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Mini Sweet Lemon Cakes

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Perfectly light and refreshing Mini Sweet Lemon Cakes – This small batch recipe makes 5 mini cakes that are moist, sweet, and highlighted with fresh lemon. Top the cakes with your favorite frosting, or a light and airy Marshmallow Meringue!

Single mini lemon cake with whipped frosting

Lemon Mini Cakes

There is just something about a lemon dessert that makes me smile.  I’m sure some psychology behind the bright yellow color evokes happiness (i.e. sunshine), and cheer (i.e. smile emoji).  But, the reason may be too deep of a subject for this baking blog! 🙂  

Needless to say, with so many lemons around, I don’t want to just make lemonade.  (Pause for hysterical laughter).  Mini Cakes are the perfect vehicle to deliver the bright citrus flavor in a dessert.  There is something about the tart lemon pairing with the sweetness of the cake that makes for a delightful little bite.  And one that will keep you coming back for more!

Small Batch Cake

Wait – these are already mini cakes – and they are a small batch too?  Of course.  This recipe can technically make a single-layer 6-inch cake if you would prefer.  But, during quarantine time, portion control is necessary for this house, so I opted for mini cakes.  With a rule that there is only 1 allowed per day.  Funny how nobody followed my rule.  

Baking Mini Lemon Cakes in a brownie pan

Is it still a cake if it is made in a brownie pan?  Yes.  But one could also argue that it is also a cupcake.  So, what is the difference?  Nothing.  It is all purely aesthetic, and who doesn’t love a cute little frosted mini cake?!

Two frosted lemon cakes

Keeping cakes moist

Every baker likely has tips and tricks for keeping cakes moist.  My trick is fat – i.e. the butter, milk, and sour cream

  • The butter is key, and using real butter is always best.  Both for flavor and texture. 
  • I like to add sour cream because of the fat content and acidity.  The acids in the cream tenderize the gluten in the flour for, you guessed it, a tender cake.
  • Milk brings in more fat and moisture and keeps the cake soft.
Tray of sweet lemon cakes
Frosted lemon cakes on a cake stand
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5 from 1 review

Mini Sweet Lemon Cakes

Yield: 5 Servings
Perfectly light and refreshing Mini Sweet Lemon Cakes – This recipe makes 5 mini cakes that are moist, sweet, and highlighted with fresh lemon. Top the cakes with your favorite frosting, or a light and airy Marshmallow Meringue!
Prep10 minutes
Cook15 minutes
Total25 minutes


  • Square Brownie Bar Pan (or) Muffin/Cupcake Pan


  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup milk, room temperature (any kind)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons full fat sour cream, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon


  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Lightly grease and flour 5 cups of the brownie pan or muffin pan. Cut 1-inch strips of parchment paper – long enough to overhang the cups – and place in the middle of the cups.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
    ¾ cup all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt
  • In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the milk then add the egg, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix until smooth and combined.
    ¼ cup milk, room temperature, 1 large egg, room temperature, 2 tablespoons full fat sour cream, room temperature, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • In a medium mixing bowl, add the butter and sugar. Use a hand held mixer on medium speed to beat together until creamy. Add the remaining mixed wet ingredients and continue to beat on medium-low speed until combined and smooth.
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet and beat on low speed until just combined and no dry streaks remain.
  • Pour the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan cups. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
  • Cool the cakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then gently lift out of the cups using the parchment paper strips. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting and serving.
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  • Serving Size – This is a small batch recipe.  Doubling the ingredients to make a larger batch should work.
  • Yield – As written, the recipe will yield 5 mini cakes, cupcakes, or a single layer 6-inch cake.
  • Storage – Unfrosted mini cakes can be stored covered at room temperature for  up to 3 days.  Or, wrap the cakes individually in plastic wrap, place in a freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator, then bring to room temp to frost and serve.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich


Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 181mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 524IU | Vitamin C: 0.04mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information is calculated by a third-party and should only be considered an estimate and not a guarantee.
Three mini lemon cakes in a row
Headshot photo of Erin Cernich

about the author ...

I'm Erin and I'm all about desserts - and a little bit of butter!

I've tested, written, and photographed hundreds of recipes on my website. Here you'll find the tastiest small batch desserts - all homemade, all simple, and all for you! Click here to learn more about me!

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