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Sourdough Discard Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes

Use up a portion of your sourdough starter by making these delicious sourdough lemon poppyseed cupcakes! These cupcakes are topped with a lemon cream cheese frosting, adding a ton of fresh lemon flavor!

Making sourdough bread is all the rage lately, and it’s no surprise to see why. Sourdough has a ton of health benefits. But with that comes a lot of sourdough discard!

With Spring just around the corner, it makes me want fresh, fruity-flavored desserts. These lemon poppyseed cupcakes with sourdough discard are packed with bright lemon flavor thanks to the fresh lemon zest and lemon juice in them.

Topping them with a cream cheese frosting makes them extra decadent, though leaving them frosting-less would essentially turn them into lemon poppyseed muffins (also delicious).

I’ve been having so much fun coming up with new sourdough discard recipes. If you’re looking for some more, make sure to check out these Sourdough Discard Brownies, Sourdough Discard Chocolate Chip Muffins, and Sourdough Discard Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Make sure to check out these non-sourdough lemon-flavored desserts: Lemon Blueberry Cookies and Lemon Blueberry Scones with a Lemon Glaze!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Simple Recipe. Simple Ingredients. – No hand mixer is needed! Whisk the ingredients together–most of which you should have in your kitchen already!
  • Have a Lot of Discard? Use it Up! – These cupcakes are so delicious! The slight tangy flavor of the sourdough discard is a bonus.
  • Soft, Fluffy, and Topped with a Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting – These cupcakes are unique and so flavorful! An absolute sweet treat.
Closeup of one sourdough lemon poppyseed cupcake with lemon cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Nothing fancy is needed for these delicious sourdough discard lemon poppyseed cupcakes! See the ingredients below for the cupcakes and the lemon cream cheese frosting.

Sourdough Lemon Poppyseed Cupcake Ingredient picture.
  • melted butter – I use salted butter in my baking but if you only have unsalted butter, you can use it. Make sure to add an extra 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the batter, if so! Alternatively, you could use extra-virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil (this will create a different flavor).
  • granulated sugar
  • lemon juice – Fresh lemon juice works best. I used a couple of fresh lemons for the cupcakes, frosting, and to top the cupcakes with once they are frosted.
  • lemon zest – Zest the lemon first before juicing it.
  • sour cream – If you don’t have sour cream, you can replace it with full-fat greek yogurt (plain flavored).
  • milk – I use whole milk. Other varieties of milk should suffice just fine. For best results, make sure the milk is room temperature.
  • eggs – For best results, the eggs should also be room temperature.
  • almond extract – This complements the lemon flavor beautifully. If you don’t have any, you can use vanilla extract. It will provide a different flavor, but the cupcakes will still be magnificent!
  • sourdough starter discard – I made this recipe to use up extra sourdough discard, but you could also use active sourdough starter for a tangier sourdough flavor.
  • all-purpose flour – Cake flour would also be a great substitution as it adds a fluffier cake texture to these cupcakes.
  • poppyseeds
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt

For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients for the lemon cream cheese frosting.
  • powdered sugar
  • cream cheese – softened, room temperature
  • salted butter – softened, room temperature
  • lemon juice
  • poppyseeds

See recipe card for quantities.

Top of four lemon poppyseed cupcakes with sourdough discard.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Melted butter and sugar in a glass mixing bowl with a whisk in it.

Step One: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second increments. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, and granulated sugar.

Wet ingredients for the lemon poppyseed cupcakes: melted butter, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, sour cream, milk, eggs, and almond extract.

Step Two: Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, sour cream, milk, eggs, and almond extract to the bowl. Whisk until the ingredients are just combined. Add the sourdough discard.

A bowl with all the batter for the cupcakes including the sourdough discard, flour, poppyseeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Step Three: In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients, whisking until just combined.

The muffin tin with the batter in every other hole.

Step Four: Pour the cupcake batter into the muffin cups. Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, decrease the oven temperature (without opening the oven) to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 12-16 minutes (exact bake time varies by oven). The cupcakes will be ready when they are golden brown on top and you can stick a wooden toothpick in them and moist crumbs stick to it. If wet batter sticks to the toothpick, they need to bake longer. Allow the cupcakes to rest for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

The lemon cream cheese frosting whipped together in a mixing bowl.

Step Five: Frost the cupcakes. Cream together the cream cheese and frosting for about two minutes with an electric mixer. Add the powdered sugar gradually as you mix. Finally, add the lemon juice. Sprinkle poppy seeds and top with a small slice of lemon. Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftover cupcakes.

Hint: Zest the lemon before cutting it and juicing it. If you don’t have a microplane (citrus zester), you can use your cheese grater.

Equipment

  • muffin tin
  • mixing bowl
  • whisk
  • paper liners
  • wire rack
  • microplane/grater

Storage

Store leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Make ahead: You can make the cupcakes the day ahead and frost them the day you serve them to save some time! Store unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container. They can be stored at room temperature.

Four lemon poppyseed sourdough discard cupcakes.

Top Tips

  • For an easy mode of transportation, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup or an ice cream scoop to pour the batter into the muffin cups.
  • I piped the frosting onto these cupcakes with a 1M piping tip. It is my favorite one to use!
  • Set aside some extra lemon slices and poppy seeds to sprinkle on top of the cupcakes and decorate them with.
  • Sift the powdered sugar when adding it into the mixing bowl for the frosting. It will help reduce clumps!
One sourdough discard lemon poppyseed cupcake with several behind it in the background.

Sourdough Discard Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes

Use up a portion of your sourdough starter by making these delicious sourdough lemon poppyseed cupcakes! These cupcakes are topped with a lemon cream cheese frosting, adding a ton of fresh lemon flavor!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cupcakes, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 15 cupcakes
Calories: 336kcal
Author: Jamie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup melted butter salted
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup sour cream full-fat, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk room temperature
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup sourdough discard
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the lemon cream cheese frosting:

  • 8 tablespoons salted butter room temperature
  • 8 ounces full-fat cream cheese room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds to sprinkle on top
  • lemon slices to top the cupcakes

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425℉. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside. Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second increments. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and granulated sugar.
  • Next add the sour cream, milk, eggs, and almond extract to the bowl. Whisk until the ingredients are just combined. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Then add the sourdough discard. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds. Add the flour mixture to the bowl of wet ingredients. Use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to mix the ingredients until they are just combined. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the ingredients.
  • Pour the cupcake batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, decrease the oven temperature (without opening the oven) to 350℉ and bake for another 12-16 minutes. The cupcakes will be ready when they are golden brown on top and you can stick a wooden toothpick in them and moist crumbs stick to it. If wet batter sticks to the toothpick, they need to bake longer. Allow the cupcakes to rest for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  • Make the frosting. Cream together the cream cheese and frosting for about two minutes with an electric mixer. Add the powdered sugar gradually while you are mixing. Finally, mix in the lemon juice.
  • Frost the cupcakes. Sprinkle poppy seeds and top with a small slice of lemon (optional). Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftover cupcakes.

Notes

Store leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 209mg | Potassium: 70mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 332IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 1mg

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