Lemon-Ricotta Cupcakes with Fluffy Lemon Frosting


Joanne Chang makes her moist, lemony, fresh-tasting cupcakes with honey instead of refined sugar, which keeps the sweetness in check. This is the perfect grown-up cupcake.

Lemon-Ricotta Cupcakes with Fluffy Lemon Frosting
What's the best way to celebrate Easter? Make these 10 delicious, festive cupcakes. Photo: Christina Holmes
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs



  • 8 ounces cream cheese (1 package at room temperature)

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (finely grated, plus more for garnish)

  • cup honey

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • teaspoon kosher salt


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • cup honey

  • ½ cup fresh ricotta cheese

  • ½ cup vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (finely grated)

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2 eggs (large)

  • 1 egg yolk (large)

  • ¾ cup crème fraîche


Make the Frosting

  1. In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Add the butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and beat until incorporated. Beat in the honey, vanilla and salt. Cover and refrigerate until firm and spreadable, about 3 hours.

Meanwhile, Make the Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk the honey with the ricotta, vegetable oil, lemon zest and vanilla; whisk in the eggs and egg yolk. Whisk in one-third of the flour mixture just until incorporated, then whisk in half of the crème fraîche until smooth, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Fold in the remaining flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the remaining crème fraîche until well incorporated.

  2. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and bake for about 25 minutes, until the cupcakes are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool completely. Frost the cupcakes and garnish with lemon zest.

Make Ahead

The cupcakes can be refrigerated for 2 days.

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