Lemon Drop Cupcakes

So, my sister is VERY pregnant.  She’s not due for another 9 days, but she’s done.  I can’t hardly blame her, she works on her feet all day long, and then chases a 22 month old around all night.  The girl is always on the go, and quite possibly the hardest worker I know.  Except maybe my Dad, but I suppose that’s where she gets it.

Since I’m just as anxious to meet my new nephew as she is, (ok, probably not AS anxious.  But close.)  I thought I would humor her and create a lemon drop cupcake for her.  Why, you may ask?  Because she saw a story about a bakery in Charlottesville, Virginia called Cappellinos Crazy Cakes that has credited their lemon drop cupcake with inducing labor in 19 (full term) women.  Theirs is a lemon pound cake with lemon buttercream frosting, and they claim that the fresh lemon juice is the baby-making tonic…so – what kind of sister would I be if I didn’t do everything I could to replicate the magic cupcake?

Mine is a lemon cake with a lemon-sugar infused syrup, a lemon glaze and a dallop of lemon buttercream.  So you want fresh lemon juice?  You got it.  And, just because they were so pretty, I found some lemon-yellow pearls for a little something special.  I thought about filling the cakes with lemon curd, but I really loved the idea of infusing the cupcakes with the lemon-sugar syrup so I tried that instead.

Labor Inducing Lemon Cupcakes | www.lemon-sugar.com

And as far as the cupcake goes?  WOW.  Out of this world.  Super, super moist, SUPER lemony but not over the top.  It’s like the best lemon pound cake you’ve ever had, with buttercream frosting.  Fab-u-lous.  Like eating sunshine.  Or something.  But seriously, you must try these.

  Labor Inducing Lemon Cupcakes | www.lemon-sugar.com
Things to note for this recipe:  Use an ice-cream scoop to scoop the batter into the cupcake tins, and do not fill more than 1/2 full!  These cupcakes rise a LOT, so give them room to grow!  If you don’t have buttermilk, add 2 TBS of white vinegar to a cup of milk and stir.  Let sit 5 minutes, and then use what you need.  I used 4 large lemons and got all of the juice and zest I needed.  If your lemons aren’t juicy, pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds and that will wake them up.  Finally, if you use a piping bag to frost these, you will need 2 batches of the frosting below.

I actually adapted this recipe from a loaf-pan recipe, so if cupcakes aren’t your thing, skip the buttercream altogether and bake this in two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 loaf pans for 50-60 minutes.  Everything else remains the same.


{Want to see if they worked?  See the next post!!}

Lemon Drop Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Rumor has it that these cupcakes will induce labor in full-term momma's! I think the trick is lots of fresh lemon juice! Enjoy!
Serves: Approximately 24 cupcakes
Cake Ingredients:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups white/granulated sugar
  • 4 extra large eggs at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup grated lemon zest (4-8 lemons, depending on size)
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lemon Syrup Ingredients:
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup white/granulated sugar
Glaze Ingredients:
  • 2 cups powdered/confectioners sugar
  • 3½ tablespoons freshly sqeezed lemon juice
Butter cream Ingredients:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered/confectioners sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Cake Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare 24 cupcake tins with liners.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in bowl of stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, and lemon zest.
  4. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. In another bowl, combine lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla.
  6. Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.
  7. Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner ½ full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake!
  8. Remove from oven and remove from cupcake pans as soon as possible. Let cool on a wire rack.
  9. While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the lemon syrup.
Syrup Directions:
  1. Combine sugar and lemon juice in a heavy-bottom pan over low heat until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently.
  2. After cakes have cooled for 10 minutes, spoon the syrup over the tops of the cupcakes, about a tablespoon of syrup per cake.
  3. Then allow cakes to cool completely before glazing and frosting.
Glaze Directions:
  1. Combine sugar and lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth.
  2. Using the back of a large spoon, smooth some glaze over the top of each cupcake.
  3. Each cupcake will use about ¾ teaspoon of glaze.
Buttercream Directions:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and salt for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and lemon juice and beat 5-6 minutes until frosting is fluffy.
  3. If desired, add some yellow (gel or icing) food coloring.
  4. Add to piping bag and frost as desired.
  5. Sprinkle with yellow sugar pearls, sugar, or a lemon drop candy for decoration.
  6. Enjoy!!

leave a comment your way - using facebook or disqus:

  • Anonymous

    Did your sister try them? Did they work? : )

  • http://www.lemon-sugar.com Erin @ Lemon Sugar

    They actually DID work! She was in labor within about 12 hours of eating them, and my nephew was born the next day! See the blog post about it: http://www.lemon-sugar.com/2011/04/um.html

    • Amy

      That is such a fun story! Did she think she was having a girl and then ended up delivering a boy?

      • lemonsugar

        Nope, she knew she was having a boy. :)

        • Amy

          Oh, I was just wondering because you said a few comments earlier you were hoping to meet your new niece. I thought maybe it was a surprise that it was a boy. I’ve heard of a few of those stories lately and thought maybe this was another one :)

          • lemonsugar

            Whoops! Evan is definitely a little boy. 😉

  • Anonymous

    I made these with a friend who was 2 days past due on Friday night. She ate about six of them from the time we made them Friday night until late Saturday night…and delivered a healthy beautiful baby girl on Sunday morning! Besides the obvious benefit–they were delicious 😀

  • http://www.lemon-sugar.com Erin @ Lemon Sugar

    That’s such good news! Who knows if the cupcakes did the trick, but either way I’m happy that her bundle of joy arrived safely and quickly! =) I’m making them for my sister-in-law tomorrow, I’m hoping to meet my new niece before I leave for vacation on Saturday!! 😉

  • Anonymous

    I can’t wait to try these. We are ready for our little guy to arrive! My husband is making them for me today. :o)

  • Lou Ann Walker

    There are alot of steps to these cupcakes, but they are worth it if you love lemon!!!

  • Alanna Teed

    layers and layers of luscious lemon. I am so going to try this recipe…although I am not pregnant!!

  • http://lilaloa.blogspot.com LilaLoa

    I LOVE the pearls on top! So pretty and sweet!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00295635918782494860 Lauren

    I actually just made a cake with this cake recipe! So good!!! But I did mine with raspberry jam and whipped cream…. I’m keeping this one on hand for all my prego friends!

  • jackie

    We are a Lemon Lovin Family and I cannot WAIT to bake these this weekend!

  • Anonymous

    I made these a week before my due date and within 5 hours of eating 3 of them(they are delicious!) I was in labor! Prior to eating them, I wasn’t dilated at all! Thanks SO much for posting this recipe-it helped me deliver a St Patrick’s Day baby!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00815714937955269558 Hilary

    I made these Friday night, two pregnant friends ate them, one a week to go till her due date, still nothing has happened, the other only ate one and thankfully nothing happened, she isn’t due until October. I gave a plate full to another friend that was past her due date Saturday morning/afternoon, she woke up Sunday morning having contractions, and delivered a healthy baby boy. For the others who ate them they loved them or thought they were too “lemony”, I loved them! Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe.

  • Melinda Leigh

    I am making these today for my daughter’s 3rd birthday. While on vacation this summer we stopped into a cute little bakery where she feel in love with the lemon cupcake. That is what she kept asking for for her birthday and this just looked so fun to make! Thank goodness I’ve got hubby home to help juice and zest all the lemons, I’ve got to make 2 batches!

    • Melinda Leigh

      These were a hit. I will be saving these to make another time! Not thrilled with the frosting, may tweak that a touch but everything had great flavor. Very lemon with out being just sour or over lemony. Thanks for helping make my baby girl’s birthday a success!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11339016761160424069 Erin {Lemon Sugar}

      Glad you enjoyed them! :)

  • http://thekitchenpresciption.com/ Sherri

    Hmmmm waas a labor and delivery nurse for 11 years. I’ve heard of raspberries and castor oil, but never lemon. I’m going to have to go do some investigating to find out more about this. No longer a labor and delivery nurse, but this stuff still fascinates me.

    Pinning! LOL

    • Chikite Ducksworth

      Ok so i can just eat some rasberries to go into labor?

  • http://www.facebook.com/rosie.wear Rosie Wear

    I made these a year ago 1/26 to help induce labor… I ate 6 on the 26th (they were that yummy!) and my little guy was born the next day. I made these again tonight (without all the glaze and syrup which I’m regretting at the moment) to become his birthday tradition. :)

    • lemonsugar

      Yay, I love it when they work! :) Funny how many success stories I’ve heard over the years – congrats on your new bundle of joy!

      • http://www.facebook.com/rosie.wear Rosie Wear

        yum yum yum. I modified the recipe a little this year – left off the glaze and syrup, added more lemon juice to the frosting and topped them with sliced strawberries. After a day in the fridge they taste like strawberry lemonade. :)

  • Pingback: The Bex Factor » The Cupcake Fail()

  • Rieko Cohn

    Saw this post on FB and since my baking buddy recently told me she’s pregnant, figured I should practice at least once before her due date in Nov. Made a batch with freshly squeezed Meyer Lemon juice, skipped the glaze, and frosted with Swiss meringue buttercream, to which I added some homemade Meyer Lemon curd. The cupcakes were delightfully lemony with just the right amount of sweet to counter the tartness. The Swiss meringue lemon curd buttercream was the perfect frosting. I’ll be ready with these when my baking buddy is close to her due date. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Pingback: Um...about those cupcakes... - Lemon Sugar()

  • Pingback: Lemon Drop Cupcakes()

  • Pingback: The Bad Timing Fairy | Adventures with the Clawsons()

  • Bekah

    I had 6 of these and went into labor within 24 hours! It could have been the acupressure, walking, sex, etc. but it’s more funto give the credit to the cupcakes!

  • Valarie

    I just ordered six how many did u ladies eat?

  • Irina

    I made these cupcakes for my (non-pregnant) lemon loving best friend. They were amazing! Thank you so much for this recipe. I didn’t to the glaze, but I cannot describe what a hit these cupcakes were at her party. Thanks Erin. I did the icing bring yellow collored and made it look like a yellow rose icing top.

    • lemonsugar

      Awesome! I love these, glad you did too! :)

  • nancy

    any chance you have tips on putting the syrup on the cupcakes? I tried these and they were amazing but the syrup didn’t go on well – it just kind of rolled off and got the counter and wrapper all sticky.

    • lemonsugar

      I used a small offset spatula and put it on slowly, allowing it to soak into the cake. :) Good luck!

    • Melissa

      Grab a toothpick and poke some holes, it’ll give the syrup a place to settle while the cake absorbs it. Saving these for my due date. LOVE lemon.

    • Ginny

      I just used a basting brush and it worked great!

  • Pingback: Lemon Meringue Cupcakes - Lemon Sugar()

  • Pingback: Mickey Mouse Party - Lemon Sugar()

  • Anonmom

    I have been spreading the love for these cupcakes! I made them on a Tuesday night, ate three at 11:00pm and my water broke 2:30 Wednesday morning. By 7:30 am, I was holding my little one. That was two weeks ago. I was overdue by 12 days and had tried everything but I give the credit to these yummy cupcakes for doing the trick. Thank you!

    • lemonsugar

      Awesome, and congrats on your new addition! :)

  • katie

    My kitchen was a disaster and it took 3 hours to make them, but i can finally sit down and eat my first one! They are amazing! I hope they work!

  • Pingback: Countdown to baby {Big Sibling Gifts}()

  • Brianna

    I made these pretty cupcakes two days before my due date and unfortunately they did not work. But they were still very delicious!

  • Stephanie M. Scrivener

    They didn’t work for me! I’m so so sad!
    But I will say they were absolutely amazing & I can’t stop eating them! A ton of work but I am pretty sure that they’ll be a special treat we’ll make several times a year! Just delicious! Since I’m still shoveling them into my mouth & have been for the last 4 days maybe they will work after all! Haha!

  • Codi Malloy

    Was excited to make these but what is the measurement for flour?

    • Erin {Lemon Sugar}

      3 cups of flour, as stated. Good luck!

  • Jessica Williams

    I just make them tonight with Bob’s Red Mill Baking 1 to 1 gluten-free flour. I think the secret is the labor making them makes you go into labor! Haha jk! I’m not sure what the magic number of cupcakes to eat it is. I will eat 3 or 4 now, maybe another in the morning & post an update! (I’m 40 weeks)

    • Jessica Williams

      Ate 3 more the next day. No luck here :(

  • Key

    Well I’m very pregnant. I am 40weeks+5days! I have been scheduled for an induction. I definitely don’t want to have a scheduled induction. So I’ve been researching so many things to induce naturally without harming baby or myself. I’ve gone walking, walking up and down stairs sideways and straight, squats and sex and notjing has happened. Finally my husband thought of these cupcakes he heard on the news about three years ago. I researched the story/storiesand thought it was interesting. I love desserts and to bake and it’s safe, so I decided to bake these. Husband brought the ingredients back home. I finally finished these cupcakes. I ate 3 and 10 minutes later I definitely felt the little one moving and kicking harder, back pain, and some contractions. I was amazed and scared all at once because it actually might work! So I will keep posted if anything happens!

    • Key

      Well these cupcakes definitely worked for me. The next morning I woke up and 10 minutes later I started having contractions. My contractions began at 5 minutes apart. By the time we made it to the hospital, I was 2-3 minutes apart and dilated to an 8. SCARY!! Yes these cupcakes worked, however be careful on the amount you eat. As I was getting ready to go to the hospital, I kept telling my husband I wanted to push. The only reason why I couldn’t push was because baby was settled on my side (maybe baby’s shoulders kept baby from coming down). Idk but I would have given birth at home instead. Also I think the baby became destressed and had a bowel movement while amniotic sac was still intact. He’s healthy and I’m glad I’m no longer pregnant that’s for sure. I thank God that everything went well. I will be making these cupcakes again because they were delicious!! Again Moms please be very careful on the amount you eat!! I would say bake and eat these early in the morning and monitor yourself throughout the day.

    • doozydu

      Did it work?

  • Pingback: Labor inducing cupcakes? | from a girl to a mom()

  • doozydu

    I don’t have many fresh lemons … can I use just straight lemon juice? Will i get same results ?Want to make these tonight. Don’t really wanna go to the store but I will ..

  • John Wessner

    Wow! My wife was about a week past her due date, with plans to induce a few days away. We prefered to have things happen naturally before that time! A coworker found this recipe and shared it with her, I picked up the supplies that afternon and got busy baking. She ate a cupcake when she came home from work and another at about 10:00 that evening. By 10:00 the next morning contractions had started, and our beautiful daughter arrived the following day! I was skeptical, but we were willing to try anything as long as it was safe…maybe it was the cupcakes and maybe it was just time, but either way, something worked!

  • Pingback: When Plans Aren’t Possible | Rebecca Faye Smith Galli()

  • Pingback: Waiting for baby--what NOT to do | Rebecca Faye Smith Galli()

  • Kayla Wood

    I’m try this.. I’m right at 37 weeks with my second.. I have been having contractions for 2 weeks I went to the Dr yesterday he did his exam and was like woo there’s a head and told me I was 3cm. He believes I could have her before my next appointment. We have been trying very thing! Hope this works I’m very pregnant and tired! She is already out of room and is in the locked and loaded position!

  • Destainee Rudison

    I just gave my roommate this recipe, she is about 1 and a half late. So hopefully baby tanner will be here soon :) I’ll keep ya posted :)

    • Kristine Kristensen Bundgaard

      Please help me!
      These cakes sound delicious – and really effective too. But I live in Scandinavia and have absolutely no idea about how much a ‘stick of butter’ is. Could anyone tell me the weight of one?
      I am not quite due yet but with my two first I had to go to hospital for induction and this time I am looking for another solution :-)

  • mamaof6

    I’m pregnant with my 6 th child and due next Friday. I’m so ready for this pregnancy to be over and done with and willing to try anything to start things up. Glad I came upon this recipe and ended up making it tonight. I just ate 2 of them and it’s 11:43 pm. We’ll see what happens. If nothing at all at least they tasted amazing. Oh and baby must think so too because she hasn’t stopped moving since I ate them. Lol

  • Kisha

    I purchased the ingredients to make these cupcakes and never got around to making them BC I went into labor before hand. They look delicious and I am making them now that I am home from the hospital. I did drink 3 shot glasses full of balsamic vinaigrette that same day. Not sure if it was luck or the balsamic.

  • Jessica Wagner

    40 weeks today! Just finished them up and ate 3. WOW yummy! Now we wait! 😛