Gimme Some Oven

Honey Lemon Cupcakes (with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting)

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Honey Lemon Cupcakes (with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting) |

As I mentioned in my last post, there was some monumental news in my loft building this past week.

We got a grill, people!

Yeah, after smoking up my little loft apartment for the 100th time with my grill pan, it seemed like summer was the perfect time to see about getting the real deal. So my friend, Liz, and I petitioned our management to see if they would give it the “ok”. And miraculously they agreed and a big shiny new grill was delivered to our loft last Friday night. Success!!

To put it to use, I somehow found myself organizing the first of our #neighbornights (oh yes, we’re hashtagged) this past weekend to celebrate. I had some shrimp and a zucchini ready to grill, but I honestly wasn’t sure if anyone would show up. I started texting everyone I knew, and spreading the word to anyone I saw on the stairway. And one by one, people started responding that they were planning to be there. Lots of people.

I was stoked, but the entertainer in me began to kicked in, and I immediately started to worry about if there will be enough food. (I know, I know. I have yet to ever host a gathering where we actually run out of food, or even come anywhere close. But everyone is entitled to an irrational fear, and I feel ok about the fact that mine at least produces good food for leftovers!)  So I ran to the market to grab the essentials to make a humongous strawberry spinach salad, a big batch of balsamic veggies for grilling, and a few pounds of shrimp to season with my favorite blackening powder from the spice merchant down the street. I think it was easily enough food to feed a small army.

Every good meal needs dessert, though, and all I could find myself craving was cupcakes. I know they are not really “grill food”, per se, but they are my kind of dessert. And for some reason on a hot summer night, a rich batch of cream cheese frosting sounded perfect.

Lemon Honey Cupcakes |

Be sure to check out the HD for HB (Haagen-Dazs for Honey Bees) project and get involved!

I had been thinking a lot about honey that week after learning about Haagen-Dazs for Honey Bees, a hugely important project that Haagen-Dazs is helping to support in some really cool ways. (And you should check out too!)  So I decided to make some cupcakes to show support with my favorite hot tea combination — honey and lemon.

The cupcakes turned out even better than I had hoped! The cakes were that perfect balance of sweet and tart, and tasted extra fresh with the freshly-squeeze lemon juice and zest in there. And then I made a huge batch of honey cream cheese frosting and piped it on generously. Oh, and right after I snapped all of these photos, I had the idea to sprinkle them with some lemon zest. A cute extra touch!


Honey Lemon Cupcakes (with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting) |

There’s my solitary photo with said lemon zest. ;)

Honey Lemon Cupcakes (with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting) |

Sure enough, when I started hauling my smorgasbord of food and cupcakes downstairs to the grill, along with some goodies from my recent Moment for Me surprise box from Haagen-Dazs — some tasty snacks, white wine, and limoncello gelato. I was elated to find that others were already down there with drinks in hand ready to go! And of course they brought along a ton of food as well, so as is usually the case, there was no food shortage to be had. So we loaded up the grill, and everyone took shifts cooking brats, and veggies, and kabobs, and fish, and burgers until we had an absolute feast on our hands.

Honey Lemon Cupcakes |

More and more neighbors started showing up, including friends from the surrounding lofts who didn’t want to miss out on the fun. The cooks from the farm-to-table restaurant next door even came over to hang out, and offered some enormous fresh pork chops as a grill-warming gift to the crowd. Everyone of course brought their dogs, who were thrilled to spend the evening off leash and playing and licking up crumbs.

Neighbor Nights |

And once everyone was completely stuffed after dinner, they insisted on making room for cupcakes. I had made a triple batch as I was experimenting with the recipe, so there were plenty to go around. We even ended up having some extras, which we happily offered to surprise passersby who were out for a Friday night in the market.

Needless to say, they were a huge hit. Everyone asked for the recipe, and gushed over the magic that is cream cheese frosting. Sure, they might not have technically been “grill food”, but I’m pretty sure they ended up being the perfect end to our first-ever grilling neighbor night.

Honey Lemon Cupcakes (with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting) |

To be honest, I was initially going to write about my time making these cupcakes as my Moment for Me, my project with Haagen-Dazs where a few bloggers are helping celebrate the small and large moments (#hdmoments) that you set aside during the day to savor some re-energizing time for yourself. But as has happened with some of my previous posts with this campaign, I’ve realized that more often than not, my favorite moments seem to be those shared with good friends — especially when they involve food shared with good friends.

I will always love getting to spend time in my kitchen, mixing batter and taste-testing and adding an extra teaspoon of lemon zest here and there. Cooking has always been an intensely comforting and rewarding day to day part of my life. But when it came to these cupcakes, the “moments” I will cherish most were those when my friends’ faces lit up at the sight of a table filled with cupcakes. And their eagerness to bounce over to the cupcake table after finishing their last bite of steak. And the eyes squeezed shut with delight upon savoring the first bite, licking the frosting off their fingers and laughing as the dogs sat nearby on high-alert for crumbs falling to the ground.

Those are the kind of moments which overwhelm me with gratitude, and remind me why I started cooking and baking in the first place. Life is definitely sweeter when shared, and all the sweeter with lemon honey cupcakes like these. ;)

Honey Lemon Cupcakes (with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting) |

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Honey Lemon Cupcakes (with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting)

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  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 -15 cupcakes 1x


Lemon and honey come together to make the perfect tasty cupcakes!



Honey Lemon Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 34 cups powdered sugar


To Make The Honey Lemon Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with baking cups.
  2. Using an electric stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until just combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a smaller bowl, combine milk, honey, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  4. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until just combined. Add in the milk mixture, then add the remaining flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
  5. Fill baking cups 2/3 of the way full. (Check out this post to see how I fill cupcakes uniformly.) Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

To Make The Honey Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and honey until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Gradually add in powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes.

Honey Lemon Cupcakes (with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting) |

Honey Lemon Cupcakes (with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting) |

Honey Lemon Cupcakes (with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting) |

Honey Lemon Cupcakes (with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting) |

Disclaimer: I am a part of the Moment for Me campaign with Haagen-Dazs. I was not compensated for this campaign, but receive surprise Moment for Me boxes from HD with fun gifts to help create special moments. All opinions are 100% my own, as always.

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54 comments on “Honey Lemon Cupcakes (with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting)”

  1. These look divine! Cant wait to give this recipe a try!

  2. These look amazing!! I love the honey flavor!

  3. …and what a pretty pedestal to finish off those lovely cupcakes!

  4. So fun!! Makes me really, really miss living downtown and so close to you! I can almost taste these cupcakes!

  5. Ali this was such a great post. Not only are the cupcakes beautiful and delicious sounding I think you jsut nailed it on the head about what special moments are. I think we are all guilty of waiting for that BIG moment or event to get us excited but really it’s the small victories…like a grill and friends to share it with.

  6. OMG i want a grill!! :) How cool is that!

  7. These cupcakes look so light and refreshing! Congrats on the grill!

  8. Oh my these look pretty darn good!!!

  9. First of all, yay for getting a grill!! We are still waiting at our apt! Second, OMG prettiest cupcakes EVER! Beautiful, Ali!

  10. Congrats on the grill! And man, these cupcakes are gorgeous! I love that cute tree-like cupcake stand too!

  11. Such an unexpected, yet comforting flavor combination for cupcakes. I can’t wait to try these!

  12. love the neighborhood community you’re creating in your building–doesn’t hurt, I’m sure, that the food is AMAZING!

  13. CONGRATS on the grill Ali!! :) And OMG this cupcakes. I could eat that frosting for the rest of my life and be happy as a clam.

  14. So pretty and simple! Congrats on the grill :)

  15. Wow, this is stunning! I’m in love.

  16. I love baking with honey, these are beauties! (And that frosting sounds divine!)


  18. These look amazing. Can wait to try them at my next neighbor get together!

  19. Wow, Ali! Do you understand how gorgeous these photos are?! Love love love!

    Also, I love your neighbor nights! We live in a cul-de-sac with one other neighbor and we go out on Thursdays together. The wife is gluten free, so I’ve been using blogs to help me cook for her lots! Life is great with neighbors :)

  20. I love the combination of honey and lemon; it’s one of my absolute favourites and I must make these cupcakes! Such a perfect way to end an summer meal.

  21. You know I’m a bit partial to lemon – that lemon zest is absolutely stunning!!! Also you need to be the official face of honey, I’ve just decided.

  22. These look amazing, Ali, and your photos are just stunning! What a fun thing to round up friends for a big cookout and offer cupcakes to passerby… I just wish I was strolling along and lucky enough to try one, too! Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend.

  23. Ali, these are totally gorgeous!!

  24. These are so my type of cupcake! And I think I need to have some of that honey cream cheese frosting asap. That sounds amazing. Have a wonderful weekend Ali!

  25. Oh Ali <3 I love this, and the pics, and the thought of your adorable self grilling with all your neighbors and friends! (new and old)!

    YUM. I want a batch of those cupcakes – NOW!

  26. I have totally been addicted to grilling lately. You have a fun summer ahead of you! And I totally see these cupcakes in my future.

  27. These look amazing. I love honey and lemon together. Glad you got the grill- nothing worse than a smokey apartment!

  28. Pinned and drooling!

  29. These look and sounds amazing!! Your grill-warming evening sounds like so much fun. Food and friends (old & new) are pretty much a perfect pairing. Thanks for the recipe. I’m reeaaalllyy looking forward to making these!!

  30. These look and sound amazing. Your grill-warming evening looks like so much fun. Food and friends are pretty much a perfect pairing. Thanks for the recipe. I’m reeaaalllyy looking forward to making these!! Oh, and your photos are beautiful!

    • PS I apologize for the multiple postings! I don’t know how that happened and I can’t figure out how to delete the extras.

  31. These look and sound amazing. Your grill-warming evening looks like so much fun. Food and friends are pretty much a perfect pairing. Thanks for the recipe. I’m reeaaalllyy looking forward to making these!! Oh, and your photos are beautiful!

  32. Congratulations on the grill! This is my first summer with one and I’m obsessed. I’ve been grilling almost every day! Being able to sear meat and veggies in the heat of summer without turning my kitchen into a sauna is divine. The cupcakes look wonderful.

  33. I made these last night – AMAZING. I loved the mix of flavours and my friends loved the little cakes too :) thank you for sharing.

  34. These cupcakes look so delightful :) honey & lemon is such a perfect combination!

  35. Beautiful cupcakes. How did you get the apron? I love it.

  36. Hi there! I tried the recipe twice and its great! I even tweaked it to be orange cakes n its just as great!
    However I have a big problem. My cupcake liners will start to pull away slowly and will almost peel off by end of the day. I was very upset by it since it wasfor a bridal shower..
    Any advices on hw I can prevent this? Thank u!

    • This is super late, but if your liners are peeling off your cupcake you might be using a little bit too much nonstick spray. I had the same problem!

  37. I just made these for my daughter’s 2nd birthday and they look delicious! I juiced and zested a little too much lemon, so I added the leftovers to the frosting and it tastes like lemon cloud :-) Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  38. I noticed not a lot of people wrote reviews about making the cupcakes so much as what they looked like so I thought I’d let you know I made them and they’re delicious. They are perfectly moist and light with the right amount of lemon flavor and a touch of honey. I’m totally going to make these again and they’d be great to take as a dessert somewhere. Thanks for the recipe!

  39. I made these last night. Super easy recipe and I love the combination of lemon and honey for the sour and sweet effect. I did not eat these because I just came off a cruise and need to drop some lbs. My co workers ate them and the comment from one of them was that the frosting really completed the cupcake. She also stated: “The lemon flavor was smooth and consistent throughout the cupcake. All the flavors were complimented throughout the entire cupcake.” I would make these again. These were super cute and loved by my co workers.

  40. Yesterday I hosted a Spring barbecue. I wanted a dessert that was fresh and suited the new season, and these cupcakes were perfect! Everyone went on and on about them, and I have to admit that I was saddened when they were all eaten! I will have to make these again, and I may add a touch of lemon to the frosting this time. I am a lemon lover!

  41. Hi there! My husband doesn’t like zest at all in any baked goods. If I leave out the zest but don’t want to decrease the lemon flavor, can I just use extra lemon juice without throwing off the recipe (since there will be more liquid)? And, if so, how much lemon juice would you recommend using if omitting the zest? Thanks so much!

    • I would just omit the zest if he doesn’t like it. Adding extra liquid will throw off the balance of the ingredients a bit, but they will still be plenty lemon-y without the zest. Enjoy! :)

  42. These cupcakes are toooo good, y’all. So delicious, so moist, so yum. Undeniably making them again.

  43. Can you use granulated honey instead of liquid honey?

    • Hi Cindy! We actually aren’t familiar with granulated honey, and haven’t tried that in this recipe. If you can dissolve it so its texture is a thick liquid, (like liquid honey), then we think it should work! We hope this helps, and that you enjoy the cupcakes!

  44. I just made these! They taste delicious but please tell me how on earth your cream cheese frosting turned out so beautiful? My cream cheese frosting always seems to get runny. Then it kind of pours into the cupcakes instead of piping so beautifully. 

    • Thanks Kristina — we’re glad you enjoyed them! Hmmm, sometimes we’ll pop the frosting in the fridge so it an firm up a bit, before we ice — we hope that helps!

  45. Could the batter be used for a cake instead of cupcakes?

  46. Excellent recipe. Love the lemon. My husband is an Apiarist (cultivates bees and gathers honey) Using his honey is excellent because the collected within a 25 mile radius from where you live has all allergen components most effective for you and specific to your environment.

  47. These are do delicious! I made them for my sons first birthday as his theme was Winnie the Pooh and everyone loved them! So fluffy and light! Thank You so much for this recipe :)