Lemon poppy seed cupcakes- light and fluffy angel food cupcakes with lemon whipped cream. These lemon cupcakes are made in one bowl in less than one hour and are bursting with fresh citrus flavor!
Lemon recipes are huge hits on Cambrea Bakes, like lemon berry cake and lemon poppy seed cookies. However, these lemon poppy seed cupcakes are my top favorite because they are bursting with lemon flavor!
They are perfect with homemade whipped cream on top for a lighter dessert for any occasion.
why you'll love these lemon poppy seed cupcakes
- These lemon cupcakes are made with real lemon, with no artificial flavors, so you know the flavor is bright and citrusy.
- This recipe uses simple ingredients and is easy to make in one bowl, like my lemon raspberry muffins!
- If you love lemon desserts, you will love these cupcakes for any occasion from birthday parties, bridal showers, baby showers, wedding dessert tables, or weekend brunch.
ingredient notes & substitutions
Egg whites: Separate the egg whites from fresh eggs. I don't recommend using boxed egg whites, because they may not thicken properly.
Cake flour: For best results, do not substitute. If you use all-purpose flour, the cupcakes will be dense and not airy.
Poppy seeds: You can find these nutty black seeds in the spice aisle! Leave them out if you don't care for them.
Heavy cream: The base of the homemade whipped cream. This should not be substituted!
Full ingredient measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card below!
For extra flavor, fill the center or drizzle lemon curd over the top, like my lemon curd cookies.
Before you start: Line a metal cupcake pan with cupcake liners and preheat the oven to 325F.
Step 3: Whisk in the sugar. With the mixer running, slowly sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites. Once all of it has been added, increase the speed and continue mixing until soft peaks form.
Step 4: Fold in the dry ingredients. Sift the flour mixture into the bowl of egg whites in 3 additions, gently folding each one into the batter with a rubber spatula.
Step 5: Bake! Scoop the batter into the lined cupcake pan about ⅔ full. Do not fill the liners to the top or the batter will overflow!
Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until the top edges are lightly golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Step 6: Frost and decorate. Fill a piping bag with the whipped cream and pipe it on the top of the cupcakes (I used a star tip).
Garnish with a wedge of thinly sliced lemon and extra poppy seeds if desired. Enjoy your lemon poppy seed cupcakes!
expert baking tips
- Use a kitchen scale. Baking with a scale is much more accurate than cup measurements. To convert this recipe, click the "metric" button next to the ingredients title on the recipe card. If you do not have a scale, use a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup.
- Use a cookie scoop for measuring. For accuracy, use a cookie scoop to scoop the batter into the liners. It's quicker and easier!
- Don't overfill the liners. They will spill over the top onto the pan!
storage & freezing
Store the leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
You can freeze them in an airtight container for up to 1 month with or without the frosting on top.
Yes! Decorate them with lemon cream cheese frosting, lemon buttercream, or vanilla buttercream. You can also drizzle them with lemon curd!
Yes! These pans are the exact same and can be used interchangeably.
I found when testing them that the all-purpose flour makes them dense instead of fluffy.
Yes! The bake time will be closer to 10-12 minutes.
Use a cake tester or toothpick and insert it into the center. If it comes out clean they are done.
other lemon recipes to try
If you tried this or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how it went in the comments below, I love hearing from you! Also, please leave a star rating while you're there! You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can check it out!
Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ½ cup cake flour *see notes below for measuring*
- 1 ½ teaspoon poppy seeds
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 large egg whites room temperature
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream cold
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest cold
For the Batter
- Line one cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners and a second pan with 3 liners. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
- Process the sugar in a food processor or blender until fine and powdery. Then pulse in the lemon zest. Set aside.¾ cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- Sift the flour into a bowl. Then whisk in ¼ cup of the processed lemon sugar, poppy seeds, and salt. Set aside.½ cup cake flour, ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt, 1 ½ teaspoon poppy seeds
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites and lemon juice together on medium-low until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and slowly sprinkle in the remaining ½ cup of sugar. Keep mixing until soft peaks form, about 5-6 minutes.6 large egg whites, 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- Sift ⅓ of the flour mixture into the bowl of egg whites and use a rubber spatula to gently fold it in. Continue this same process with the rest of the flour mixture.
- Spoon or use a cookie scoop to fill the cupcake liners ⅔-3/4 full with the batter.
- Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until very lightly browned around the edges and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, then remove them and place them directly on the rack to cool completely before frosting.
For the Whipped Cream
- In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and lemon juice. Set aside for 5 minutes. Melt the gelatin in the microwave until it dissolves and becomes liquid, about 10-15 seconds. It should be liquid but not hot, check and stir it frequently, then set it aside.2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin, 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the cream and powdered sugar on high speed until it has started to thicken but isn’t at a soft peak yet.⅔ cup powdered sugar, 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- With the mixer running, slowly stream the gelatin into the mixing bowl and mix until combined. If the gelatin has hardened, gently warm it again before using it.
- Mix in the zest, then keep mixing until stiff peaks form. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the whipped cream and pipe it on top of each cupcake. Garnish with a wedge of fresh lemon and extra poppy seeds if desired.
- Store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.