Boxed vanilla cupcakes with store-bought chocolate frosting are usually a great call when you’re baking for a ton of people —but putting in a bit more effort can make you look like a culinary expert. Baking from scratch makes a world of a difference and gives you so much more freedom for personalizing your perfect little cake. These lemon cupcakes with blackberry buttercream frosting are the perfect combination of fruity, tangy and sweet. These taste like summer, and with the weather we’re heading to, we could all use a little reminder of what that tastes like.


Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 12 cupcakes

½ cup unsalted unsalted butter (=1 stick)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups all-purpose flower
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons salt
½ cup of milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon

1. Preheat oven to 350º and put paper liners in muffin pan
2. Beat the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer until combined.

Photo by Hannah Morse

3. Mix in eggs, vanilla and lemon extract

Photo by Hannah Morse

4. Stir together flower, baking powder and salt
5. Gradually add and mix the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients
6. Mix in milk and lemon zest
7. Fill the muffin liners, leaving about ¼ for the cupcakes to rise.

Photo by Hannah Morse

8. Bake for 20-22 minutes

Photo by Hannah Morse


For the frosting: 

1 cup (two sticks) softened unsalted butter
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
½ cup blackberries
1 teaspoon heavy cream
Pinch of salt


1. While your cupcakes are in the oven, puree the blackberries in a food processor for about 15 seconds (or until completely liquid)
2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium for 1-2 minutes. It should have a fluffy, creamy consistency.
3. Beat in the confectioners sugar one cup at a time.
4. Once the mixture has taken its frosting form, blend in the blackberry puree, vanilla, salt and heavy cream.
5. Toss the frosting in a ziplock bag, cut a small piece off the corner of the bag and squeeze over your cooled lemon cupcakes.
6. Top each cupcake with a blackberry to add that last touch and voila!

Photo by Dara Ades