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Lemony Olive Oil Cupcakes

I'm not a cupcake person. I know. The horror. But, I am the biggest fan of cupcakes when it comes to these Lemony Olive Oil Cupcakes. They're not too sweet, which allows the lemon zest to shine, adding a bright finish to each cupcake. You can decorate these with flowers, sprinkles, or just a classic smear of lemon buttercream.


Measuring flour - the key to any fluffy and tender baked good is accurately measuring your flour. Typically when you just scoop out the flour straight from the container, you end up measuring way too much flour. This is because when you scoop the flour straight from the container, you are packing it down too much, meaning that your measuring cup is filled with dense flour. Measuring too much flour can ruin almost any baked good, so I recommend using a kitchen food scale when possible since this will provide the most accurate results. However, if you do not have a food scale the most accurate way you can measure your flour is by spooning the flour into your measuring cup until it is full. Then with the flat side of a butter knife, swipe the excess overflowing flour off. This method is called spooning and leveling your flour.

Egg-free recipe - this cake recipe is egg free. To ensure that this cake is moist and tall without eggs, we use yogurt, baking soda, baking powder, and vinegar.

Ingredient Temperature - it is important to use room temperature ingredients in this cake. This helps ensure that your ingredients combine easily and well to form a homogenous batter.

TOTAL TIME: 1 hour + cooling YIELD: 24 cupcakes INGREDIENTS:


3 cups (360 g) all purpose flour

1 ½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup olive oil

1 ¼ cup milk

½ cup yogurt

1 ½ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon white vinegar

Zest of 2 lemons

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt


1 cup (2 sticks) super soft butter

3-4 cups powdered sugar

Splash of room temperature heavy cream

Vanilla extract

Zest of 1 lemon


  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F and line your cupcake tins with wrappers.

  2. In a bowl, combine the room temperature milk and vinegar. Set it aside to curdle and measure out the rest of your ingredients.

  3. In your stand mixer bowl or a separate bowl, add in the sugar and lemon zest. Using your fingertips, rub the zest and sugar together. This will release the essential oils in the citrus zest and intensify the lemon flavor. Rub the sugar and zest together until the sugar resembles wet sand.

  4. Then, add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until all of the dry ingredients are fully combined.

  5. Then, add in the oil and begin to beat on low for a minute. Then, increase the speed to a medium or medium high and beat until chickpea sized crumbs begin to form.

  6. Mix until the oil is combined. At this point, it is going to look off because a dough will start to form, do not worry it will be fine.

  7. Add in your milk, yogurt, and vanilla after the oil and beat until everything is just combined. Add in the sprinkles and mix just until you see no more lumps or flour pockets.

  8. Evenly divide the batter into your tins and bake for 25-30 minutes.

  9. Once it is finished baking, let it cool for at least 30 minutes before removing it from the pan. Then, let it cool completely before frosting.

  10. To make the frosting, begin by beating your softened butter on high for 5 minutes. Beating it for a long period of time ensures that it is fluffy and smooth.

  11. Add in the powdered sugar half a cup at a time and beat until smooth. You can add more/less depending on how sweet you want it.

  12. After all of the sugar is added, continue to beat for another 2 minutes until everything is smooth. Add in vanilla extract and lemon zest and mix.


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