When Life Gives You Lemons – Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

lemon raspberry cupcake 1

I had failed fifth grade. Or so the elegant blonde woman dressed in a purple toga informed me. Perched upon the blue picnic table outside my fifth grade classroom, she looked down at me serenely as I gazed up at her in horror. Life as I knew it crumbled to pieces around me as I tried to make sense of this unfathomable turn of events. No, it’s not possible, I was a straight-A student, I just graduated! No, no…

I sobbed.

Then I realized I was lying on a damp pillow and the summer sun was streaming through the window. Summer…pillow… I hadn’t failed fifth grade after all! I had graduated! I wouldn’t have to repeat elementary school! I hadn’t brought everlasting shame upon myself!

lemon raspberry cupcake 2

There are many things in life I fear. Dropping my phone from bridges and cliff edges. Feeling the crunch-squish of a cockroach between my fingers through the layers of tissue. Slipping on a steep cobblestone street slick with rain and cracking my head open to unleash rivulets of blood streaming through the century-old cracks. But none of these, real or imaginary, can compare to the fear of failure – a fear so deeply ingrained that my subconscious summons vivid dreams to which I wake up with tears running down my cheeks.

I have yet to experience failure on a catastrophic level akin to failing fifth grade. But failure struck today in the form of a Bundt cake that refused to leave the cozy warmth of its mold. By the time I finally coaxed it out, it was a desiccated pile of steaming crumbs unfit for public consumption.

Goodbye, glorious visions of golden-hued cake crowned with jewel-toned strawberries and orange slices.

That “Bundt” cake has been dismembered and disposed of in a frumpy old trifle.

lemon raspberry cupcake 3

When life gives you lemons, make lemon cupcakes.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

Recipe adapted from this blog. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Lemon Cupcakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
zest of 1 large lemon
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
1 tbsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

Raspberry Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup raspberries
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
raspberries for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and line two cupcake tins with paper liners.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, then set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, lemon extract, and vanilla extract, then set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and lemon zest on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar slowly and beat until well combined.
  5. Beat the eggs in one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  6. Add half of the flour mixture and beat in using low speed.
  7. Follow with the buttermilk mixture, then finally the remaining half of the flour mixture. Mix until well-incorporated.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the liners and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. When your cupcakes have cooled completely, make the frosting by pureeing the raspberries and straining out the seeds. Set the raspberry juice aside.
  11. Beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Then add the powdered sugar and salt and beat on high until light and fluffy.
  12. Add the raspberry juice and vanilla extract and beat again until well-incorporated.
  13. Frost the cupcakes as desired and garnish with raspberries.




4 Comments Add yours

  1. Esther says:

    Omg the unmentionable bug.


  2. hannahelaine says:

    They’re beautiful! Failure is my worst fear too


  3. Esther says:

    Ok so Claire how easy are these to make? Seriously considering. They look so yum.


    1. clairehwang says:

      They’re really not very hard to make! It’s a very basic cupcake + buttercream recipe. 🙂 If you have any questions whilst in the process of baking, text me 😉


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