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Of Cupcakes and Cocktails: Limoncello Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Limoncello Poppy Seed Cupcakes. I get excited just writing the name. Mmm. Remember that post about the present Emily got me for my birthday? You know, the one that mentioned Intoxicated Cupcakes: 41 Tipsy Treats, by Kate Legere? Well, I couldn’t have let it slip my mind because it combines two seriously fun things: cupcakes and cocktails. While these didn’t turn out like I’d imagined, they are different and in a good way!

We had an early 4th of July bbq because I was going to be up in Chico, helping Charise with wedding preparations, on the actual holiday. In our family, everyone tends to be in charge of bringing the same type of dish to a get together- Aunt Donna will bring a salad (although sometimes a homemade pie or rolls!), my gramma will bring a traditional coleslaw or broccoli slaw, my parents typically provide the beef/chicken/pork. As I’m sure you’ve come to learn, I’m a dessert girl. So, I flipped through the pages of this lovely little book Emily gave me. All of the cupcakes have some sort of alcohol in them and are reminiscent of some sort of “adult beverage”. My Aunt Annie gave out homemade limoncello as Christmas presents a Christmas or two ago (which reminds me that I need to get the recipe from her!), so I was drawn to the Limoncello Poppy Seed Cupcake recipe. I stole some poppy seeds from Judy, the lifesaver cook with every possible ingredient in her pantry. The only ingredient I had to go out and buy was buttermilk. I love using recipe that calls for ingredients which I have almost all already at home! Below are Kate’s ingredient list and instructions.


For the cupcakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter (I used 1 stick of regular butter and omitted the 1/4 teaspoon salt)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup limoncello
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 4 teaspoons poppy seeds

For the glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 Tablespoons limoncello


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cupcake pane with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside. (My batch made an additional 6 mini cupcakes, so I think you could potentially have 16 “normal” sized cupcakes)
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time beating until light and fluffy. Add the limoncello and buttermilk, mixing until well combined and scraping the bowl as needed. Turn the mixer to low speed and gradually add the poppy seeds and flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners (about 2/3-3/4 full) and bake for 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely.
  5. For the glaze, use a fork to mix the sugar and limoncello in a small bowl until smooth. Drizzle glaze onto the cooled cupcakes. WARNING! This part is extremely messy and you will have leftover glaze!

Makes 12 “normal” sized and 6 minis.


My kitchen smelled delicious after zesting this lemon from our garden!


To help the butter come to room temperature more quickly, I cut it into cubes.


The butter, sugar, lemon zest, egg, and buttermilk mixture will look lumpy, almost curdled.


Yellow liners to go with the lemon theme.


Enough batter left for 6 mini cupcakes! Be sure to fill the empty spots in the tin with water to help the cupcakes bake evenly.



Now for the glaze! Make sure your powdered sugar is sifted well to avoid lumpy glaze.



Very messy.



These turned out a bit denser and less cupcake-y than I’d imagined when deciding to make this recipe (i.e. sweet and covered in mounds of frosting). However, I (and everyone who tried one) thought they were absolutely delicious. I enjoyed a few the next day with a cup of lemon ginger tea. I think these would be great for a brunch or a baby or bridal shower.

About In Natalie's Shoes

I’m a twenty-something food fanatic. By day, I’m working for a non-profit, by night I’m dreaming of becoming a domestic goddess, creating adorable crafts to gift and engineering delicious home cooked meals for the fabulous dinner parties I’ll one day throw. I love to travel, locally, regionally… heck, even internationally, I don’t discriminate too much when it comes to a new destination. I am a little obsessed with taking photos of the food I eat, whether I make it or pay to eat it. It is my firm belief that a girl can never have enough purses or too many shoes. I plan to fill this lovely little blog with my adventures in food, travel, and craftiness. I hope you enjoy!

7 responses »

  1. Yum, wonderful step by step pictures! looks amazing thanks for sharing!

  2. I love a lemoncello shot so why not add it to a cupcake and combine the best of all worlds?! That glaze looks delish! What a fantastic recipe!

  3. Awww, this looks so fantastic! So like to have a slice of it! =)

  4. Pingback: Of Cupcakes and Cocktails: Dark Stout Chocolate Cupcakes « In Natalie's Shoes

  5. Pingback: Of Cupcakes and Cocktails: Dark Stout Chocolate Cupcakes « In Natalie's Shoes

  6. Oh my goodness these look delicious! I can’t wait to try these!! yummm 🙂


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