Boozy and bright, these dense and cake-like Limoncello cupcakes are topped with a whipped cream cheese frosting that’s infused with even more Limoncello.

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Close up side view of a wrapped Limoncello cupcake, showing off the texture of the Limoncello frosting and the lemon twist decorating the top.

About Limoncello Cupcakes

Limoncello tastes just like lemon drop candy, and that means it’s the perfect flavor to accentuate all sorts of sweets and pastries – like, say, these delectable limoncello cupcakes.

From the Limoncello-infused cupcake batter to the Limoncello-infused cream cheese frosting, these little desserts are overflowing with the best type of lemon flavor. And better yet, they’re still delicately sweet, too, making them a perfectly balanced cake-like treat in finger food form.

What’s in these limoncello cupcakes?

To whip up batch of these bright and boozy cupcakes, you will need:

  • Cake flour – This recipe uses cake flour to give the cupcakes a dense, cake-like texture. But if you don’t have cake flour (or simply don’t want to buy some) you can substitute the 1 3/4 cup cake flour in this recipe for 1 1/2 all-purpose flour.
  • Baking powder, salt, butter, sugar, eggs, milk – Standard cooking ingredients for delicious cupcakes.
  • Cream cheese – Like the cake flour, a little bit of cream cheese helps make these cupcakes dense and moist.
  • Limoncello – The namesake of this recipe! It gives these cupcakes a boozy flair and the sugary zing of this bright liqueur.
  • Lemon juice and lemon zest – For added lemon flavor.
Top down view of a single Limoncello cupcake, surrounded by more lemon twists and slices of lemon.

Do you have to use cake flour?

Using cake flour gives these lemon cupcakes a dense, cake-like texture. If you do not have cake flour or would rather a more traditional cupcake, substitute cake flour for 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.

Will limoncello cupcakes make you drunk?

As far as the Limoncello goes, since it’s baked in the cupcake, most – but not all – of the alcohol will “bake off” and leave only the lemon sweet flavor. You can read more about how this works here: No Worries, the Alcohol Burns Off During Cooking—But, Does It Really?

However, keep in mind that the Limoncello frosting is not baked, so this will include the same amount of alcohol content as it says on the bottle. You’re only using four tablespoons of Limoncello to frost 18 cupcakes, but it’s still there, nonetheless. If this is a concern, you can substitute the Limoncello for an equal amount of lemon juice as a non-alcoholic alternative.

Side view of multiple Limoncello cupcakes resting on stripped coasters, surrounded by lemon twists and slices of lemon.

How many lemons do you need?

This recipe calls for about 1/4 cup lemon juice and roughly one tablespoon of lemon zest. For the juice alone, you’ll need at least two lemons total. Zesting one lemon would also give you enough zest for this recipe.

Keep in mind that you’d need many more lemons if you used lemon edges or lemon twists for decorating.

You can also use storebought lemon juice for this recipe.

Can these cupcakes be made in advance?

Yes, they totally can!

Once baked and decorated, these cupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before serving. This will ensure the cupcakes still have their best presentation; each additional day in the fridge could lead to the frosting drooping or being damaged.

How should these cupcakes be stored?

Due to these cupcakes having a cream cheese-based frosting, these cupcakes should be stored in the refrigerator. They should also not sit for more than two hours at room temperature.

Close up side view of an unwrapped Limoncello cupcake, showing off the dense cake-like texture.

How should these cupcakes be stored?

Due to the cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The frosting is not shelf-stable and should be chilled.

How long do cupcakes last?

When stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator,  cupcakes can last anywhere from three to five days.

Can you freeze limoncello cupcakes?

Yes, you totally can!

To freeze these cupcakes:

  • Bake cupcakes per recipe instructions, then allow to cool completely. Note: for best and most consistent results, do not decorate cupcakes before freezing. Frosting types and consistency may vary and could impact how long or well the cupcakes will last while frozen.
  • Wrap cupcakes in plastic wrap. You can either wrap them individually or arrange the cupcakes in a group (single layer) and wrap them together.
  • Place wrapped cupcakes in a freezer bag or a storage container with a sealable lid.
  • Cupcakes can be frozen for up to three months.

Notes & tips for limoncello cupcakes

  • This recipe should work for both homemade and storebought Limoncello.
  • Make sure you have enough muffin tins to make 22 cupcakes (total yield of this recipe, unless serving size adjusted in the recipe card below).
Close up side view of an unwrapped Limoncello cupcake cut in half, showing off the dense texture of the cupcake.

More delicious cupcakes

Other great lemon recipes

How to make Limoncello cupcakes

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – To kick things off, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour and baking soda) in a mixing bowl, then set them aside.

Step 2 – Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl) whip together the sugar, butter, and cream cheese.

Step 3 – Slowly blend in the eggs and Limoncello.

Step 4 – Mix in the dry ingredients, milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest until loose batter forms.

Step 5 – Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, then fill each cavity about 3/4 of the way full with batter.

Step 6 – Bake!

Step 7 – While the cupcakes bake and cool, prepare the frosting by using a mixer to whip together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Slowly blend in the Limoncello, making sure the consistency of the frosting stays nice and fluffy.

Step 8 – Place the Limoncello cream cheese frosting in a pastry bag with a piping tip of your choice and decorate the cooled cupcakes. Top each cupcake with a straw, if desired.

Step 9 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Close up side view of a wrapped Limoncello cupcake, showing off the texture of the Limoncello frosting and the lemon twist decorating the top.
4.09 from 23 votes

Limoncello Cupcakes

30 mins prep + 20 mins cook
347 kcal
Yields: 18 cupcakes
Boozy and bright, these dense and cake-like Limoncello cupcakes are topped with a whipped cream cheese frosting that's infused with even more Limoncello.

Ingredients 

Limoncello Cupcakes
Limoncello Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons limoncello, or to taste
  • lemon twists, for decoration (optional)

Instructions

For the Limoncello Cupcakes
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a muffin tin by adding cupcake cup liners, then set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set bowl aside.
    1 3/4 cups cake flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), add sugar, butter, and cream cheese. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
    1 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup unsalted butter, 2 ounces cream cheese
  • Drop mixer speed to low and add on eggs, one at a time, blending thoroughly inbetween.
    3 eggs
  • Keeping mixer speed on low, add Limoncello, then blend for 1 minute.
    2 tablespoons limoncello
  • Keeping mixer speed on low, add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, then mix for 10-20 seconds. Pour in milk, then mix for 10-20 seconds more. Add the other half of the dry ingredients, mix another 10-20 seconds, then pour lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix all ingredients until just combined.
    1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Pour cupcake batter into prepared muffin tin, filling cavities about 3/4 of the way full.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until tester toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let cupcakes cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Note: If using cake flour, cupcakes will "shrink" slightly while cooling – this is okay.
For the Limoncello Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), whip butter and cream cheese on high speed until fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, 8 ounces cream cheese
  • Drop speed to low and slowly add sugar, mixing thoroughly in between.
    4 cups powdered sugar
  • Keeping mixer speed on low, add Limoncello and whip until frosting is smooth, about another 2-4 minutes. Taste test the frosting; this frosting is very forgiving and easy to balance to your tastes. You can add up to 6 tablespoons of Limoncello (total) or up to 5 cups of powdered sugar (total) to get the flavor and consistency you'd like.
    4 tablespoons limoncello
Putting it All Together
  • When ready to decorate, fill a pastry bag with prepared Limoncello cream cheese frosting and a piping tip of your choice.
  • Frost each cupcake in a decorative pattern, then dust the top with sprinkles or other decorations, like a lemon twist.
    lemon twists
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

* Using cake flour gives these cupcakes a dense, cake-like texture. If you do not have cake flour or would rather a more traditional cupcake, substitute cake flour for 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 129mg | Potassium: 83mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 499IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 0.3mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy

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19 comments

    • Anita

    Hello
    I wanted to make this frosting in advance. With the alcohol content, would it be ok? (And stored in fridge)

    Thanks!

    • Carol

    How many cupcakes does the recipe make?

    • Richard

    Could you make this as a sheet cake. 9×13 pan or even a 8×8?

    Poke cake. lol

    • Hilda Sterner

    Great recipe! Just got done making them. I had a lot of frosting left, so next time I’m only going to make half. I also added a little lemon zest and some lemon extract to the frosting.

    • Donnasara
    • 5 stars

    I am in the process of making these today for Easter! Can’t wait to try them. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Daniela

    I’m going to make these. I thunk they’d be amazing with the icing piped into them like an eclair with preferred sugar on top. Thoughts?

      • Chrisy

      Sounds like an amazing idea to me! If you tried them this way, I’d love to hear how they turned out 😀

    • Lovely Lisa

    I made these with my homemade limoncello, and they were wonderful! The cupcakes were still very dense using all-purpose flour. Since I only used half of the delicious frosting, I made strawberry cake batter cookies and topped them with the remainder. WOW. In love! Limoncello cupcakes and strawberry limoncello cookies! Thanks for the recipe! It’s a keeper!

    • Love the idea of using the limoncello frosting on strawberry cookies! Will have to try that one day 😀

    • Carmen

    Does it have to be cake flour? I prefer all purpose flour

    • Emily

    I am trying to make these cupcakes, but I’m confused. Your ingredients list says Baking Powder, and the instructions say Baking Soda. Which one should I use? Thanks!

    • Hey Emily, so sorry for the confusion! It should be baking powder.

    • Jane Englefield

    Look amazing, you don’t need cheap sprinkles, you could have added grated lemon zest, this wood have completed them perfectly .

    • Josie

    I love lemon cake, so I was SO excited to see this recipe! Looks amazing despite the yellow sprinkles emergency 😉

    • Erin @ Platings and Pairings

    These look so yummy – I LOVE the addition of limoncello!

    • Olivia @ livforcake

    I would LOVE the consistency of these cupcakes. I’m all about dense, moist, and chewy. Will have to try these!