Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Cheesecake Buttercream

Lemon Cupcakes 1

I’m so excited about this month’s Improv Challenge, hosted by the wonderful Kristan over at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.  Haven’t heard about the Improv Challenge?  Each month, participants are assigned two ingredients to pair together to create a fun, new recipe.  I was so relieved to find that this month’s ingredients included lemon and sour cream—after gorging myself on chocolate for the last month, I needed to bake something a little lighter.

The lemon cream cupcakes on their own are actually light enough to serve as a breakfast muffin–they’d pair nicely with some fresh fruit or a mug of steaming hot coffee.

Of course, I had to add frosting to these, because that’s just what I do.  I have a sugar addiction, what can I say?

This frosting is a total departure from my stand-by buttercream.  But holy cannoli guys, this stuff is amazing.  I almost ran out of frosting for the tops of my cupcakes because I’d “sampled” so much in between piping my cakes.  The pink color comes only from the fresh raspberries – you can’t beat that with artificial coloring.

Doodle declared these “out of this world” and I have to say–I agree.

Looking at these colors makes me ready for spring–what about you?


Lemon Cupcakes 2

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream
For the cupcakes:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (or vanilla, if that's what you have on-hand)
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 16 ounces sour cream
For the frosting:
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 - 4½ cups powdered sugar
  • 5 ounces raspberries
  • seeds from one vanilla bean
For the cupcakes:
  1. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon zest and lemon extract.
  2. Combine your dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Your batter will be thick!
  3. Fill muffin tins with approximately ¼ cup of batter, and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Cool for 10 miinutes before removing cakes to wire rack.
For the frosting:
  1. Cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Slowly add 1 cup powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add half of the raspberries and mix until combined. Add remaining powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating until well incorporated.
  2. Add vanilla seeds and the rest of your raspberries. Beat well, until frosting is creamy. Depending on your preferred consistency, add additional powdered sugar if necessary.
  3. Chill for 30 minutes before piping onto your cupcakes.
Makes 30 cupcakes

cupcakes adapted from Taste of Home 2011

frosting from Good Life Eats

Be sure to check out the rest of this month’s participants!

Don't stop here! Check out this other yummy stuff...


  1. Omg!!!! These look amazing! I was going to make a lemon desert next week, but now I think I will make these! Your photos look amazing!

  2. I like the way you think! I made cupcakes too, but went with lemon buttercream. That pink frosting is a beautiful punch of color though!

  3. Not only beautiful but sound delicious too! I found you through the challenge!

  4. Brilliance!!! Found you from the ICC. I made lemon sour cream poppy seed muffins, but I don’t see that they’ve been linked up yet. Hoping they’ll be up soon!

  5. These are so pretty! I can’t believe the gorgeous color in the icing just from raspberries. Proof that nothing beats natures beauty! Stopped by from the Improv Challenge!

  6. I love the vibrant color of the frosting, definitely makes me think of spring time and Easter.

    This is such a fun challenge to participate in.

    I’ve spent a good part of the day checking out everyones submissions 🙂

  7. Mmmmm, these look so delicious and colorful! I love the raspberry on top, what a great finishing touch. I love seeing everyone’s ideas for these ingredients, and when can I ever resist cheesecake buttercream?

  8. I can’t wait to try these. They look fabulous!

  9. Wow! These cupcakes look so good! Cheesecake is my favorite thing so I think I would love these. Can’t wait to see your next challenge entry!

  10. These are absolutely gorgeous!!!! I agree….a sweet lemon cupcake is perfect all on it’s own. But topped with raspberry buttercream…..and just look at the color of that buttercream…..wow…..just beautiful! : )

  11. these look just gorgeous! i’ve made this buttercream before, too, + it is amazing. these look perfect for springtime!

  12. That’s a gorgeous pink! Raspberry and lemon works perfectly!

  13. Beautiful and they sound delicious with so many great flavors.

  14. Wow–beautiful cupcakes! I love how you paired the raspberry frosting with the lemon cupcakes…it’s reminding me of Spring! 🙂

  15. You mean not everyone eats cupcakes for breakfast? That’s just me? Ooops. Cheesecake buttercream – Whaaat??? Sold.

  16. they look absolutely delicious and so pretty!

  17. These look fantastic! Yummm!

  18. Raspberry frosting sounds divine!

  19. Your cupcakes are gorgeous! They would be perfect for a little girl’s birthday party. Great choice!

  20. Only Mother Nature could make such a great pink color! What fantabulous cupcakes! I am loving the flavor combination.

  21. These look fantastic. I’m thinking Valentines might need lemon and raspberry this year.

  22. I’d be sampling that amazing looking frosting, too! Your cupcakes look so delicious!!!

  23. That raspberry buttercream is calling my name! These are definitely making me wish it were spring!

  24. So glad I found your blog and these beautiful cupcakes! I want, I want! I MUST make these soon. That buttercream sounds phenomenal… great pick for the Improv challenge. Oh, and I’m a new email follower!

  25. Yes please!!!

  26. I’m guessing it should say cream cheese for the frosting and not sour cream?

  27. Those look so delicious – I love cupcakes! I’d love to serve myself up two of those cupcakes with steaming hot coffee too!


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