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Also try my lemon blueberry cake!

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

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 or Father’s Day celebration? Parent 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 and citrus 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 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x
  • 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 | Reusable Piping Bags or Disposable Piping 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.

Keywords: lemon blackberry cupcakes

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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Made these today and was not crazy about the texture . The cupcake was almost spongy and heavy? I prefer a light cupcake, or dense and very moist. I noticed the same thing when I made Sally’s funfetti cake.

    I measured everything with my kitchen scale and bake quite often, so I’d like to think it’s not so much of a user error but personal preference. While I appreciate all the work Sally does to give us free recipes, I think I will stick to her other treats / frosting recipes, and source the cake part elsewhere.

  2. Can lemon extract be used in place of the zest and juice? If so how much would be needed? Thanks I’m advance!!

    1. Hi Cornelia, absolutely but there are some other changes required. Though I haven’t tested this, I would replace the lemon juice with milk (use 1/4 cup (60ml)) and leave out the lemon zest. Then add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract when you add the vanilla extract.

  3. Loved the flavor of these cupcakes but I noticed mine were super heavy and dense…any suggestions to make them a little more light and fluffy?

  4. I made Sally’s Very Vanilla cupcakes ( mini cupcakes) and I was very happy. I loved the texture of them. I’m very inexperienced about the cupcakes. I’m always have a problem. Usually I’m complaining that they are dry or too sweet . So when I found Very Vanilla cupcakes I was in heaven. So dreamy! My question is – can I use cake flour in your Lemon Cupcakes instead of all purpose flour? Do I need any other adjustments? I feel that using of cake flour made my vanilla mini cupcakes so fluffy and beautiful

  5. Hi ! I am thinking about using the blackberry cream cheese frosting for a lemon cake rather than cupcakes. Do you think this batch of icing would be enough for layer cakes or should I double it?

    1. Hi Kaylie, this would be enough frosting for a 3 layer, 6 inch cake. For anything larger, you’ll likely want to double it!

  6. Eager to try this, but I was wondering if I can make it in a 9 x13 cake pan instead. Should I double everything? Any idea on baking time? Thanks so much for your awesome recipes!

    1. Hi Karla! For a 9×13 lemon cake, we recommend using the batter from our lemon layer cake (see recipe notes for 9×13 baking instructions). You can use this blackberry cream cheese frosting instead – depending on how much frosting you like you may need to make a larger batch. Enjoy!

      1. Just popped finished cake in the refrigerator. It’s gorgeous, and that is the Best. Frosting. Ever! I ate all of what was left in the bowl. Haven’t done that for decades. Lol
        Thanks again for a wonderful keeper recipe.

  7. I really want to make this recipe but I don’t like cream cheese frosting. Do you have a non cream cheese version?

    1. Hi Emily! We don’t have a recipe for blackberry buttercream without the cream cheese. Curdling is usually an issue from the fresh fruit. If you can find freeze dried blackberries you could use the same method from our strawberry buttercream recipe (or just enjoy strawberry buttercream on these cupcakes!). Let us know what you try 🙂

  8. Made these for my club’s picnic, and they were very popular. The lemon-blackberry combination is very tasty and visually striking, but for me personally the cream cheese flavour wasn’t quite balanced out well enough. I would probably just use buttercream in the future.

    Instead of fresh lemon for garnish, I candied some lemon zest strips using the Joy of Cooking recipe, them curled them around skewers and dried them in the oven at 175°F for an hour.

    I’m very impressed with the consistency of your recipes and the helpfulness of the variation and troubleshooting tips. Can’t wait to try more!

    1. Thank you for your kind note, Rachel, and for making and trusting our recipes!

    2. I agree: the cream cheese took away from the blackberry flavor leaving these tasting like lemon cream cheese cupcakes. And I also agree that the texture was dense like a muffin instead of light like cake. I love the concept and the visual appeal, but tweaks are definitely needed to turn these into bona fide cupcakes that exude the flavors in the title.

  9. Hi, can I make mini cupcakes with this recipe? Anything to adjust? Thank you! Rebecca

    1. Hi Rebecca, absolutely! For around 30 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature.

  10. I’ve been making this recipe for years and it’s one of my favorites on SBA! I tested the frosting with blueberries and it worked! I didn’t even strain them after blending- just put a heaping 1/3 c in the food processor and added it into the frosting until it was a desirable consistency. I personally did not use the entire puréed amount.

  11. Using the cream cheese frosting recipe for a cake. If I cook the blackberry juice down a bit will it still work and give me a thicker frosting?

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