Limoncello Cupcakes

Both the cupcake and frosting in this recipe are flavored with lemon and limoncello, but they manage to taste quite different from each other, working well in tandem. Lemon zest gives them an extra pop of freshness and the cream cheese frosting helps to balance out the sweetness of the sugar.

Vegan cream cheese and non-dairy milk can be substituted in this recipe to make it friendly to those with dairy sensitivities. I haven’t experimented with replacements for the butter, though I suppose it might be possible to replace it with some vegan equivalent. I’m not sure how it would stand up in the frosting though.

If you don’t have or don’t want to use limoncello, substitute lemon syrup (lemon juice and sugar in a 1:2 ratio, heated to melt the sugar).

Limoncello Cupcake

Limoncello Cupcakes


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 oz butter, softened
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 egg whites
2 Tbsp limoncello
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
Zest of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the center.

Combine milk and vinegar in a small bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the limoncello and beat an additional minute. On low speed, add flour mixture and milk mixture, alternating between the two. Add the lemon juice and zest and mix on low speed just until incorporated.

Divide the batter between 12 muffin tins or 48 mini muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes for full size muffins or 12 minutes for minis or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.

Let cool completely.


2 oz butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp limoncello
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Zest of one lemon

Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the limoncello and beat for an additional minute. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat until fully incorporated and smooth. Add the lemon zest and increase speed to medium-high and beat for several minutes, until fluffy.

Cupcake and icing adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

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