Vanilla Cupcakes

This recipe comes from Joy of Baking. The flavor is unique, buttery vanilla with a hint of tang from lemon zest, and they are very moist. I have served these topped with guava glaze (heated guava paste, thinned with water) and a dollop of guava buttercream. Makes 12 cupcakes.


  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
  • ⅔ cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1½ cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) milk room temperature


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C) and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the lemon zest, flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 17 - 20 minutes or just until set and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. (Always check a few minutes before the stated baking time. Mine were done in just under 17 minutes.)
  6. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing.


18 April 2023: made according to recipe, baked only 16 minutes this time.