Lemon Diva Cupcakes

9:44 pm on 4 June 2010

Our Family Table by Julie Goodwin – Australia’s first MasterChef
Published by Ebury Press

I made these little cupcakes in a MasterChef mystery box challenge. Our brief was to create and name a signature cupcake. I went with a very strong lemon-flavoured cake and named it the Lemon Diva. I was thrilled to pieces to win the challenge and I now get requests to bake them all the time. The secret to the strong lemon flavour is not only plenty of zest in the batter, but lemon juice in the icing as well.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

(Makes 12)


  • 100 g unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (165 g) caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • finely grated zest of 3 lemons
  • 2 eggs
  • 1⅓ cups (200 g) self-raising fl our
  • ½ cup (125 ml) milk


  • 125 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (300 g) icing sugar mixture
  • 1½ tbs lemon juice
  • yellow food colouring (optional)
  • yellow liquorice allsorts, to decorate


Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line a 12-hole medium muffin pan (⅓ cup capacity) with paper cases. Using electric beaters, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and creamy. Mix through the lemon zest.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Gently fold through the fl our and milk in two alternate batches. Divide the mixture evenly among the paper cases.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and springy when touched. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

To make the icing, use electric beaters to beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the icing sugar a little at a time, beating constantly. Add half the lemon juice and beat until well combined. Add the remaining lemon juice a little at a time, and tint with food colouring if you like. Using a 1 cm fluted nozzle, pipe the icing onto the cooled cupcakes. Decorate with a small lemon shape cut from a yellow piece of liquorice allsort.

Note: To make Lime Sublime cupcakes, substitute the zest of 6 limes in the cake batter and 2 tbs of lime juice in the icing. For Clockwork Orange cupcakes, try using the zest of 2 oranges in the batter and 2 tbs of orange juice in the icing.

John Hawkesby’s wine recommendation

Saint Clair 2009

Brodie Estate Summer Blush 2009

From Nine To Noon

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