A light and fluffy lemon cupcake topped with a swirl of creamy mixed berry buttercream! Perfect for summer get togethers!
I don’t know about you but I was never much of a lemon dessert person. Then for some odd reason as of late, I’m like more lemon please! The more lemon, the better. And summer and lemon just go together don’t you think? I went with a tried and true vanilla cupcake recipe and turned them into a lemon cupcake with some lemon zest. I used only the lemon zest this time. Next time however, I think I am going to up the “lemony-ness” and add in some juice as well.
And sure anything is a word if you add “ness” to the end of it right?
Mm, maybe not. Ok moving on…to the cupcakes!
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Baking Tools You Need To Make These Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes:
- Cupcake Pans – My favorite cupcake pans are these ones from Wilton and these ones from Chicago Metallic.
- Large Piping Tips – To get those professional looking cupcakes you need large cupcake tips. You could get a set like this one, or individual cupcake tips from Ateco (which are the ones I own).
- Greaseproof Cupcake Liners– I love the greaseproof ones so they still look nice after baking.
- Piping bags – You can use reusable piping bags or disposable piping bags (which is my preference). I prefer to use the 18-inch bags so I do not have to refill as often!
This cupcake starts with whisking your dry ingredients- cake flour, baking powder, and salt. If you don’t have cake flour on hand, here is a step by step tutorial on how to make your own! Cake flour has a lower protein content than all purpose flour so it results in less gluten being formed which means a lighter more tender cupcake!
In your stand mixer you will cream your butter and sugar. Be sure that your butter is at room temperature (between 65ºF and 67ºF). Your finger should be able to indent your finger into the butter. If you need to soften your butter quickly, here are 3 ways to do that.
Once your butter and sugar has been properly creamed add your egg and egg white. Be sure that your eggs are also at room temperature. To bring your eggs to room temperature quickly, simply place the eggs into a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes. Now just add your vanilla extract and lemon zest.
When you go to add your dry ingredients, you want to add them alternately with the milk. It’s best to use whole milk if you can because the fat adds richness to the cupcake. But I’ve made them with all kinds of milk (even almond or soy will work fine as well).
For the cupcakes I decided to keep with the yellow theme and use these liners. I love them because they are greaseproof so the liners will look just as pretty after you bake the cupcakes in them as they did when they start. I use an ice-cream scoop like this one from OXO to scoop my cupcake batter. It makes quick work of scooping the batter and ensures all my cupcakes are the same size and bake evenly.
For the cupcake pans, these ones from Wilton are my fave. And bonus! They come in a pack of two, which means no waiting around for one pan to cool before you scoop the next batch.
Now. Time. For. Frosting. This cupcake is topped with my favorite vanilla buttercream frosting. It requires a long time in your stand mixer to achieve a fluffy creamy texture. To make this buttercream, mixed berry, you will cook down your berries with a bit of sugar. You can use fresh or frozen for this. You could even stick to strawberries, or raspberries, or whatever combination you like!
Then you want to smash all those berries through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to get rid of all those pesky seeds. It won’t look like much puree in the end compared to the amount of berries you started with, but trust me, a little goes a long way.
If you want that perfect bakery swirl on top, you can read this post on how to frost the perfect cupcake– I’ve even included a video for you as well. For these, I used this Atecco tip
If you like this recipe, let me know and leave me a comment!
- 1 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 whole egg plus 1 egg white, at room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
- zest of 2 lemons
- 2 1/2 cups butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cups confectioner sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 Tbs. heavy cream
- 1 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 12 fresh raspberries for garnish
- Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the egg and egg white one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla and the lemon zest. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in 2 additions, beating until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat just until no traces of flour remain, about 30 seconds; do not overbeat.
- Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake until the cupcakes are lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cupcakes to the rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
- Frost the cupcakes with the buttercream. (The frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before finishing.) Garnish the cupcakes with a fresh raspberry. Makes 12 cupcakes.
- 1.In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the berries and sugar together. Use a wooden spoon to break the berries apart.
- 2.Simmer until significantly reduced — you should have about ⅓ cup of liquid.
- 3.Remove from the heat. Using a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth, push the berries through the sieve set over the bowl to get rid of the seeds. Let the puree cool before adding it to your buttercream.
- 4.With a mixer, cream the butter together with the powdered sugar. Add in your vanilla extract, heavy cream, and cooled berries.
- 5.Mix on medium-high for about 8 minutes until light and fluffy. Frost your cupcakes with a spatula or piping bag fit with a star tip. Top with a fresh raspberry.
- I used frozen berries- a combination of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries- any combination would be great though. The cooked berries might not look like much once you push them through the sieve, but trust me, a little goes a long way.
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