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Last Updated on April 30, 2023 by Lisa Johnson
Bursting with bright lemon flavor, these cupcakes are moist, tender, and filled with a luscious limoncello frosting that perfectly complements the tartness of the lemon.
Whether you’re a fan of classic lemon desserts or looking to try something new and exciting, these Limoncello cupcakes are sure to delight your taste buds and add a touch of Italian flair to your dessert collection.
Add a tiny straw to show that they are drink inspired, and sprinkle with yellow sugar crystals to show that they are lemon flavored. The possibilities are endless! Just wait to see what else I did with them below.
What is Limoncello?
Limoncello is a smooth, sweet, and vibrant Italian liqueur made from lemon zest, sugar, and alcohol. It is traditionally served chilled as an after-dinner digestivo, but it also adds a delightful zest to many recipes; Limoncello Tiramisu Ice Cream, Limoncello Spritzer, and Lemon Drop Martini.
While I was wondering around Target (yes, quite dangerous) I came across these absolutely adorable silicone chick cake molds…..and I had to have them!
I stood there debating the practicality of them, but in the end, they were just too adorable to pass up. I had this picture in my head of what I could make with them, and well, I just couldn’t pass them up.
This is what I was picturing in my head while standing in Target, PEEPS in lemon cupcake form!
They are perfect for Easter and springtime parties! I am sure these mold are no longer for sale so I made a second batch of traditional cupcakes that can be shared all year long!
They would also be perfect for Mother’s Day and bridal showers!
You can add pink food coloring, and make them Pink Lemonade Cupcakes! You know me and options.
How to make Limoncello Cupcakes
Start by preheating the oven to 350° F. Spray your cake molds and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, or line some muffin tins with pretty wrappers.
Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, dry milk powder, and pudding mix together in a bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and oil until well blended.
add the vanilla, lemon zest, water, and Limoncello.
Gradually add the dry ingredients.
Beat just until well combined. Fill cake molds or wrappers three-quarters full.
Do not bake cupcake wrappers on a flat pan, they will not hold their shape. They need to be baked in muffins pans.
Bake for 18 to 21 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, they do shrink up and level out a bit. Remove from pan and place on a wire cooling rack, allow to cool completely.
To make the Limoncello Frosting
In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, shortening, and salt on low for about 5 minutes. Add extracts (or liqueurs) and beat to combine.
Next, add half of the powdered sugar and the meringue powder, and mix together. Continue adding a half-cup of powdered sugar at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
Add a little milk or water, a teaspoon at a time if necessary to thin the frosting. Continue mixing on low for several minutes to create a light and fluffy frosting.
Frost cupcakes with a flat knife or a piping bag with a decorative tip.
How to glaze the “peeps” cupcakes
If you are making the peeps, you will need to make a glaze. Whisk together 2 cups of powdered sugar with 6 tablespoons of Limoncello.
Dip top of the “peeps” into the glaze and allow excess to drip back into the bowl.
Place parchment paper under the wire cooling rack, and place chicks back on rack. Shake yellow sugar crystals over the glazed tops to completely cover.
The darker yellow sugar looks better than the pale yellow.
Dip a toothpick into black food gel to make the eyes.
I cheated and sprinkled the pink sugar over the pale yellow glaze.
Can these cupcakes be made without alcohol?
Yes – substitute lemonade for the Limoncello and water in the cake recipe. Taste the batter to see how lemony it is. You may need to add lemon extract as well.
Use lemonade or water, plus lemon extract for the buttercream frosting.
The reason that I make all of my cakes with alcohol, is not because I want to keep the liquor companies in business. It’s because the flavors are so much more intense than with extracts!
Tools used to create this recipe
You can see the rest of my favorite kitchen tools and gadgets here in my Amazon Affiliate Page. I earn a small commission when you purchase through my links, at no cost to you, so I can keep bringing you more delicious recipes!
- They no longer sell a silicon chicks mold, but there is a bunny shaped mold that would be adorable.
- Cupcake Liners
- Muffin Tin
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Hand Mixer
- Wire Cooling Racks
- Yellow Gel Food Coloring
- Meringue Powder
More delicious cupcake recipes
- White Champagne Cupcakes
- BAILEYS Kiss Cupcakes
- Boozy Shamrock Shake Cupcakes
- Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes
- 1.25 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 0.5 cup canola oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
- 0.5 cup Limoncello I used Caravello
- 0.5 cup water
- 2.5 cups cake flour I used Swan’s Down
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- .25 cup non-fat dry milk powder
- 3.4 ounce package instant lemon pudding mix
For the Limoncello Frosting
- 0.5 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup shortening Crisco
- 1 pound powdered sugar confectioner's sugar
- 2 tablespoons Limoncello
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- .25 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon meringue powder
- 1 tablespoon water or milk to thin – add more as needed
For the "peeps" Glaze
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 6 tablespoons Limoncello
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line muffin tin with wrappers, or spray with baking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, dry milk powder, and pudding mix together. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together sugar, oil, and eggs until smooth and fluffy, two to three minutes.
- Beat in the vanilla, lemon zest, water, and limoncello.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients and beat just until well combined.
- Fill wrappers or muffin tins to three-quarters full.
- Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 21 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of cupcake.
- Allow to cool in muffin tins for 5 to 10 minutes. Place on a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, shortening, and salt on low for about 5 minutes. Add extracts (or liqueurs) and beat to combine.
- Next, add half of the powdered sugar and the meringue powder, and mix together. Continue adding a half-cup of powdered sugar at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
- Add a little milk or water, a teaspoon at a time if necessary to thin the frosting. Continue mixing on low for several minutes to create a light and fluffy frosting.
- Frost cupcakes with a flat knife or a piping bag with a decorative tip.
- To make the "peeps" with glaze, please refer to post for complete instructions.
- To make without alcohol – substitute lemonade for the Limoncello and water in the cake recipe. Taste the batter to see how lemony it is. You may need to add lemon extract as well.
Use lemonade or water, plus lemon extract for the buttercream frosting.
- Baking times are approximate, all oven bake differently.
- Store cupcakes in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.