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Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

I think I’ve found my new favorite cupcake recipe.  These are as close to a perfect texture and taste as any cake or cupcake I’ve ever made.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting done

Someone described them as “bomb-ass”, and I’m not going to argue with them.  I mean, it would be rude.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

We wanted to do a special girls’ night for Casey’s birthday a few weeks ago, and I heard through the grapevine that she was obsessed with some Publix lemon raspberry cake, so the flavor palette for her cake was easy enough.  I was super excited, because usually people want chocolate or something super sweet, so the chance to make a fruity dessert was one I wouldn’t pass up.

lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting lemons

And it’s a good thing these were basically perfect, because they were pretty much the only thing that went right that evening.  The restaurant ended up being a nightmare (45 minutes to order, hour and a half for food to come, took two hours to get a second drink order in), so by the time we left our numbers had dwindled by half and it was already quite late.  Thankfully, three of us persevered and went to our friend’s Midtown high rise for wine and cupcakes and a great rooftop view.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting finished

Right call.  The cupcakes are the most insanely moist, dense crumb you can imagine, packed with super tart lemony flavor that never tips over the line into that weird cloying fake lemon flavor that I hate.  Even without the icing they’re perfection.  But the icing is a work of art itself.  Fluffy buttercream taken to the next level with raspberry jam adding some fruity goodness and tanginess to the frosting’s sugar overload.

In other words, you should make these TODAY.

lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting wet ingredients

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12-count muffin pan with paper liners.

In the large bowl of a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high until creamed, about 1-2 minutes.  Every so often, scrape down the sides to make sure everything is getting mixed in.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on medium-high until they’re combined, around 2 minutes (continuing to scrape down the sides).

lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting batter

lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting lemon zest

lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting batter2

In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt).  Add the lemon zest, and then take turns adding the dry ingredients and the milk and lemon juice to the batter in three additions.  Don’t ask me why, but it helps.

Beat on low speed as you do this and do NOT overmix the batter, just enough to get it barely incorporated.

lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting batter cups

Spoon the batter evenly into 12 cupcake liners (I used a small ice cream scoop).  It made exactly 12.

lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting cupcakes baked

Bake for about 20 minutes (but check at 15 and 18, just to be sure).  You can use a toothpick to test them, but honestly I didn’t need to, it will be pretty clear by looking at them when they’re done.  They should have lovely domes (like the pic above, aren’t they pretty?!) and be slightly spongy to the touch.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting icing pale

As the cupcakes are cooling, whip up the frosting.  Beat the softened butter on medium (2-3 minutes) until it’s completely smooth and creamy, and then add the powdered sugar, cream, vanilla, and salt.  Then increase to high speed for like 30 seconds.

lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting icing pink

Add the raspberry jam and beat for another minute, until thick and creamy.  Mine was perfect, but if your frosting is too thin for some reason you can add more powdered sugar.  Make sure to taste it and see if it’s the right level of sweet and tart—if it’s too sweet you can add a touch more salt to offset.

 

lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting frosted

lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting 2

Frost the cooled cupcakes however you want.  I encourage you to get all fancy, but mine is just kind of slapped on there messily.  You can go the extra mile and add raspberries or a tiny little piece of lemon slice for garnish.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting closeup

These are fine at room temperature for a day or two (in an airtight container, of course), but I recommend refrigerating if it will be more than that or if it’s summer and room temperature is stupid warm.  If you do end up having tons of frosting leftover, it’ll keep in the fridge for a week or two, and just set it out on the counter to soften for like 30 minutes before using.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

I’m not often one for exactly measuring, but I will say that if you have a kitchen scale, measuring the flour, butter, and sugar by weight will probably turn out a slightly better cupcake

Lemon Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup (115g) of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) of granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature preferred
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (190g) of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) of milk
  • Zest + fresh juice of two medium lemons
  • Optional:  1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract

Raspberry Frosting

Honestly this makes like double the amount of frosting you need, so I’d maybe halve the frosting unless you have other uses for it

  • 3/4 cups (170g) of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups (420g) of confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) of heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup (165g) of thick raspberry preserves or jam
  • Optional: fresh raspberries and lemon slices for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line a 12-count muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In the large bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high until creamed (1-2 minutes). Scrape down the sides as you go, to make sure everything is incorporated.  Then add the eggs and vanilla.  Beat on medium-high until they’re combined as well, around 2 minutes, and continue to scrape down the sides
  3. In a separate medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then slowly take turns adding the dry ingredients and the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the batter in three additions.  Beat on low speed as you do this and do NOT overmix the batter, just enough to get it barely incorporated.
  4. Spoon the batter evenly into 12 cupcake liners (I used a small ice cream scoop).  Bake for about 20 minutes (but check at 15 and 18, just to be sure).  You can use a toothpick to test them, but it will be pretty clear by looking at them when they’re done—they’ll have lovely domes and be slightly spongy to the touch.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  5. For the frosting, beat the softened butter on medium 2-3 minutes until completely smooth and creamy, then add the powdered sugar, cream, vanilla, and salt.  Increase to high speed and beat for 1 minute.  Add the raspberry jam and beat for another minute or two, until thick and creamy.  If your frosting is too thin or is having trouble with the jam you can add more powdered sugar, but mine was perfect.  Taste it, because if it’s too sweet you can add a touch more salt to offset.
  6. Frost the cooled cupcakes however you want (mine are…messy), and top with whatever garnish floats your boat.  These store great at room temperature for a day or two, but recommend refrigerating if it will be more than that (or if it’s summer and room temperature is terrible).
  7. If you do end up having tons of frosting leftover, it’ll keep in the fridge for a week or two, and just set it out on the counter to soften for like 30 minutes before using.

Original recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

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