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Moroccan Lemon Cupcakes: My Favorite Lemon Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Updated on December 16, 2011

I love baking, and I love cupcakes. That said, I am rather tired of scratch cupcake recipes that:

  • Require a bunch of hard-to-find, single-purpose ingredients (that won't be good for anything else I make)
  • Take hours to make
  • Are so sugary / fattening that I only feel justified eating one after working so hard to make them

My go-to lemon cupcake recipe, thankfully, involves none of these all-too-common cupcake plagues! These cupcakes are made with simple ingredients, can be prepared very quickly, and are light, fresh, and delicious without being super high in fat or sugar.

I hope that you enjoy making (and EATING) them as much as I do!

For the Icing

This is a light, sunny lemon glaze that adds a nice gloss and finish to the top of the cupcakes.


  • Lemon zest from one lemon
  • Lemon juice from the same lemon
  • 115 grams of powdered sugar (roughly one cup)


  1. Add the lemon zest to the powdered sugar
  2. Using a fork or a whisk, mix in the lemon juice VERY gradually (you can always add liquid, but never take it away)
  3. Keep adding and mixing in the lemon juice until you get to a dipping consistency
  4. Dip the top of the cupcakes into the icing, twisting to keep the icing from dripping down the sides (if you don't want icing to drip down onto your serving platter, let the cupcakes sit on a rack over a baking sheet lined with old newspaper)
  5. Let the icing set

For the Cake


  • 2 eggs
  • 140 grams of sugar (3/4 cup)
  • 2 ounces of canola oil (1/4 cup)
  • 140g flour (1 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz skim milk (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Beat your eggs and sugar until thick
  3. Add in the canola oil
  4. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl
  5. Mix in your flour, baking powder, and salt mixture into the wet ingredients
  6. Mix in the milk
  7. Mix in the lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon zest
  8. Put the mixture into 12 cupcake cups (I find it easiest to first move the mixture into a measuring cup with a spout. My entire mixture fit into a 2-cup Pyrex glass)
  9. Bake the cupcakes for 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean
  10. Let the cupcakes cool for ten minutes
  11. Remove the cupcakes from their silicon cupcake holders (if that's what you baked them in- if not, leave them in the papers) 1
  12. Ice the cupcakes (see the icing directions to the right)

Weigh In!

When did you first start enjoying lemon as a flavor?

See results

Lemon: Is it an acquired taste?

While I love these cupcakes, and lemon cake in general, I did not enjoy lemon as a flavor until college. This makes me wonder if it is more of an acquired taste, or if it is something that develops as our palates age.

Did you always like lemon? And if not, when did you first start enjoying the flavor? Let me know in the poll to the right!

I hope you enjoy this recipe- it certainly is fun to whip up, and it makes my kitchen smell positively heavenly.

Happy baking!


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    • profile image

      Margarita 4 years ago

      Basically to follow up on the up-date of this issue on your site and want to let you know silpmy how much I loved the time you took to put together this beneficial post. Within the post, you actually spoke on how to definitely handle this matter with all comfort. It would be my personal pleasure to get together some more concepts from your site and come as much as offer others what I have benefited from you. Thank you for your usual good effort.

    • profile image

      Neide 4 years ago

      Loved the guest towel cupcake; I am going to make them for all ociosscans and for my bathrooms. I have seen so many other videos, but you are the best. Thank you so much.

    • profile image

      Chris 4 years ago

      My God Janice these are just gorgeous! You put the imaegs together beautifully. I really enjoyed looking over your site you have some wonderful work. Keep it up!!!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Well well! Our admiration is mutual then. I can't wait to see what sort of recipe Hub you put together next!

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Are you kidding me?! I bow before your culinary greatness!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Heeee!! I'm so glad they worked out well livelonger! Though I think it's pretty clear that your kitchen skills are ten times better than mine :D

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 6 years ago from San Francisco

      I forgot to mention here that I made these cupcakes TWICE (in the same weekend!), and despite having virtually no skillz in the kitchen, they turned out *great*. Kudos to a recipe that is impossible to mess up! :)

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Lemonheads, eh tsmog? Never heard of them before! Must... investigate...

      I had no idea lemon was your favorite flavor, K9keystrokes! I'll be keeping an eye out for lemon in your recipes from now on- I bet the lemon treats YOU bake are amazing!

      Thanks so much, Debby Bruck! I'm using a Nikon D5100 with a couple different lenses. The one from this video is a 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor lens.

      Heeeee! Thanks, livelonger!! Yeah, it really is a bonus that there are relatively harmless, so far as desserts go :D

      Yeah, "Moroccan Lemon Cupcakes" does just SOUND more alluring, doesn't it Om!! Thanks for the kind words :D

      And I hope you have fun with this one, Hendrika! I think these would make a great addition to the typical holiday spread.

    • Hendrika profile image

      Hendrika 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      thanks for the recipe, I was looking for some easy recipes to make for Christmas as it is only my husband an I, this seems to fit the bill for something sweet

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      Nice recipe and video. I'll give this recipe a try for sure. I like lemony desserts. Plus, I find this cupcake's exotic title to be very seductive. :)

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Having been lucky enough to try these delicious cupcakes (thank you, Simone!) I have to say that this is clearly a winning recipe. I'm somewhat heartened by the news that they're relatively healthy as far as cupcakes go, since I could probably eat them all day long. (Well, I guess they wouldn't be so healthy if they really became a staple in my diet!) Thanks for the great recipe and video. Love your lemon-colored standing mixer!

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 6 years ago

      #OMG Isn't this phenomenal!? It is a joy to see you 'in-person' right in your kitchen. It is definitely easier to add just a little water to the icing than trying to add up a whole box of confectionate-sugar to the overly diluted icing. They look delish. Can you tell us what type of camera you used to produce your film? Hugs, Debby

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

      What an awesome cupcake making video! You make it SooOOoo easy to follow, and your little pointers here and there (squeezing the lemon with the cut side up) are brilliant! The image configuration and unique style make me wish for more baking hubs of this kind! Lemon is my very favorite flavor, and these Lemon Cupcakes are on my "to bake" holiday list. Thanks for sharing it with us.

      HubHugs and Happy Holidays Simone!


    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 6 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Although this hub is totally awesome, especially with the video - just bookmark the hub as I have for baking time, I discovered it challenging. I mean I would cheat my diabetic diet in a heartbeat for one of those lemon cup cakes. Then, when no one is looking scarf down another - M'm, M'm.

      Sadly, not, happily you have prompted me to want to bake again. I only have omelette tools and sandwich stuff in the kitchen. Family members there is hint for St. Nick.

      As far as a taste for lemon - have you heard of Lemonheads. They are the best candy going since the sixties. Need I say more. Although from what I savored from the scrumptious scent of the video (are you kidding of course I cold smell them baking - smile) Lemonheads have some competition for first place.