Few things compete with the domestic goddess-ness of being able to say “Oh I just whipped these up quickly this afternoon…. Tea?”

This is one of my all time favourite recipes for just such an occasion. On the practical side they’re quick to make, keep well out of the fridge and make excellent travelling companions; on the succulent side they’re smothered in a velvety smooth butter cream frosting and are sinfully lemon-y.

I made these the other day when some friends came over to shoot a few live music videos at my place (affectionately nicknamed “Chateau Martine”.) I firmly believe that they contributed to the quality of our performances… in a way that only cupcakes can.

  • 100 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (165 g) caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • finely grated zest of 3 lemons
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (200 g) self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) milk


  • 125 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (300 g) icing sugar mixture
  • 11/2 tbs lemon juice
  • yellow food colouring (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan-forced). Line a 12-hole medium muffin pan (1/3 cup capacity) with paper cases. Using electric beaters, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and 
creamy. Mix through the lemon zest.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Gently fold through the flour and milk in two alternate batches. Divide the mixture evenly among the paper cases.
  3. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and springy when touched. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
  4. To make the icing, use electric beaters to beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the icing sugar a little at a time, beating constantly. Add half the lemon juice and beat until well combined. Add the remaining lemon juice a little at a time, and tint with food colouring if you like.

Note: I decorated mine with some cupcake skirts and pre-packed icing roses but you could always get very fancy and make your own candied lemon peel (as long as you solemnly swear to take photos and share them with me….) Give them a go and let me know what you think. What’s your go-to recipe when people are dropping in?

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