Lemon Cupcakes

by Jamie on May 12, 2010

Post image for Lemon Cupcakes

Brian often does our mid-week grocery shopping, I typically include a detailed list and even accompany that list with visual aids (photos) on occasion. You see, I am a self-proclaimed control freak and he is a chronic over buyer…especially when the shopping list includes meat. So, if I am not specific, he will come home with 10 pounds of beef in tow and virtually nothing else besides maybe a bag of beef jerky and a 12 pack of Coke. Okay, I am being a little dramatic here, but not by much! Serious question though…does meat over buying run prevalent in males? I think it does.

Long story short, he went to the store last week ill-equipped to shop…i.e., no Jamie created list. I asked for limes and ended up with a giant bag of lemons. Hey, beggars can’t be choosers right, at least he does some grocery shopping. So I bit my tongue and changed up my lime cupcake baking plan, simply subbing in lemons for the limes.

I used my go to white cake recipe from Dorie Greenspan and simply adapted it to up the lemon factor. I then slathered on lemon cream cheese frosting and topped with a large yellow sprinkle and called it a night. The result? Not only do these look adorable, but they are now my new favorite cupcake, they’re moist with an incredible crumb and bursting with lemon flavor. I am betting my original plan for lime cupcakes would be equally as delicious. If you make a lime version, definitely stop back and let me know how it goes! Maybe I’ll just have to send Brian back to the store, but this time I’ll text him a pic of a lime. Thanks so much for stopping by…have a great day!

Looking for more luscious lemon recipes? Give these a look-see:
Lip Smacking Lemon Bars from My Baking Addiction
Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookies from My Baking Addiction
Lemon Buttermilk & Rhubarb Cake from Honey & Jam
Roasted Lemon Chicken Wings from Three Many Cooks

Are you swooning over the  fab yellow liners and giant sprinkles pictured? Check out Bake it Pretty to order!

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Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

May 12th, 2010

Yield: 24 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
lemon zest from two lemons
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 (8) ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
juice of one lemon

Directions:

For the Cake

1. Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcake tins by using liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

3. Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.

4. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.

5. Beat in the extracts, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.

6. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.

7. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Place the batter into the cupcake tins.

8. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Cool on wire rack.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

1. Using a mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese together until well combined.
2. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated.

3. Finally mix in vanilla and lemon juice.


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{ 237 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Sarah September 5, 2012 at 12:51 am

Hello. These look delicious and they ARE!!! I just made them today and followed the instructions to the T however the frosting did not come out all fluffy like that…the frosting tasted DELICIOUS but just sort of melted and ran. not sure how to make it all fluffy…please help :D

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avatar Jamie September 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Sarah-
Hi! I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed the cupcakes. Since it’s so hot out, I’d recommend refrigerating the frosting for about an hour after mixing it. Then give it another quick beat with an electric mixer before piping it on. You’ll also definitely want to store the finished cupcakes within the refrigerator. Just remove them to room temp about an hour before serving. I hope this helps. Have a great day and thanks so much for stopping back with your feedback.
-Jamie

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avatar Felicia September 11, 2012 at 5:21 pm

These are such a hit at my house! My brother asked me to make the cupcakes for his wedding so I searched some lemon cupcake recipes and this was his favorite. Come next Friday hundreds of people will be enjoying them. Thanks a bunch =]

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avatar Jamie September 11, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Felicia-
I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the cupcakes! Best of luck to you with the wedding prep! Thanks so much for stopping back and letting me know how the recipes worked for you. Have a great night.
-Jamie

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avatar Marissa September 15, 2012 at 2:55 pm

at first i wasn’t sure if lemon was going to taste that great in a cupcake, from my past experience they dont. but when i made these they were delicious!!!! the perfect recipe for a perfect cupckae. thanks for the recipe!!!

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avatar Jamie September 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Marissa-
I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the cupcakes! Thanks so much for giving us your feedback. Have a great day.
-Jamie

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avatar kim cormier September 15, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Just made these and they are so light and fluffy and taste soooo lemony! YUMM

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avatar Jamie September 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Kim-
I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the cupcakes! Thanks so much for giving us your feedback. Have a great day.
-Jamie

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avatar Portrait Photography September 20, 2012 at 9:57 am

Perfect!! We are hosting a bachelorette boudoir photography session in October and I am going to make these for the ladies shooting with us as a special treat :) The bride-to-be is incorporating lemons into her wedding scheme since they were engaged in Venice, Italy and she drank a limoncello the night of her engagement. These sound so yummy and I can’t wait to try them out!!

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avatar Lindsay September 20, 2012 at 10:35 am

I made these for my mother-in-laws birthday and they were delicious! I topped them with a raspberry and everyone raved about them. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

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avatar Lisa Cornely October 5, 2012 at 10:23 pm

I baked these tonight. I used lemon buttercream frosting, which is just basic buttercream with lemon zest and lemon juice. It was delicious. The cupcake was light and had a wonderful crumb. They were amazing. Thanks for another delicious recipe. I would love to try the lime version.

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avatar Jamie October 8, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Lisa-
I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe – thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback. Have a great day.
-Jamie

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avatar brittany November 21, 2012 at 8:24 pm

i had to add a extra pound of confectioners sugar to get it stiff enough to stay in place

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avatar Jenn December 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm

This is my favorite lemon cupcake recipe! Everyone loves it! I have made them in the past and I made them today for my boss’ birthday and they were much appreciated, and my husband likes them as well! I will def try a lime version in the near future!

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avatar Falula December 16, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Anyone notice the 2 LBS confectioners sugar? Misprint? or is the frosting just supposed to be craaaaazy sweet

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avatar MBA December 26, 2012 at 9:46 am

Falula-
The recipe does call for 2 LBS of comfectioners sugar. The powder suagr allows for the forsting to take its shape. Good luck and have a great day!
-Jamie

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avatar carrie December 21, 2012 at 11:00 am

I only need 12 cupcakes. Has anyone tried to half the recipe and had it come out good still?

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avatar MBA December 26, 2012 at 9:23 am

Carrie-
The recipe should be fine if you cut it in half. Just make sure all ingredient amounts are cut in half and you shouldn’t have any problems. Good luck and have a great day!
-Jamie

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avatar Tara January 3, 2013 at 6:15 pm

This recipe is DELICIOUS!! Thank you! The only trouble I had was the my butter would not beat up light with the sugar-lemon mixture, but it still turned out great. Next time, I will beat up butter first, then mix in the sugar-lemon mixture. I also used regular milk so that I didn’t have to buy buttermilk – I figured the lemon would give it enough tart flavor, and it worked beautifully.

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avatar MBA January 4, 2013 at 9:15 am

Tara-
I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe. I would definitely suggest allowing your butter to get to room temperature and beat it before adding any of the other ingredients. This should take care of any problems you may have had. Thanks for stopping by and providing your feedback- have a great day!
-Jamie

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avatar Scarlet of Family Focus Blog January 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm

I just baked these. Great recipe. I cut the frosting recipe in half though because I like to go light on the icing and it worked just fine.

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avatar Taylor February 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Do you have to use the lemon zest or can you do without?

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avatar MBA April 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Taylor-
I add the lemon zest to enhance that lemon flavor; however, you do not have add it. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!
-Jamie

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avatar Amanda February 27, 2013 at 5:41 pm

These look amazing!!! Do you use unsalted butter for the frosting too? Thanks!

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avatar MBA April 11, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Amanda-
Yes, the frosting contains unsalted bitter. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!
-Jamie

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avatar shauna March 2, 2013 at 4:52 pm

What icing tip did you use?

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avatar MBA April 11, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Shauna-
I used the large round tip for these cupcakes. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!
-Jamie

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avatar Linda March 6, 2013 at 2:13 am

I just tried this recipe. it came out too runny. i added extra lemon juice.. :( i guess i shouldn’t have. is there still any way to save the frosting?

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avatar MBA April 11, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Linda-
I am sorry to hear that! You can try to add some extra confectioner’s sugar but this may make the frosting too sweet. If I were you, I would start over. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!
-Jamie

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avatar Agtq5 March 7, 2013 at 9:42 pm

I made these cupcakes for the first time and they came out great! moist and lemony. I did notice that after they cooled they became slightly contracted and lost their dome shape. I did let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes then transferred them to a cooling rack. I’ve never used cake flour before, does this always happen with cake flour?

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avatar MBA April 11, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Hello-
Typically, when the cupcakes cool they will lose their dome shape slightly. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!
-Jamie

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avatar Demetra March 26, 2013 at 9:37 am

Question – do you use a stand mixer or a handheld mixer for this? I used my stand mixer with the paddle attachment and my cupcakes didn’t rise. I’m wondering if they were overmixed. They tasted delicious though!

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avatar AngieAng March 26, 2013 at 10:57 pm

I was looking for a lemon recipe made with butter milk and came across your recipe. I just got finished making them. They turned out light, moist, and fluffy. My only thing, as a lemon dessert lover, is it wasn’t lemony enough. Next go round I’ll add more lemon flavor/juice to the batter. I also only used 4 1/2 cups of confectioner sugar and added the lemon juice to taste. That made the cupcakes POP with flavor. Thanks for this recipe! I’ve shared it with family and friends. :-) oh I have a lil OCD so I add yellow food coloring to make them pop withcolor.

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avatar Becca March 30, 2013 at 2:15 am

I just made these cupcakes……they are just incredible! The cake is super lemony goodness with a superb texture…soft, airy and perfectly light to carry that wonderful lemon flavor….Oh my…everyone thoroughly enjoyed them at my daughter’s “bumble bee” themed baby shower. I will treasure this recipe always….thank you for sharing :)

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avatar MK March 31, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Hi… These cupcakes are amazing but can you clarify one thing for the frosting is it 2 x 8oz of cream cheese (so 1lb in total) or is it 8oz in total? Thanks

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avatar MBA April 11, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Hello-
I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe. The frosting does call for two 8oz bricks of cream cheese, so you are correct. Have a great day!
-Jamie

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avatar Rachael April 26, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Have made these twice now, once for a baby shower and tonite ‘just cuz’! They are divine! It’s the first time I’ve ever used cake flour in all the cake recipes I’ve made, and what a difference! So light and fluffy… And of course lemon cream cheese frosting is the ‘icing on the cake’! Yum!

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avatar Angelina May 18, 2013 at 8:03 pm

I love, love baking cupcakes and baking lemon cupcakes and today I’ll try it with some lemon curd filling, strawberry-lemon-vanilla Italian meringue frosting and I’m going to dye the colors different shades of yellow so I can make ombre cupcakes!

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avatar Jamie May 22, 2013 at 11:40 am

Angelina-
Oooooh ombre cupcakes – you’re a genius. I’d love to see pics when you make them.
-Jamie

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avatar Megan May 29, 2013 at 10:03 am

Hi! Will these work with all-purpose flour, too? :) :) They look fabulous!!!

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avatar Jamie September 13, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Hi Megan,
Yes, they’ll work with AP, they just might not be as tender, since it has a higher protein content.
- Jamie

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avatar Lori July 4, 2013 at 3:24 pm

These cupcakes were awesome! My hubby loves lemon, so I made them for his birthday. The only thing I didn’t do was beat the batter for two minutes at the end–I’ve made tons of white cakes and the recipes always caution not to over-beat the batter. The cupcakes baked perfectly–they were so incredibly moist! Also, as for the frosting, I added lemon juice, but it didn’t give it enough of a lemon kick, so I added in about 1.5 teaspoons of lemon extract. I also had about half of the frosting left over after generously frosting the cupcakes, so next time, I will halve the recipe. Thanks for sharing!

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avatar Jamie August 13, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Lori,

I’m so happy that you enjoyed the cupcakes and thank you for sharing your experience with the recipe! Have an amazing day and thank you for following MBA!

Jamie

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avatar Kelle July 4, 2013 at 4:33 pm

If I don’t have the lemon extract, can I just use 1/2 tsp of fresh lemon juice?

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avatar Jamie September 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Hi Kelle,
I wouldn’t suggest that. Lemon extract is a concentrated lemon flavor. You wouldn’t taste lemon juice at all in the final product. You’d have better luck replacing the lemon extract with the zest of an entire lemon.
- Jamie

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avatar fofo July 5, 2013 at 2:55 pm

ive gained two pounds from this website its so addicting and every recipe turns out perfect !!!!!!!!

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avatar Jamie August 13, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Thank you! I’m so happy that you enjoy the recipes. Have an awesome day and thank you for following MBA!

Jamie

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avatar Iris K October 7, 2013 at 6:00 am

To be honest, I’m not much of a sweet tooth person because the rich flavouring can be a little too much for me. I prefer my savouries, but this sounds amazing with the cream cheese frosting. Over the summer holidays I’ve decided to get into the kitchen more and your blog provides some great recipes that I’ll be experimenting with.

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avatar Jamie October 7, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Iris-
Thanks so much for stopping by – I’m glad I could offer you a little inspiration! Have a great day.
-Jamie

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avatar Christen January 6, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Between Thanksgiving, Christmas and my husband’s birthday (tomorrow), I have used quite a few of your recipies with amazing results. I will be making these for my hubby who isn’t into super sweet desserts and hates chocolate! (really, who hates chocolate?). If it turns out as amazing as it looks, I may have found his permanant birthday (cup) cake recipie!

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avatar Jamie January 7, 2014 at 10:47 am

Christen-

Thank you so much! I agree with you…who hates chocolate?! Please stop back and let us know what he thought and your experience with the recipe. Have a great day!

-Jamie

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avatar Alison January 14, 2014 at 11:20 am

These are my go-to lemon cupcakes, and are always such a hit when I make them. I usually add a raspberry filling to the middle, and the cake itself holds up well to the addition of a filling. I recently used this as a base for a key lime cupcake, and they turned out phenomenal! In place of the lemon extract, I used additional zest from the limes, and while the concentrated lime flavor isn’t as strong as it is when making the lemon cake and using the lemon extract, it is still noticeable but not overpowering. Thank you so much, I always have a blast recreating your recipes!

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avatar Jamie January 14, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Alison-
I am so happy to hear how much you enjoy the cupcakes! And your lime version sounds AMAZING!!!!!
-Jamie

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avatar Desiree January 19, 2014 at 9:20 pm

I was wondering if this would work as a cake rather than a cupcake? I’ve made this recipe as a cupcake and it was delicious but was thinking I would like it make it as a cake instead. Thoughts?

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avatar Jamie February 15, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Desiree-
Sure – the recipe originated from Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake. I hope this helps.
-Jamie

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avatar David January 25, 2014 at 6:51 pm

The cupcakes ended up having a very hard time baking despite waiting for the butter mixture to cool. My batch ended up having a crusty top and a semi baked middle.

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avatar Dani February 15, 2014 at 1:40 am

Hi Jamie,

I’ve been looking for a light and moist lemon cupcake recipe for the last week and came across this one through Google or Pinterest. I’m excited to try this recipe out I have a friend asking for a lemon cake with blackberry frosting, so I’m going to try this one out also.

However I have two questions. One, do I have to use cake flour and two is real lemon juice okay instead of lemon flavor? I have a few large Meyer lemons I was going to use in the cake. I just don’t want to change the texture or mess up the flavor of the cake.

Thanks a bunch for sharing,
Dani

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avatar Jamie February 15, 2014 at 11:48 am

Dani-
Unfortunately, I am unable to answer this question for you. I have never attempted the recipe using another type of flour. Cake flower typically yields a more delicately textured cake, so I think another flour would alter the texture quite a bit.
-Jamie

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avatar Dani February 19, 2014 at 12:06 am

Thanks for the info. I got the cake flour and made the cake with real lemon juice! The lemons weren’t very strong so I had to make a lemon syrup to brush over the top of the cupcakes. Frosted half them with lemon cream cheese and the other half with blackberry cream cheese. Either way they were super moist and yummy. Everyone one who tasted them loved them and asked for more. I’m so making these weekend for my friends birthday.

Thanks again for sharing and for the tip!

Dani

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avatar Dani February 19, 2014 at 12:07 am

I’m so making these this weekend for my friends birthday.**

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avatar Kathryn March 5, 2014 at 6:28 pm

I just made these! They are amazing! I’ve never mixed the sugar with the rinds like that. It was perfect!

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avatar isabelle alen March 26, 2014 at 4:51 pm

i hope the cupcakes are so delish. I will comment back when i eat them

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