Gluten-free lemon cupcake recipe – but you’d never know they’re gf! They’re low FODMAP and can easily be made dairy-free too.
Gluten-free lemon cupcake recipe, anyone? It’s erm… simply the zest! They’re technically ‘triple lemon’ cupcakes, packed with tons of sweet, zesty flavour and a little surprise in the middle…
These aren’t just any old lemon cupcakes, oh no!
The moist sponge of each cupcake is packed with lemon zest/juice AND there’s homemade lemon curd of the middle of each one 😍
Plus, you’ve also got the loveliest, light and fluffy lemon buttercream on top, finished with a little lemon zest.
If you’re a lemon addict like I am, you will absolutely love my gluten-free lemon cupcake recipe!
So yeah, there’s three parts to this recipe that make up that lemony trilogy – the sponge, the homemade lemon curd and the buttercream.
I always then find this recipe pretty simple to make because none of those parts alone are very difficult whatsoever!
The real challenge is to test your multitasking and seeing how many of those tasks you can do simultaneously 😂
(not surprisingly, I always make them completely separate!!)
The lemon curd especially, is something you can easily make ahead of time so that then, when you want to whip up my gluten-free lemon cupcake recipe, all you’ve gotta do is make your sponge mixture and icing. Simple!
Of course, you can always cheat and buy lemon curd in the supermarket if you fancy… and I promise I won’t judge you for doing so 🤫
But be warned, if you want the middles to ooze and drip a little like mine in the photo below and above, shop-bought lemon curd is a little more ‘jelly-like’ than homemade curd.
Oh and I’ve included how to make my lemon curd in the recipe below, but you can always head over here and read my separate lemon curd blog post if you find it easier to read.
Gluten-free lemon cupcake recipe: Ingredients
Here’s everything you’ll need for this recipe – don’t be put off by the seemingly long list. Lots of the ingredients are repeated!
Keep scrolling until you see the recipe card for the method 👇🏻
For the cakes
- 175 g gluten free self raising flour
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
- 175 g butter (or dairy free hard margarine)
- 175 g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 lemons, zested
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
For the lemon curd
- 2 lemons, (zest and juice of both)
- 2 large eggs
- 110 g butter (or dairy free hard margarine)
- 160 g caster sugar
For the lemon buttercream
- 200 g butter, room temperature (or dairy free hard margarine – add a little extra icing sugar if using)
- 455 g icing sugar, sieved
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2-4 lemon zest (optional, but I love zest in my buttercream)
So I thought I’d kick things off with a little frequently asked questions section – if you just want the recipe, then keep scrolling!
But I’ve thrown in some tips here that will be really helpful if this is your first time baking this, or you want to adapt it. So here they are!
Gluten-free lemon cupcake recipe: Frequently asked questions
Can I make this recipe gluten free? Is it suitable for Coeliacs?
It is gluten free, though nobody would know just by tasting it – trust me!
Bear in mind that minimising cross-contamination is hugely important if you’re Coeliac or making this for someone who is. Here’s some tips from Coeliac UK on minimising the risk of cross contamination.
Also, make sure that all ingredients used don’t have any gluten-containing ingredients. Then make that that they also don’t have a ‘may contain’ warning for gluten, wheat, rye, barley, oats (which aren’t gf), spelt and khorasan wheat (aka Kamut).
Here’s some more info from Coeliac UK on identifying safe gluten free products.
Can I make your gluten lemon cupcake recipe dairy free?
Of course you can! All you need to use is hard margarine instead of butter – I use a block of Stork that’s been allowed to soften at room temp.
You can use a dairy free margarine spread like this for the cake, but not for the buttercream or lemon curd. It’s far too soft and won’t hold like buttercream should.
Is your gluten free lemon cupcake recipe nut free?
Yep, this is a nut-free recipe as far as ingredients go, BUT make sure you check the ingredients label on ALL the products you use just to be safe.
Even if the products don’t contain nuts, they may have a ‘may contain nuts’ warning due to being produced in a factory that handles nuts.
You can never be too careful so always read the labels on everything first.
Can I make this recipe vegan?
If you follow the steps above to make this recipe dairy free then all you’ve got left to contend with are the eggs.
Here’s a few ideas you can use as egg replacements, so each of these = 1 egg.
- 3 tablespoons of aquafaba – water from a can of chickpeas. Keep the chickpeas for a future dinner!
- Egg replacement powder – I’d recommend using Orgran as it’s gluten free.
- 1 tablespoon of chia/flax seeds mixed with 2 tablespoons of water and left for 10 minutes in the fridge.
- 3 tablespoons of applesauce.
- 1 small, mashed ripe banana
I haven’t personally tried these myself, but I always find that the egg replacement powder works best in baking.
Is this recipe low FODMAP?
Yes, this recipe is suitable for the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet. There’s no high FODMAP ingredients in this recipe whatsoever.
Can I make your gluten free lemon cupcakes in a food processor or standing mixer?
Of course you can, but you definitely don’t need to. I use both a stand mixer and an electric whisk for this recipe. Here’s a link to the electric whisk I use.
A stand mixer makes making buttercream a breeze and an electric whisk speeds up mixing the cake batter. You can of course, use either for both tasks too.
But do bear in mind that you can absolutely bake this without assistance from any appliance – just a good ol’ fashioned wooden spoon or spatula will do. Just make sure you give it a lot of welly, otherwise your mixture won’t be consistent!
Do I need any special equipment to bake your gluten free lemon cupcakes?
Certainly not! You will need a good quality muffin tray, so here’s a link to the one I use.
Do I need weighing scales to bake your gluten free lemon cupcakes?
In short… yes! And I wouldn’t advise attempting any of my recipes without them. One of the worst things you can do in any baking recipe is alter the quantities by mistake or on purpose.
(unless you know what you’re doing of course)
Why? Well, you’re sort of just gambling with the recipe and praying that it turns out ok. And I’ve generally already done the hard work there for you!
A lot of work went into fine tuning ratios and quantities so I wouldn’t mess around with them unless you really know your stuff.
Can I bake your gluten free lemon cupcakes with less sugar?
I can definitely understand the need to reduce sugar in our foods, but this is one of the recipes where I wouldn’t advise removing it from the cake batter itself.
Of course, the sugar isn’t just for sweetness. It’s integral to the structure of the cake once baked and is sooo important. Plus, lemons are super sour and sugar is essential to balance that out.
However, if you want to reduce the overall sugar, you can always omit the lemon curd filling, or reduce the amount of buttercream on each cupcake.
Can I make this recipe without xanthan gum?
In some of my recipes, yes, but I wouldn’t recommend leaving xanthan gum out of this one. You’ll see xanthan gum in a lot of my recipes as it’s an essential ingredient in gluten free baking.
Without gluten to bind the cake batter together, you can be left with a very loose and crumbly sponge texture which won’t work for this recipe.
Some people have asked if they can use psyllium husk powder instead of xanthan gum, but I’ve found that it definitely results in a denser sponge so I wouldn’t overly recommend it.
So TLDR; definitely use xanthan gum if you can!!
Can I make this recipe using other gluten free flours like buckwheat flour or coconut flour?
There’s a big difference between ‘gluten free plain/self-raising flour’ and a *singular* type gluten free flour. When I say ‘gluten free plain or self-raising flour’ in a recipe, I mean a BLEND of gluten free flours, not just one, singular flour.
Most gluten free flour you buy in the supermarket typically contains a blend of rice flour, potato flour, maize flour, tapioca flour AND buckwheat flour. That’s a lot of different flours!
In gluten free self-raising flour, there’s usually even a little baking powder and xanthan gum in it too which always helps.
So to replace it with just one specific type of flour… that’s not going to cut it at all. Definitely go for a gluten free flour blend.
How long can I keep your gluten free lemon cupcakes for?
I usually find that my cupcakes last for around 3-5 days in an airtight container. It’s usually eaten by that point, but I wouldn’t recommend keeping it for longer than that.
If it’s any longer than that then I’d highly recommend reading the next question…
Can I freeze your gluten free lemon cupcakes?
Of course! I’ve frozen them for up to a month and after allowing them to fully thaw, you’d never know they were frozen.
Simply leave each cupcake out at room temperature for 4-5 hours to defrost.
How can I tell when my gluten free lemon cupcakes are done?
Grab a skewer and give one a poke in the centre. If it comes out clean, then it’s done!
But if the skewer comes out moist and cake-like, it’s best to pop it back in for a bit longer.
Can I print your gluten free lemon cupcakes recipe?
Yes! Just hit the print button located on the recipe below (otherwise you might end up printing this entire post which would probably make your printer go into early retirement)
Ok, so here’s my gluten-free lemon cupcake recipe! 🍋 Please rate it 5 stars if you liked it as it helps others to know it’s a recipe worth trying! Feel free to leave your written reviews in the comments below this post 👇🏻
Gluten free lemon cupcake recipe - filled with fresh lemon curd and super easy to make! You'd never know they're gf and they can easily be dairy-free too. Nutritional info is estimated and not always accurate.
For the cakes
For the lemon curd
For the lemon buttercream
For the lemon curd
For the cupcakes
For the buttercream
For the assembly of the cupcakes
Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 546Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 141mgSodium: 399mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 1gSugar: 57gProtein: 4g
Gluten free lemon cupcake recipe - filled with fresh lemon curd and super easy to make! You'd never know they're gf and they can easily be dairy-free too.
Nutritional info is estimated and not always accurate.
Any questions about the recipe? Please do let me know by following me on Instagram and leaving me a comment on a recent photo.
If you want to send me a photo of how your bake turned out, you can request to join my Facebook group and post it there. Myself and everyone else would love to see it!
Thanks for reading,
Oh and don’t forget to pin this for later!