Lemon Basil Cupcakes Recipe
Lemon Basil Cupcakes Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Lemon Basil Cupcakes Recipe

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Lemon cupcakes are a delight of summer, and a touch of basil really dresses them up. They're a wonderful light ending to a meal or a bright breakfast choice. Garnish each one with a candied fresh basil leaf. —Julie Ohnstad, Marietta, Georgia
Featured In: Food Gifts for Mom
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES:24 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES: 24 servings


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 jar (10 ounces) lemon curd
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 5 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lemon peel strip (1-1/2 inches x 1/2 inch)
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 new small paintbrush
  • 24 fresh basil leaves

Nutritional Facts

1 each: 376 calories, 16g fat (10g saturated fat), 81mg cholesterol, 177mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate (38g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and lemon peel. Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda; add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well after each addition.
  2. Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  3. Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert a small round pastry tip. Fill with lemon curd. Push the tip through the top of each cupcake to fill.
  4. For syrup, in a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, lemon juice, basil and lemon peel. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Strain; discard basil and peel. Cool completely.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the confectioners’ sugar, butter, 3 tablespoons lemon syrup, vanilla, lemon peel and extract until smooth. Fold in whipped cream. Frost cupcakes. (Cover and refrigerate remaining syrup for another use.)
  6. Place corn syrup and sugar in small bowls. Dip paintbrush in corn syrup; brush over a basil leaf. Coat leaf with sugar. Repeat. Garnish cupcakes with basil leaves. Store cupcakes in the refrigerator. Yield: 2 dozen.
Originally published as Lemon Basil Cupcakes in Taste of Home August/September 2008, p26

Sweet White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a sweet white wine such as Moscato or a sweet Riesling.

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jensweetser User ID: 4168486 158078
Reviewed Jan. 9, 2012

"Granted, this might be user error....but I really didn't think these were super delicious! The cake was moist at first, but once I refrigerated them, they became hard. The cake was delicious in flavor though. The frosting was fabulous and the lemon curd filling was also very good. I will try to make this again because the flavors were wonderful, but I'm hoping my cupcakes turn out better the next time around!"

m.fichter User ID: 5959082 114296
Reviewed Apr. 29, 2011

"I made these in a mini version for my Nice's Communion. Topped with a white choc. and lemoncrunch mini cross, with the basil leaf behind it. Also made my ownlemon curd. Plus when making the syrup, I added lemon zest strips(about 1 lemon's worth) instead of small peel. drained them from the syrup and tossed with sugar and dried; a good topper for the cupcakes along with the basil."

ocsurfmama User ID: 3214597 175012
Reviewed Jun. 28, 2010

"I wanted to add that before you frost these they are great to make ahead and freeze. Just pull them out and thaw in the refrigerator the night before, or thaw at room temp for 10 to 15 minutes."

ocsurfmama User ID: 3214597 174340
Reviewed Jun. 28, 2010

"I wanted to add that before you frost these they are great to make ahead and freeze. Just pull them out and thaw in the refrigerator the night before, or thaw at room temp for 10 to 15 minutes."

ocsurfmama User ID: 3214597 89557
Reviewed Jun. 28, 2010

"I made these for Saturday dinner company and they were so refreshing! I made my own homemade Lemon curd so that added about 20 minutes to the prep time but it was well worth it.

The taste reminded me of Lemon Meringue pie. This recipe is most certainly a keeper!
I love being able to use fresh basil from my herb garden and fresh lemons to make the curd."

diannes0129 User ID: 2863247 173222
Reviewed Jun. 28, 2010

"These cupcakes were absolutely delicious!! I will make them over again many times--they're worth the extra steps involved."

Scarlet1980 User ID: 3583365 210021
Reviewed Jun. 21, 2010

"These are very good and fresh tasting. They taste like summer!!"

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