Lemon Basil Cupcakes

Total Time

Prep: 30 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling


2 dozen

Updated: Sep. 23, 2022
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


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups 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 zest 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 zest
  • 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


  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 zest. 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 in 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 zest strip. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Strain; discard basil and lemon zest strip. Cool completely.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the confectioners’ sugar, butter, 3 tablespoons lemon syrup, vanilla, lemon zest 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.

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