Lemon Cupcakes

It’s time for a book review and Cook the Books Club post!  This month’s pick is a novel and….hold the presses...I enjoyed it!

I always feel like such a Debby Downer when I’m dumping on a book that someone else picked that I don’t like, so I’m ecstatic when I do like one (or in this case, two in a row!)

I do have to confess that this was a hard read for me, personally.  I very nearly gave a 3 star review instead of 4, but then realized that it was my own personal experience coloring that decision and went with 4.  Much of the story focuses on the main character, Libby’s, struggle with miscarriage, plus there are a couple pregnant characters throughout the story.  These topics are always very sensitive for me, since my 3rd pregnancy ended in a stillbirth.  Though it was 7 years ago, stories like these still gut me.  However, I’m glad I preserved, because the rest of the story was well done and enjoyable as stories from the past and “present” slowly came together in a predictable but entertaining way.

Honeysuckle SeasonHoneysuckle Season by Mary Ellen Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First off, every character in this book was very tragic. Was there a single character that wasn't affected by miscarriage or the death of a spouse? Wowsa.

Despite all the tragedy, I really enjoyed the sense of mystery as the story flipped from the 1940s to the 2020s. Part of the story were rather predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless. View all my reviews

So let’s talk food inspiration!  There was quite a bit of food mentioned, but I was so into the story, I kinda failed to write anything down.  Since part of the story takes place in the 1940’s, I was thinking about researching WWII era ration recipes (always an adventure), when to my delight, I saw that 4 recipes were included at the conclusion of the story!

At one point in the story, Libby’s best friend, Sierra, makes 7 lemons cakes (she’s testing them for her cafĂ©), and lemon cake was one of the recipes included in the end of the book.

Here’s the thing though...I already have a great lemon cake recipe that I love.

However, I posted the original recipe on my second blog, and when I went back to work after being an at home mom a couple years ago, I got to be too much to keep up two blogs, so I’ve slowly been migrating my favorite recipes over here.  This book offered the perfect time to share my lemon cupcake recipe and two decorating ideas!  The bees and flowers are perfect for the story (a large part of the story centers around a greenhouse), while the Minions are just plain fun!

 Lemon Cupcakes

1 (15 oz) box yellow cake mix
1 (3.9 oz) lemon instant pudding
4 eggs
8 oz sour cream
3/4 cup canola oil
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp lemon extract
Zest from 1 lemon
½ cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin tins with paper liners.

Mix all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth.  Divide the batter evenly between the liners and bake for 25-28 minutes.  Cool completely before frosting.

Note: to make cakes instead, spray two 8-inch round pans lightly with non stick spray.  Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes in pans.  Then invert onto wire racks and cool completely before frosting.

Makes 24-28 cupcakes


  1. What great looking cupcakes! What are the bees made out of? SO cute.

  2. Lemon cupcakes look delicious and cute!


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