My most-loved recipe is easy to make for party. Why? It starts with a boxed mix! It gives a whole new meaning to easy peasy lemon squeezy.
That’s right. My lemon cupcakes get the most love from friends and fam, and they aren’t even made from scratch! (I try to not think about that too hard, because really, what does that say about my other recipes?) These mini cakes have lemon pudding mix in the batter, making them deliciously sweet and super moist. The consistency is more dense than a typical cupcake—it’s more like a sponge cake. They are the perfect base for almost any kind of frosting: vanilla, raspberry, blueberry (really any berry), honey—seriously, SO many frostings.
This week I made them with a no-fuss lemon buttercream, because at the end of the work week, my brain just can’t think up more than one flavor profile. Oh well. While not the most inventive, this lemon buttercream is super fresh and tangy, which offsets the sweetness of the cake.
I’ve made this recipe for multiple parties, so I can say for sure that you can crank these out in a hurry! You (and your guests) won’t be sorry!
For the cupcakes:
Yields about 20
- 1 package of yellow cake mix
- 1 3.5 oz. package of lemon pudding mix
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 cup water
- 4 eggs
For the frosting:
- 1 stick of butter, room temperature
- 4 tablespoons shortening
- 2 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar (or more depending on your preferred frosting consistency)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (pure vanilla extract will work, but nothing beats the paste!)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Pinch of lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Beat the cake mix, pudding mix, oil, water, and eggs on medium speed until combined.
Line muffin tins with paper liners, and fill each liner 2/3 of the way with batter. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick can be removed cleanly. Let them cool completely before frosting.
To make the lemon buttercream, beat the butter and shortening on high speed until thoroughly combined and whipped, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla bean paste and lemon zest. Next, beat in the sugar in small additions, about a 1/2 cup at a time, until reaching a consistency that is slightly thicker than desired. To finish, thin out the frosting with the lemon juice.
That’s it! I can’t say enough how easy these are to make—and the flavor pay off is BIG. If you need to whip up a dessert in a hurry, or you’re hosting the big Labor Day bash, these cupcakes should be your go-to crowd-pleasers.