Lemon and pistachio cupcakes

Fresh lemon cupcakes with pistachios.
Spring seems to have settled in properly now, in fact it feels more like summer this week. Sunny skies, short sleeves and (ah-choo!) hay fever – happy days! Except for that last point, hay fever – feel free to be on your way any time now. That biting morning chill that we became accustomed to in the winter months has all but gone and the promise of a glorious summer is quite literally in the air.

Easy lemon cupcakes with pistachios.

Is it just me or do we all feel a little more motivated at this time of the year? Spring is often a time for new growth and fresh starts, and here at Cupcakes and Couscous there have been a lot of exciting happenings lately. A few weeks ago I was thrilled when my nutella and peach braid was announced as the winner of that month’s Today Pastry Challenge. I have been very busy working on two recipe campaigns and enjoying a couple of press features. I also recently revealed my new logo – what do you think? It was designed by talented designer Claire Fazakerly. And of course there was the recent food photography course that I attended which I so enjoyed. I am incredibly grateful for these and all the opportunities and good things that have come my way because of the blog. There always seems to be something exciting going on and keeping me busy in the kitchen!
Light lemon and pistachio cupcakes.
Pretty lemon cupcakes with pistachios.

I am hoping that this week’s recipe will help to put a spring in your step! (Yep, I totally went there.) I felt it was definitely time to share something sweet, and if you love cupcakes then you will not be able to resist these light and fluffy treats – zesty and fresh, they promise spring happiness with every bite. Speaking of cake, we are celebrating two rather special family birthdays this month, so keep an eye out for another cake post coming very soon.

Spring is here, let’s enjoy it! With some delicious cupcakes of course.

Lemon and pistachio cupcakes.

Lemon and pistachio cupcakes.



For the cupcakes:

  • 12 cupcake cases
  • ¾ cup castor sugar
  • 60g butter, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 large egg
  • 70g pistachios, shelled
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of fine salt
  • 50ml fresh lemon juice
  • 100ml milk

For the icing:

  • 60g butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • 30g pistachios, shelled 

1.) Preheat your oven to 180°C and place the cupcakes cases in a muffin tray.

2.) Cream the castor sugar and butter together until combined and pale. Add the lemon zest and egg and mix everything together.

3.) Use a food processor to grind the pistachios finely. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the butter mixture. Add the chopped pistachios and mix. Add the lemon juice and milk and mix until just combined.

4.) Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases and pop the tray in the oven. Bake the cupcakes for 15 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.

5.) To make the icing: place the butter in a bowl and beat until soft and pale. Sift in the icing sugar. Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice and mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture comes together. Add enough milk to give the icing a spreading consistency.

6.) Pipe or spread the icing onto the cold cupcakes. Chop the pistachios up finely and sprinkle over the cupcakes.

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