Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Frosting Recipe

When life gives you leftover lemon twists… make lemon cupcakes?

Keith and I decided to make Coral Reef Coolers this weekend and the recipe calls for lemon twists as a garnish.  Now those of you who have tended bar (in what would have to be a ridiculously pretentious “mixology” throwback lounge), or just love classic drinks, know what a pain in the butt it is to cut a lemon twist — which is essentially a curlicue of lemon peel.

At any rate, I ended up with close to 30 lemon twists, and CLEARLY Keith and I weren’t going to have 30 Tropic Coolers and live to tell about it.  So I did the sensible thing with my leftover garnish… made lemon cupcakes to go with them.

After 3-4 drinks (which are deceptively delicious btw), I wish I could say I was in the mood to make cupcakes from scratch… but I’m just not that good.  I used a Williams & Sonoma lemon cake mix someone gave me as a gift *GASP*… which was actually pretty good.  I like to think I wasn’t totally bad — I did mess a bit with the instructions, adding zest, lemon extract, almond extract, some extra butter and a little sour cream — but I won’t claim the cake recipe.

I did, however, draw the line at canned frosting and made my own lemon buttercream that turned out deliciously, if I do say so myself.


  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened to room temp (6-10 seconds in microwave works nicely
  • 1 1/4 lb of powdered sugar (1 1/4 boxes – the conversions of this are tricky, it’s going to be around 3 1/2 cups if you pour the sugar into the measuring cup and don’t pack)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract (I like mine very lemony… so I use 2)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

What you’ll need to clean up afterward

  • 1 Mixing bowl
  • 1 wooden spoon (if you’re going hard core… if not, a hand mixer)
  • Measuring cup, tablespoon and teaspoon

Step One: Cream the butter with a whisk

Step Two: Combine the butter and powdered sugar and one tablespoon of milk in the mixing bowl.  You can continuously stir with a spoon, use a mixer, or use your hands to mash sugar and butter together into one large lump (the quickest method).

Step Three: Start stirring (or mixing on medium speed) and adding the remaining milk and lemon juice  one tablespoon at a time.  If, after adding the remaining 3 tablespoons of liquids, the frosting is too thick, add additional milk or lemon juice (depending on how tart you like your frosting) one teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Step Four: Stir in lemon zest for that final lemon “kick.”

Step Five: Apply frosting to your cake, cupcake… or eat with a spoon 🙂

-Eat Hearty!


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