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Lemon Basil Cupcakes

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These lemon basil cupcakes are the perfect summer treat! The citrus of the lemon combined with the fresh basil compliment perfectly.

lemon basil cupcakes

I am a cupcake addict. I LOVE to bake them, eat them, share them… The cute mini cakes are a delicate treat that is hard to resist.

Coming up with new and inventive flavors is a passion. We were heading to a bridal shower and when I was asked to bring a dessert I knew I needed something stellar. I quickly flipped through my normal go-to’s and landed on a lemon cake. I hadn’t made it in ages and knew it was the one.

The combination of lemon and basil in this recipe is surprisingly refreshing! The tang of the lemon pairs wonderfully with the fragrant basil giving you a drool worthy cupcake.

The homemade lemon cake is brushed with a simple syrup that is infused with basil. Top everything off with a lemon basil buttercream and you are ready to devour these sweet little cakes!

lemon basil cupcakes lemon slices

Tips to make perfect cupcakes:

  • Use room temperature ingredients. This will help all of the ingredients blend together smoothly leaving you with a heavenly batter ready to be baked.
  • Use a cookie scoop to get even cupcake sizes. I like this one.
  • Check your oven temperature and make sure it is cooking evenly. This is super important when you are baking cupcakes. The last thing you want is to have the edge cupcakes bake quicker than the middle.
  • Frost as soon as they are cooled. This will help retain moisture in the cupcake and keep them fresh longer.
  • Avoid refrigerating if you can. Putting cake into the refrigerator can cause moisture to collect and pull out of the cake. The result is a dry cupcake that becomes crumbly.

Easy ways to decorate lemon cupcakes:

Pipe on the frosting with your favorite piping tip. I like the 1M tip by Wilton, but there are so many great ones out there! Don’t limit yourself.

Add fresh basil or candied lemon slices. This can be a cute and easy way to brighten up your cupcake. This is especially helpful if you don’t have a steady hand when it comes to piping.

Add lemon candies to the top.

lemon basil cupcakes recipe

Like this recipe? You will love my:

How to make lemon basil cupcakes:

Lemon Basil Cupcakes

Lemon Basil Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

These lemon basil cupcakes are the perfect summer treat! The citrus of the lemon combined with the fresh basil compliment perfectly.


For the cake:

  • 1-1/2 cups self rising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

For the lemon basil syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 7 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lemon, zested into strips

For the Frosting:

  • 1-1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons soft butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 3 tablespoons lemon basil syrup


For the cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the self rising flour and salt in a medium measuring cup. Set aside. 
  3. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice. 
  4. Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk to your butter mixture. Stir until smooth. 
  5. Fill your cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the syrup:

  1. Combine the water, sugar, juice, leaves, and zest in a small saucepan. Boil until reduced to one cup. Brush onto the tops of your cupcakes, reserving 3 tablespoons for the frosting.

For the Frosting:

  1. Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. I have an entire post here to with some great tips for this.
  2. Add the butter to a large mixing bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, lightly whip with the whisk attachment until the butter is smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar. Whip on low speed to incorporate with the butter.
  4. Add the lemon zest, extract, and syrup. Mix 30 seconds to 1 minute to incorporate.
  5. Stir in the remaining powdered sugar. This should take roughly 1 to 2 minutes to become smooth.
  6. Spoon the whipped cream into the bowl. Gently fold until combined with the butter mixture, about 2 to 3 minutes, or until fully combined and fluffy.
  7. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

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These lemon basil cupcakes are the perfect summer treat! The citrus of the lemon combined with the fresh basil compliment perfectly.


Sunday 12th of April 2015

Hi! I tried your recipe. I think a liquid was left out of the cake batter portion of the recipe.


Sunday 19th of July 2020

I agree also the steps for the frosting was off. It left out the part where you make whipped cream

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