Light and moist lemon cupcakes topped with an easy raspberry buttercream frosting. These Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream Frosting are absolutely delicious!
I think cupcakes have to be one of my favorite things to create and photograph for this blog. Sadly, it’s been over 5 months since the last time I posted a cupcake recipe. I guess other things — like these brownie bites and no-bake cheesecakes — have been on my mind lately.
But today I’m changing that with these cupcakes. The idea for these lemon cupcakes came from my Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Squares, which happen to be one of the most popular recipes (and one of my favorite recipes) on the blog.
I love lemon desserts and I know a lot of you do too, but they’re even better when paired with berries! So, I decided to make these lemon cupcakes and top them with a delicious and easy raspberry buttercream frosting.
Ingredients for This Recipe
These lemon raspberry cupcakes use primarily pantry staples, plus a few special ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to make the cupcakes and raspberry frosting:
- All-purpose flour: Measure your flour correctly with the spoon and level method. In other words, stir the flour around, spoon it into the measuring cup, then level the top off with the back of a knife.
- Baking powder: Gives the cupcakes a little lift in the oven.
- Salt: Balances out the flavors in the cupcake batter.
- Unsalted butter: I recommend using unsalted butter since the amount of salt in salted butters can vary between different brands. If using salted butter, reduce the salt by 1/4 teaspoon per stick of butter in the recipe.
- Granulated sugar: Sweetens the cupcakes.
- Eggs: Should be room temperature before mixing into the batter.
- Vanilla extract: Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Lemon juice and zest: The lemon juice and lemon zest in this recipe add a beautiful light lemon flavor. It’s not too overpowering, but you can definitely taste the lemon in these cupcakes.
- Milk: I recommend using whole milk in this recipe. 2% should work as well, but avoid fat-free milk.
- Sour cream: The first time I tested these cupcakes I tried using just sour cream with the lemon juice, but they were a little too dense. So I adjusted the recipe by reducing the sour cream and adding some milk to make them soft and light, which worked perfectly.
- Powdered sugar: This is used to sweeten and thicken the frosting.
- Heavy cream: Just a splash is needed to loosen up the frosting.
- Raspberry preserves: Both raspberry preserves and raspberry jam will work in this recipe.
How to Make Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting
The flour is mixed together with a little baking powder and salt. Simple so far, right? For the wet ingredients, you’ll start out with some butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Once everything is mixed together you’ll mix in some lemon juice, lemon zest, milk, and sour cream.
Divide the batter between cupcake liners and bake until done. Don’t overfill your cupcake liners. This recipe will make 15 to 16 cupcakes, I always end up with exactly 15 cupcakes when I make these. Filling the cupcake liners too full will cause them to overflow and you’ll end up with muffin tops.
Let the lemon cupcakes cool completely before making the frosting and topping the cupcakes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Fresh Raspberries in the Frosting?
I’ve tried fresh berries in frosting and it tends to curdle, which isn’t so pretty. I really wanted to try out freeze-dried raspberries in this frosting, but I could not find them ANYWHERE.
After almost ordering a pack online, I decided if I couldn’t find them that easily then there’s a good chance a lot of you wouldn’t be able to either. So, I stuck with using raspberry preserves in the frosting.
Can I Make a Layered Cake with This Recipe?
Yes, if you double the cupcake batter and multiply the frosting recipe by 1.5. This will be enough for a two-layer cake.
How Do You Store Them?
You may store these cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- One of the most important tips I can give when making cupcakes from scratch is to measure your flour correctly. You want to avoid using the measuring cup to scoop the flour out of the container because you can end up with too much in your recipe. Measuring your flour correctly is crucial to making soft, light, delicious cupcakes. I explain how to spoon and level flour in more detail in this post.
- For the best texture and flavor, always use full-fat ingredients. They do make a difference!
- The frosting recipe will make enough to give these cupcakes a nice frosting just like the pictures. If you prefer less frosting, feel free to cut it in half.
More Easy Cupcake Recipes to Try!
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
- Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Vanilla Cupcakes
- Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes
Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream
For the lemon cupcakes:
- 1 and 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter , softened
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (about 2 medium lemons)
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) sour cream
For the raspberry buttercream:
- 1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter , softened
- 3 and 1/2 cups (420 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup raspberry preserves (or jam)
- tiny pinch of salt
To make the lemon cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two muffin pans with 15 cupcake liners and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in each egg one at a time, then the vanilla extract, making sure to mix well after each ingredient. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest, mix until well combined, then mix in the milk and sour cream until fully combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined, making sure not to overmix the batter. Use a rubber spatula or spoon to turn the batter and make sure everything is well combined.
- Evenly distribute the batter between all 15 cupcake liners, making sure to only fill them a little over halfway full. Bake in batches at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly touched.
- Remove from the oven, then carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To make the raspberry buttercream:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract until well combined. Add in the raspberry preserves (or jam) and salt and continue mixing until fully combined.
- Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired.