1/2 cup + 1–2 tbsp (135–150 ml) unsweetened vegan milk, room temperature (don’t use soy milk), divided
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp (95 ml) lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (32 g) cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) vegan butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • Pinch of turmeric powder, for color (optional)

  • Lemon Buttercream
  • 3/4 cup (170 g) vegan butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 2 cups (224 g) powdered sugar, divided
  • 1/8 cup + 1 tbsp (45 ml) unsweetened vegan milk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
  • 4 –5 tsp (20–25 ml) lemon juice
  • Pinch of turmeric, for color (optional)

  • Garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 slice of lemon per cupcake


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and line a cupcake tray with 12 cupcake liners. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the vegan milk, vegan yogurt and lemon juice. Allow this mixture to sit for a few minutes until slightly curdled and thick. Next add the granulated sugar and lemon zest to the milk mixture, and mix it using a hand whisk until fully combined. Then add the oil and vanilla extract. Give it a good mix.

  2. In a separate bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine these ingredients into the liquid ingredients in three small additions, whisking in between each addition. Then, fold in the poppy seeds. Once the cupcake batter is fully mixed, portion it into the cupcake liners about three-fourths of the way full. Bake the cupcakes for 14 to 16 minutes until they are firm to the touch in the center of the cupcake. Let the cupcakes cool completely in the cupcake tray.

  3. Make the Lemon Curd by combining ½ cup (120 ml) of vegan milk, lemon juice, granulated sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Whisk the ingredients with a hand whisk, and bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly.

  4. When it comes to a rolling boil, remove from the heat, and add the vegan butter. Stir the lemon curd until the butter is fully mixed and the lemon curd looks smooth and glossy. Add a pinch of turmeric powder for color if desired and mix.

  5. Transfer the lemon curd into a heat-proof jar. Cover the surface of the lemon curd with plastic wrap, and chill it completely in the refrigerator. Before using the lemon curd, blend it into a smooth consistency in a food processor. Add the 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) of vegan milk to adjust the consistency of the lemon curd if needed.

  6. For the lemon buttercream, prepare 1 batch of buttercream frosting by combining the vegan butter and 1 cup (112 g) of powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Use a paddle attachment of a stand mixer or an electric whisk to whip the butter and powdered sugar until it is light and fluffy on a medium speed for 5 to 6 minutes.

  7. In a small bowl, combine the vegan milk and the remaining 1 cup (112 g) of powdered sugar, stir until it forms a smooth paste, and then strain it through a sieve to remove any lumps of powdered sugar.

  8. Pour the prepared paste into the butter mixture, and mix the buttercream for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract, and mix on a low speed until it is fully combined. The buttercream should be smooth and fluffy at this point. Add the lemon juice along with a pinch of turmeric powder, for color if desired, to the prepared buttercream. Use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or an electric whisk to mix the ingredients until they are fully incorporated. Keep it cool until you're ready to assemble.

  9. Arrange all the cupcakes on a clean tray. Use a paring knife to carve out the middle of all the cupcakes. It should be 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep. Fill the middle of the cupcakes with the lemon curd. Prepare a piping bag fitted with a star tip piping nozzle. Fill the piping bag with the lemon buttercream. Swirl the frosting around the cupcake starting from the outside, and pipe in two circles. Repeat this step for all the cupcakes. Garnish with half a slice of lemon on all the cupcakes if desired and serve.

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