Also try my lemon blueberry layer cake!
I had a major case of the blahs earlier this week. I caught a cold from all the travel/hustle bustle. But, thankfully, I’m feeling much better as the week progresses. For my Instagram friends who suggested drinking hot water + 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar + 1 Tbsp lemon juice + 1 Tbsp honey, thank you! I added a little cinnamon and sipping it a couple times really helped me get over this bug. We’re dubbing that warm concoction the cold-fixer-elixer. Try it next time you’re down!
Now let’s focus on better, brighter, happier items!
We have lemon cupcakes with blackberry cream cheese frosting on today’s menu. These cupcakes are all sorts of flavorful with a giant dose of naturally colored (yay!) and naturally flavored (yay again!) blackberry frosting. They’re your dessert answer for everything coming up:
- Literally any springtime celebration = these cupcakes.
- Lilac/lavendar wedding color scheme? Done.
- Bridal shower? Obviously.
- Baby shower? This is your dessert, totally gender neutral.
- Mother’s Day celebration? Mom approved.
- No reason at all? Do you even need a reason to make cupcakes?
In terms of flavors, they remind me of my lemon berry yogurt cake.
This is my basic lemon cupcake recipe. They’re soft and fluffy with bright and sunny lemon flavor. I published the recipe 4 years ago and they’ve never steered us wrong! The recipe is actually my most popular cake recipe on my blog: lemon blueberry cake… only reduced to make cupcakes. So if you’ve tried the lemon blueberry layer cake recipe, you know the cupcake version is a winner too.
There’s nothing crazy or fancy about the batter. Simply creamed butter + sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, milk, and lemon. The usual gang! The batter is creamy, silky, and has the most unbelievable fresh lemon fragrance. You’ll fall in love even before you steal the first taste.
Remember to only fill your cupcake liners 2/3 full– just like you see above.
Grab fresh blackberries, puree them in a food processor (I use my little ninja!), then push through a fine mesh strainer to rid the seeds. You’re left with thick and seedless blackberry juice, which will go directly into the frosting. I suppose a blackberry jam works just as well, though the flavor may not be as potent.
(Don’t you just want to swipe a taste with your finger???)
I don’t suggest doing this method with any other berry– though raspberries *should* be fine. Strawberries and blueberries produce a juice that’s much too thin for cream cheese frosting. You know what to do instead? Freeze-dried berries. You know I swear by freeze-dried strawberries in frosting.
#1 Issue with Cream Cheese Frosting
This is a cream cheese frosting variation so make sure you’re using block cream cheese, not cream cheese spread. That’s the #1 issue readers face when making cream cheese frosting. You want the actual block of cream cheese, sold right next to the tubs of cream cheese spread.
The blackberry flavor in this frosting is mild, but you’ll know it’s there. The blackberry cream cheese frosting is a little thinner than we’re used to because of the added juice, but I was still able to pipe it with my #12 round tip. I actually loved how light it was, especially paired with an equally light lemon cupcake. The frosting is also super soft and just as creamy as you see in the photo above. ♥ ♥ ♥
This is, without a doubt, my new favorite cream cheese frosting. I’m already planning on using it to fill a sponge cake roll and urge you to try that too! Also, doesn’t looking at the purple color instantly put you in a better mood? Experience it all ASAP. ↓Print
These lemon cupcakes are soft, fluffy, and exploding with lemon flavor. Topped with fresh blackberry cream cheese frosting for the ultimate treat!
- 1 and 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120ml) milk*
- zest + fresh juice of two medium lemons*
Blackberry Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup fresh blackberries, divided*
- 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- Make the cupcakes: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs and vanilla, then beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the milk, lemon juice, and zest until combined. Do not overmix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick.
- Pour/spoon the batter into the liners – fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 30 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
- Make the frosting: Puree 1/2 cup – 2/3 cup blackberries in a small food processor. Push through a fine mesh strainer to rid the seeds. You’ll have a couple Tablespoons of puree.
- In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, blackberry puree, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes.
- Frost cooled cupcakes. I used Wilton #12 round tip. Garnish with remaining berries.
- Make Ahead Instructions: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Plain cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Ninja Master Prep | Glass Mixing Bowls | Mini Strainer | Cupcake Liners | Cupcake Pan | Frosting Bags | #12 Round Decorating Tip
- Milk: I suggest whole milk or buttermilk. Any milk is fine, but you’ll get the most wonderful moist, soft, and rich texture with either of those 2.
- Lemons: About 1 and 1/2 Tbsp zest and 1/4 – 1/3 cup lemon juice.
- Blackberries: I don’t suggest using frozen blackberries, nor do I suggest any other berry. Raspberries *might* work, but strawberry and blueberry puree will be much too thin. Instead, use freeze-dried strawberries or blueberries like we do in this frosting.