Lemon Cupcakes with Blackberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Also try my lemon blueberry layer cake!

lemon cupcakes with blackberry cream cheese frosting

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!

lemon cupcakes with blackberry cream cheese frosting topped with blackberries on a white serving plate

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.

lemon cupcake batter in a cupcake pan

lemon cupcakes

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.

2 images of pureed blackberries in a food processor and blackberry puree in a mesh sieve

blackberry cream cheese frosting in a glass bowl

(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. ♥ ♥ ♥

lemon cupcakes with blackberry cream cheese frosting

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. ↓

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lemon cupcakes with blackberry cream cheese frosting

Lemon Cupcakes with Blackberry Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 mintues
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


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


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Make the cupcakes: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Frost cooled cupcakes. I used Wilton #12 round tip. Garnish with remaining berries.


  1. 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.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | KitchenAid Hand MixerNinja Master Prep | Glass Mixing BowlsMini Strainer | Cupcake Liners | Cupcake Pan | Frosting Bags | #12 Round Decorating Tip
  3. 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.
  4. Lemons: About 1 and 1/2 Tbsp zest and 1/4 – 1/3 cup lemon juice.
  5. 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.
Creamy, silky, and smooth blackberry cream cheese frosting made from blackberry puree! The BEST spring dessert, bridal shower, baby shower, and wedding cupcakes recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com


  1. OMG…I made these for Mother’s Day and WOW!!! That Blackberry frosting was ridiculously good! After frosting the lemon cupcakes, my son and I literally stood at the mixing. Owl that had the frosting in it and just dipped the left over blackberries in the frosting and ate them….YUM YUM YUM!! These. Cupcakes were insane…seriously so good! I brought them to my neighbors and they all enjoyed them! Thanks for sharing an amazing recipe!

  2. Am I the only one wondering how many eggs??

    1. 2. They’re listed under the sugar.

      1. TOTALLY missed that all 300 times I read through it! THANKS

  3. Ray Gonzalez says:

    Hi Sally.  I am so enjoying your FB live videos. Tonight I made these cupcakes and I am ever so glad I did.   I could eat a bowl of the icing alone.   The lemon cupcake is just the right amount of lemon.  I will be adding these to my list of favorites from your arsenal.  Also keep the videos coming.  

    Ray G. 

    1. Thank you so much for tuning into my Facebook live videos!

  4. Do you have a certain measurement for the lemon juice? What amount would be to much?

    1. See the recipe note– enjoy!

      1. Oh my goodness! I totally overlooked that before I asked the question. I’m so sorry!  I made them last night and didn’t measure but it turned out great!! My husband even said “I’m not a cupcake person but these are great” that’s huge coming from him haha so thank you

  5. Hi Sally, wanted a suggestion can I make a rainbow layer coloured cake with this lemon flavoured cake. Can I use fondant over this 7 layer cake tht I plan to make.

  6. I made these for a baby shower and they were a huge hit! great recipe, thank you!

  7. Tricia Savage says:

    Sally, you are a genius yet again. I can eat the cupcakes without any frosting and the frosting without any cupcakes. Both delicious. Your recipes are always the best. I have been following you for years. The best food blog ever. Please keep the live videos, love it. 

    1. Thank you so much, Tricia!!! For both the kind words and sticking with me for so long 🙂

  8. Oh, Sally! Thank you for never steering us wrong with your wonderful recipes! After years of following, you’re still my top food blogger! Cannot wait to make these tonight!

    1. Thank you so much, Reagan!

  9. Penny Barry says:

    These are delicious! This is the first lemon recipe I’ve every made. Love lemons but love chocolate even more, lol. My husband and I really love the texture of these cupcakes and the lemon flavor. Loved the frosting too. Beautiful cupcake presentation! I will make your lemon cake for my husband’s birthday. Your recipes have never failed me!!!

    1. Penny, so glad you gave them a try and liked them! Are you making the lemon blueberry layer cake? You will LOVE it!

      1. Penny Barry says:

        Yes Sally, I will be making your lemon blueberry cake..I know he will love it! I think he ate 3 of the cupcakes today. Thanks

  10. I made the cupcake part of these for an early Father’s Day dinner on Sunday. As always I ended up with sixteen cupcakes rather than twelve but that seems to be more to do with my pans than Sally’s recipe. Anyway! The cupcakes were amazing! The top had a nice crisp sweetness and the inside was soft and fluffy. I cooked them for slightly under the stated time and tested and they were perfectly done. I filled them with some lemon curd and topped with a nice lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream and some diced strawberry. Next time I would probably fill with Strawberries and top with a lemon cream. But I will definitely give blackberries a try when they come into season here in July.

    1. So happy you liked them! Filling them with lemon curd or strawberries both sound amazing!

  11. Stacey Christopher says:

    Just made the lemon cupcake part of the recipe. I went with a cream cheese frosting, sans the blackberries and added a little lemon juice. I’m in love! This cake recipe is divine!

  12. These lemon cupcakes are the best! Sally I just wanted to thank you so much for all of your amazing recipes. I just delivered 4 dozen cupcakes for my daughter’s prom and I used your recipes exclusively! Everyone is always telling me what a great baker I am, but really, all I do is read your blog, follow your directions to the letter and I get wonderful results every time. I made your chocolate cupcakes, lemon cupcakes and I made cupcakes out of your raspberry chocolate chip cake…I used raspberry frosting, chocolate frosting, vanilla frosting and a combination of raspberry and chocolate frostings. All came out great and looked amazing (largely because of your frosting tips). Thank you so much for doing all of the testing and refining of these recipes so I know just where to go whenever I need to bake something. I truly appreciate it!

    1. And I truly appreciate your comment, thank you so very much for reporting back about these cupcakes and the other recipes you tried. And way to go on baking 4 dozen cupcakes! I’m tired thinking about it 🙂

  13. Hi Sally!
    I just took the cupcakes out of the oven and they smell delicious! I just realized however, when reading through the frosting directions, that you need to strain the blackberry puree with a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds….and unfortunately, I do not have a mesh strainer. Would the frosting work out ok if I left the seeds in?

    1. Sure would! If you don’t mind the seeds 🙂

  14. Ok so I should have asked probably before I made the lemon cupcakes, but I substituted cake flour for all purpose flour. I looked online and read about making the substitution so I ended up with ~ 169 g of sifted cake flour (as opposed to 190 g all purpose flour). Surprise, surprise, I got a super open structure in the cupcake! Are these cupcakes just meant to be made with all purpose flour? Or did I do the substitution incorrectly?

    I also got a bit of a crispy top on some of the cupcakes, so I am thinking I added too much lemon juice (didn’t measure, just squeezed two lemons!).

    I had a few of them sink a bit in the middle too, which I think they may be a bit underbaked but I cracked the cake open and didn’t notice anything massively unedible… and they taste fine. 🙂 Just another minute or two on the bake next time.

    1. I recommend all-purpose– cake flour is too light for this particular recipe. Glad you enjoyed the flavor!

  15. These look amazing. If I make this frosting ahead of time and freeze it, do you think it will pipe with a star tip after defrosting, or is the consistency too thin? Thank you!

    1. You could try that. It may hold its shape better, but I can’t say for sure.

      1. Thanks!

      2. I also want to freeze or refrigerate.. Please let me know how it goes if you try it.

  16. Hello Sally,
    I always bake your recipes and it’s a hit at home and work. My frosting always turn out to melt after a while and it doesn’t stay long over the cupcake. I’ve read online that vegetable shortening helps to keep it stiffer. Can you help me with how much vegetable shortening I’ll have to use for a standard frosting?

    1. I’m not typically a fan of the taste and texture of shortening in my frosting so I’m not the best person to ask, however, you can try subbing half butter for the shortening.

  17. My office mates just devoured these in about 2 seconds flat. Huge hit!

    1. Haha – glad they liked them! Hope they saved one for you 😉

  18. These cupcakes are AWESOME! The flavor combination of the cupcakes and the icing is perfect!

    I was wondering if you have any tips for making a blackberry buttercream frosting, rather than cream cheese frosting. If so, do you think the buttercream frosting will pair as well with these cupcakes as the cream cheese frosting?


    1. Hi Shawn! I’m at a loss as blackberry buttercream, without the cream cheese, never seems to work for me. Curdling is usually an issue from the fresh fruit.

      1. Makes sense! Thanks for getting back to me 🙂

  19. I figured out my issues tonight. My butter was not to quite to room temperature and my baking powder was expired. Thank you for the recipe

  20. Great recipe! Actually, all of your recipes are great! This is one of many that I’ve tried and loved. 

    1. Thank you so much, Ida!

  21. Question. If I wanted to increase the blackberry flavor in the frosting would dry 2 tablespoons of blackberry jello work and not spoil the recipe? 

    1. I’m unsure as I’ve never tried it before. Let me know how it goes!

  22. Paulette Clemmons says:

    I am planning to try this recipe for a kid birthday party. The color scheme is blue and green.  Can I add green gel coloring to the frosting without it changing the taste? 

    1. Not sure how the purple frosting will turn out with green food coloring, but the flavor won’t change at all.

  23. This question might be a little scientific, but why wouldn’t you use baking soda instead of baking powder, since there is an acid (lemon juice) in the batter? I thought baking soda is used in recipes with acid because the two chemically act together for the rise. No?

    1. This amount of lemon juice wouldn’t be enough to react with and neutralize the proper amount of baking soda to give enough lift to the cupcakes. Baking powder is best for this recipe.

  24. Great thank you!

  25. Hello, these look yummy! Wondering how many cupcakes the recipe makes? Thanks!

  26. Oh my gosh! These are to die for! I didn’t have any blackberries so I subbed raspberry preserves. ah mazing!! The lemon cupcake goes perfect with this fantastic cupcake!

  27. Absolutely delicious! I followed the recipe to a T except I didn’t have anything to strain the blackberry puree with, so I left the seeds in the frosting. The cupcakes were perfect, the lemon flavor wasn’t too overwhelming and the frosting complimented it perfectly. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Thanks for the review, Erin! Glad you enjoyed them! 🙂

  28. Hi Sally!

    These are easily my favorite cupcakes to make, and I get rave reviews each time!

    Would you alter the recipe for add-ins? For instance, I would love to have a lemon-raspberry cupcake, or lemon poppyseed, or maybe even putting a filling in the center. What are you recommendations?

    Thank you!

    1. You can certainly use add ins in these without altering the rest of the recipe. Enjoy!

  29. HI Sally,

    Could I make this recipe into a cake? What size would it be?


    1. Hi Angela, The recipe is actually my most popular cake recipe on my blog: lemon blueberry layer cake… only reduced to make cupcakes. So if you want a cake I would suggest following that recipe and using this blackberry frosting! Enjoy!

  30. Hi Sally, can i make the frosting a day in advance and keep in the fridge for frosting the next day? Thanks

    1. Yes, absolutely! If it’s too stiff after refrigeration, beat it again with a little milk or cream to thin out.

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