Lemon Buttercream Icing

 

I knew this was coming.

I knew this was coming and I just stood there like a deer in the headlights, waiting. Because when I perfected my icing recipe to my taste and liking, we all knew that I had to add lemon. Because that’s what I do to everything and anything I can. Add lemon.

Because lemon makes life better.

You’d better hold on to your spoons.

Because this one is irresistible.

Ingredients needed:

1 cup of salted butter

4 cups of icing sugar

2 tablespoons lemon zest

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons cream

NO vanilla even though it’s in my picture.I changed my mind. I’m like that.

Whip your butter with the paddle attachment if you have one, or just a general beater with your mixer.

Add in your icing sugar, one cup at a time, beating continously. Now 2 tablespoons lemon zest worked wonderfully for me. Zested peel should not be done on a regular grater, by the way, you need a smaller size, a zester grater, in fact. The size is perfect without being overwhelming chunks in your cooking.

The 3 tablespoons of lemon juice was just perfect for my tastes, zingy and zippy with a sweet background of pure sugar and butter. I then added the 2 teaspoons of cream to thin it out.

And THEN….then, I put it on my lemon blueberry coffee cake, (recipe coming in the next couple of days) took half to my work, where the ladies promptly raved over the icing and demolished it all, and half went to my son’s school for the teacher’s lunchroom.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemon Buttercream Icing
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Delicious lemon buttercream icing, the perfect topping for any cake or cupcake.
Author:
Recipe type: icing
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of salted butter
  • 4 cups of icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cream
Instructions
  1. Whip your butter with the paddle attachment if you have one, or just a general beater with your mixer.
  2. Add in your icing sugar, one cup at a time, beating continously. Now 2 tablespoons lemon zest worked wonderfully for me. Zested peel should not be done on a regular grater, by the way, you need a smaller size, a zester grater, in fact. The size is perfect without being overwhelming chunks in your cooking.
  3. The 3 tablespoons of lemon juice was just perfect for my tastes, zingy and zippy with a sweet background of pure sugar and butter. I then added the 2 teaspoons of cream to thin it out.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

57 comments
NicoleElverd
NicoleElverd

Quick question, how much (in weight) is a cup of butter?  

loplover
loplover

How do you prevent the buttercream from splitting? Mine has always split the moment I added lemon juice, no matter how well it was blended before the addition of the juice. Also, if I add whipping cream, the result has always been a complete disaster. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

thekitchenmagpie
thekitchenmagpie moderator

@loplover Try making sure that everything is room temperature, that should help! And keep on beating it, sometimes just beating it until it comes together actually works!

arica612
arica612

Do you have to use icing sugar, I want to make this now but don't have that type of sugar.

marsw
marsw

I cut the sugar and the butter in 1/2 and omitted the cream.  Left the rest the same for a strong lemon taste for someone who loves a lot of lemon.  I had extra left after covering an 8 x 8  GF Betty Crocker that I turned into Lemon cake.  I warmed a little butter at the end and added to smooth it out.  Great flavor.  Used Trader Joes Powdered Sugar.

KellyAdams1
KellyAdams1

I wish I could tell you how amazing this was, but it was completely disgusting. Probably twice the amount of butter I needed. The amount of grease in this was awful, and I followed this recipe to a T. I will never again use cream to thin out frosting, because it adds even more fat, unlike milk that has very low fat. It completely ruined my cupcakes, and I will never let frosting touch cupcakes again until I've tasted it. 

Aleash
Aleash

Holy cats!!! this was absolutely perfect! Thanks so much for sharing. I'm excited to explore your site and try more recipes.

Andrea
Andrea

Hi, I was going to make a double layer 12 inch vanilla cake for my sisters shower and thought this would be great for a change. How many batches you think I would need? I've never made a cake this big before. I was also going to cover in fondant if this changes the amount of batchs I know you don't need quiet as much on the out side.

lacyrae
lacyrae

This is such a great receipe :) perfect all around texture and taste

Sandy B
Sandy B

Love this cake, plan to make for a friend coming home from thenhospital

Jaime
Jaime

Love it! Always trying to find the perfect lemon icing as its my hubbys fav with banana cake and this one is definitely my new go to!

PaskalinaFaro
PaskalinaFaro

Why salted butter? I'd like to make that frosting just want to make sure I'll use the right better. Thanks 

thekitchenmagpie
thekitchenmagpie moderator

@PaskalinaFaro ALWAYS salted butter in icings to cut the sweet! That's why most recipes just aren't quite right, you need the salt to foil the sweet.

Cathy
Cathy

So glad I found your site and this amazing receipt, I made vanilla magacascar cupcakes and this icing was made for it. Thank you!!!!

onefootinfrontoftheother
onefootinfrontoftheother

This is PERFECT! At first I thought, "Whoa! 2 Tblsp (4 small lemons) of zest!"....but it was exactly right. I am sooo picky about frosting, and I've been terribly disappointed with so many lemon recipes, but I could not have been more absolutely DELIGHTED with this. THANK YOU!!  (P.S. I didn't need the cream. Maybe because my butter was reeeally soft.....in my hot climate.)

Jess
Jess

the lemon flavoring was to die for, i loved it! i thought it might taste to sweet or buttery but no, it was pefectly balanced. Thank you!

thekitchenmagpie
thekitchenmagpie moderator

@Jess I am SO glad that you liked it! Thanks for letting me know, I love hearing from readers!

Maxsmom
Maxsmom

Most awesome lemon icing ever! I followed recipe exactly and so happy with results! The one who commented saying it wasn't like buttercream?? I don't understand... They must have measured something wrong! This is the most wonderful lemon buttercream ever! The lemon zest made it very tasty! Thank you for sharing this!!!!

Patrick Wemitt
Patrick Wemitt

This recipe is relatively easy to make and the directions are spot on. I wanted to add another shot of lemon juice to lend a bit more flavor but opted not to stay true to the recipe. When I added the lemon zest it made it really pop lemony! I'm going to use a lime filling for the cupcakes and frost with a light green lemon icing for St. Patty's day!

Trishy
Trishy

I made this recipe last night, I found this to be way too sweet.  It seemed to be more like traditional icing, rather then a rich butter cream.  No Complaints from my taste testers, but I think I will keep looking for a real butter cream.
 

I followed this recipe exactly, don't believe in modifications before I have tried the original.

Kelly Baker
Kelly Baker

I doubled the recipe to frost a layer cake and it was amazing.  I added more lemon because I wanted it a little tarter.  The texture was spot on fluffy and creamy.  Perfect!

SabineVan
SabineVan

This frosting is fabulous! Made it today to practice making a 'rose cake'  next time I will have to at least triple this but it is definitely one of my favorite frostings...next to your chocolate one of course! Thanks for a great recipe!

leeesh
leeesh

I dont have cream can i do it without cream?

Karlynn Johnston
Karlynn Johnston

Coffee cream is a dairy cream, about 18% milkfat. Get close to that amount of fat if you can!

ShikinAhmad
ShikinAhmad

Hi karlynn,what kind of cream u use, non dairy cream ,dairy cream or cream that i never know? Tq

hannahmdejong
hannahmdejong

Hi! I made this icing today, but it seemed to curdle weirdly . It was smooth at first, but when I added the cream it curdled and looked lumpy. Was I just not mixing it enough? Not sure if the lemon juice curdled the cream or what, and how to make it better. Let me know what I can do!

Carole
Carole

Used this on my lemon lavender cupcakes, came out amazing!! Good recipe!!

Amanda
Amanda

Oh YUMM-O!!!! Looks fabulous! I've made your regular buttercream icing and I'm trying out your chocolate one tonight. I seriously LOVE your creations. I haven't been able to find a tip that looks like that when I pipe my icing onto my cupcakes. I first saw it on your grape cupcakes. PLEEEEASE tell me which one you use!!! :P Big fan from Winnipeg! :)

Laura
Laura

This sounds so yummy,I wanna make it, but I'm missing the cream. Do u think it'd be ok to add whipping cream instea?

kristi
kristi

Going to try this for Easter....will let you know but sounds yummy! Thanks

lyne
lyne

Absolutely OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!!! icing!!!!!

Jackie
Jackie

Hi Why did you use salted butter in this recipe.

Amanda
Amanda

I used this on my son's rainbow birthday cake and it was seriously the best frosting I have EVER had. It will definitely be my go-to frosting from here on out. A million thank you's!

Giny
Giny

Just made your recipe but used lime instead (my fav!) Really a great icing. Thanks!

Suzy
Suzy

I used your "Lemon Buttercream Icing" recipe today for my lemon cream cake, and it turned out great!! Thank you so much! This is the first time I have made icing from scratch. I actually added 1 tsp. of vanilla, only because I LOVE vanilla extract. I will definitely use this for my icing again and again. Thanks, Suzy

Vivian
Vivian

Made this frosting today for a velvet cake I made. It is so delicious and it goes well with the velvet cake. In fact I prefer this frosting over the traditional cream cheese frosting. It does need to be refrigerated when you are done at least where I live because it gets really hot (summertime). I like the texture both refrigerated and at room temperature. In fact while posting this comment I was eating my velvet cake with this frosting on it. Love the tangy fresh flavor. I did not have to add the cream as I decided to add 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and it brought the frosting to my desired consistency. Thanks so much.

ginmarie
ginmarie

Awesome, I have been learning to decorate cakes for 4 months now and would love to have a change from plain butter cream just something to mix it up. This sounds yummy.

BabyChick
BabyChick

I can not wait! to try this recipe :) I looove lemon and I have the perfect cookies to sandwich it with :) I'll make sure to tag you in my blog when I make them!

Mary
Mary

I rarely have time to bake, but since we are snowbound in Western Maryland, I'm going to play with your recipe on my 4 layer buttermilk cake. My family wants me to alternate layers of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream and lemon frosting, and after checking out a LOT of lemon icing recipes, this one looks just perfect! (The photo didn't hurt either!) Thanks a bunch!

Frimmy
Frimmy

This looks amazing and I'm always interested in a recipe with lemon. I'll be trying this out very soon. I can even buy those exact same brands in my grocery stores.

Memoria
Memoria

This buttercream looks and sounds fantastic. I love the additions you made. I make a similar buttercream, so I'm sure I can remember the lemon part. @Melinda - you could also use milk. I've used whole and skim milk in buttercream frosting. P.S. I have the same mixer as you! I won it on pioneerwoman.com.

melinda kumar
melinda kumar

just what i was looking for...but do you think i could add buttermilk instead of cream? i don't want to make a trip to the store just for 2 teaspoons of cream...

Karlee
Karlee

I'm drooling over this...but I cannot make it because I will eat it all!