Easy Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

These cupcakes were inspired by the gripping novel, The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett. There is this one part where a neighbor, Mrs. Sanders, brings a lopsided lemon cake with vanilla icing to Mrs. Walker across the street, as an apology/peace offering after there was some tension in the neighborhood (obviously I could explain this better, but I don’t want to spoil the book!)

These Lemon Cupcakes are really easy to make… the REAL recipe however is our vanilla cream cheese frosting, which is just so good you could eat it plain (don’t do that though). Here is what you do:

For the cupcakes


  • 1 box vanilla cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 lemon


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and set your cupcake liners into the tin
  • In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the cake mix, eggs, oil, and water
  • Wash the lemon and use a zester to zest the entire outside of the lemon into the bowl; Then cut the lemon in half and juice both ends into the batter. Mix again
  • Spoon the batter about 3/4 of the way into each cupcake liner and bake for 15-17 minutes

For the frosting

  • 1 brick of cream cheese, 8 oz. , room temp
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temp
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the cream cheese and butter
  • Slowly add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time
  • Then add the salt and vanilla; blend until smooth

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