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Lemon Basil Cupcakes

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
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    2 dozen


  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • 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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