Clementine Buttermilk Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Wednesday, February 3

If there is such a thing as a chocolate overload, I think I've experienced it. The dark chocolate bundt cake and my mom's birthday cake with a thick layer of chocolate buttercream frosting were just too much to take after a while. I was craving something refreshingly bright and tart. These little cupcakes were so exquisite that I've already made them twice in the last week. They were consumed with a bit of nervous, reckless abandon during the new episode of Lost...which I thought I had figured out until they threw yet another curve ball.

These are the rebellious offspring of Ina's lemon yogurt cake. Instead of yogurt I used buttermilk and sour cream and substituted clementine zest for lemon. They wanted to further their voice in the world by bearing a crown of lemon cream cheese frosting. I think they have made quite an impact, at least in my household.

I can't get enough of anything with massive amounts of lemon and lime. Nothing will ever be labeled as 'too tart' by me. As a child, I used to suck on the wedges of lemon in water glasses despite the constant reminders about the effects it would have my teeth. I stand firmly on the belief that citrus desserts should fall heavy on the sour side with just enough sweetness to prevent facial contortions. So please bear this in mind if you decide to make these zingers.

The layers of various forms of citrus in these cupcakes can be relished like a favourite novel. And these stand proudly enough on their own that they don't require the embellishment of frosting. Because of the buttermilk and sour cream, they are super moist. Once they are removed from the oven and are cool enough to handle, they are spooned over with a lemon simple syrup. The heat from the muffins helps to draw in the tart syrup so the insides are literally saturated with lemony flavour. The lemon cream cheese frosting is sheer vanity on the part of muffins. As if they were not lavishly gorgeous enough, they wanted to raise their status from muffin to cupcake. These are citrus bliss and undeniably addicting to those of us who could easily live on lemons.

Clementine Buttermilk Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
(loosely based on Ina's Lemon Yogurt Cake)

*printer friendly Recipe*

Cupcake Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking Powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 cup of buttermilk (well shaken and at room temp.)
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 cup of sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten.
3 teaspoons of clementine zest (about 4 clementines)
1/4 teaspoon of pure almond extract
1/2 cup of vegetable oil

Lemon Syrup Ingredients:
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar
1/4 cup of cream cheese, softened to room temp.)
4 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
* I did not measure the frosting ingredients so play around a bit with the confectioners sugar and lemon juice until you have a thick, spreadable frosting.*

Cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter or spray a regular sized muffin tin (this will yield 12 cupcakes). Lightly dust the tin with flour.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking Powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and sugar. Add the slightly beaten eggs, clementine zest, and almond extract. Whisk until well combined and smooth. Using a large spatula, slowly stir in the flour mixture. Be careful not to over mix, don't worry if there are a few lumps. Still using the spatula, fold the oil into the batter, making sure it's completely incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly into the prepared muffin tin.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or just until a toothpick inserted through a center muffin comes out clean.

Lemon syrup: While the muffins are baking, prepare the syrup. Put 1/3 cup of lemon juice and 1/3 cup of sugar into a small saucepan. Cook the mixture over a medium to low heat stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is clear. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Once the muffins are out of the oven let them sit for a few minutes until you can remove them without burning your fingers. The lemon syrup should be added while they are still warm. Run a thin knife along the edges if needed. Place the still-warm muffins onto a large plate or cooling rack lined with foil to catch any drippings. Using a toothpick, poke a few holes into each muffin. Carefully spoon the syrup over the muffins allowing it to seep in and fall over the entire muffin. If you have left-over syrup, add more to the entire batch until it is used up. These should be nice and lemony so don't be shy.
If you wish, you can serve the muffins as they are. The frosting is a splendid option.

Frosting: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Slowly add the confectioners sugar and lemon juice until you have a thick frosting. Add food colouring if you wish. Spread the frosting over the cooled muffins and watch them transform into bright, tangy cupcakes!

Makes 12 standard sized cupcakes


  1. Wow, these looks so delicious! I love the have such a lovely blog!

  2. Ciao ! i'm am with you about lemon ! i love tart sweets ! Today I'm going to receive 10 kilos of orgamic clementines so I'm set !!How cute in the cups did you bake them so ?

  3. Catherine, thank you for the compliment. I'm happy that you like it here. :>

    Hi Natalia, No. I didn't bake these in those cups...although that would be an excellent concept for bakeware. :> I'm jealous that you are going to have so many clementines!

  4. Great idea with the clementines! I've made Ina's cake before and loved it - I'll have to try this!

  5. Valerina, I am totally with you...I want to taste the citrus, not the sugar. LUV LUV LUV citrus and these cupcakes are a sure hit here!

  6. These sound and look absolutely delicious! I recently made a lemon poppy seed cake with a similar glaze and I can't wait to try this clementine version!

  7. I couldn't believe how moist and tender these cupcakes were. The only change I made to the recipe was using orange rather than clementine zest. I'll definitely make this one again -- and next time I'll make the frosting, too. I do love cream cheese frosting!

  8. Beth, I'm so glad you like these tart little cupcakes! They really don't need any topping but cream cheese frosting never hurt anyone. :D


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


une gamine dans la cuisine © All rights reserved · Theme by Blog Milk · Blogger