Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Lemon & Raspberry Friendship

As promised, this post is all about lemons and raspberries. When I started this blog I wondered if I would have a hard time coming up with ideas for cupcakes or interesting topics to write about. Silly me. I should have known that my life, by nature, is crazy and quite interesting so how could I possibly have any problems with this? Case in point - my friend, Michal, when I told her about the blog, immediately asked me to start working on Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes to practice for her future wedding. No, she's not engaged but, as any woman knows, you can never start planning your wedding too early!

First, let me tell you a little about what this girl means to me. I believe that God literally made her to be my friend. Truly. Our dads are both Baptist preachers and actually, my dad assists hers as the Associate Pastor at the church we both attend. They both have four daughters, look uncannily alike, get along way too well, have the same birthday, and are probably brothers separated at birth. Michal and I met in 2005 when we started working at the same ministry in central Florida. We got to know each other at work and through our church and discovered that we're basically the same person. So many things about each of us are mirrored in the other. There are few people in this world that I consider a kindred spirit and she is most definitely one of them. You could say that she's the yin to my yang, the pea to my pod, or the raspberry to my lemon. :)

Me and Michal - an oldie but a goodie :)

Now, the reason you're here - the cupcakes. I decided to do these a couple of different ways to give her options. The first is a lemon cake - light and moist - filled with a thick raspberry sauce. Second, a raspberry cake (a tweaked version of my Sweet & Sour Strawberry Cake) filled with a tangy lemon curd filling. The icings are a Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream and a Raspberry Buttercream. I mixed and matched these cakes, fillings, and icings in order to find the combination that best reflects our friendship - sweet & lovely with just a little bit of sass!

These cupcakes aren't for the faint of heart! For me, they're a little too strong in taste. I think I'd prefer to have a neutral flavor mixed in with all the lemon and raspberry. Maybe next time I'll try a vanilla cupcake with lemon and raspberry fillings and icings or the fruity cakes but with a vanilla icing with the sauces on top. I'm definitely not a fan of the result of adapting my S&S cake to raspberry. I don't know what got lost in translation but something definitely did! My coworkers agreed that the cupcake combination they liked was the lemon cake, raspberry filling, raspberry buttercream, and lemon drizzle - Michal really liked that one. So, it's back to the drawing board for the perfect raspberry cake.
The good cupcake :)

Here are the recipes:

Lemon Yogurt Cake ( adapted from ):

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350*.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared liners and bake until a cake tester placed in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
When the cupcakes are done, allow them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While they're is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over each cupcake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

*Makes about 20 standard size cupcakes.

Raspberry Cake (adapted from my S&S Strawberry Cake):

Instead of strawberries, I used the same amount of raspberries. Other than that, follow the recipe listed.

Raspberry Sauce ( from ):

juice of 1 large lemon
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons framboise liqueur* (raspberry liqueur)
2 tablespoons  plus 1/3 cup sugar

In a blender, blend the lemon juice, raspberries, framboise liqueur, and 2 T sugar. Blend until smooth. Strain the mixture into a sauce pan. Add 1/3 cup sugar, and cook over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Cool and set aside. If you don't have the liqueur you can substitute water. But, again, this is the whole point. Trying different things. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. 

Photo from
Lemon Curd Filling (from the book Good Housekeeping Great Baking  p 361):

3 large lemons
1 T cornstarch
6 T butter
3/4 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks

Grate 1 T lemon peel and squeeze 1/2 cup juice. In 2-quart saucepan, with wire whisk, mix cornstarch, lemon peel, and juice until smooth. Add butter and sugar. Heat to boiling over medium heat; boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.

In small bowl, beat egg yolks lightly. Into egg yolks, beat small amount of hot lemon mixture; pour egg mixture back into lemon mixture in saucepan, beating rapidly. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes, or until thick (do not boil).

Pour mixture into medium bowl. Press plastic wrap onto surface to keep skin from forming as it cools. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate 3 hours or up to 3 days. Makes about 1 cup. 

Raspberry Filling ):

12 oz frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
2 tbsp raspberry liqueur such as Razzmatazz by DeKuyper (optional)

Thaw raspberries and strain juice from berries. Add enough water to the juice to get 3/4 cup of liquid.

In a small saucepan, combine raspberry juice/water, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from heat, set aside.

With a fine wire strainer, use a spoon to press the raspberries so that the seedless pulp falls into a bowl below. Strain enough pulp to get between 1/3 - 1/2 cup of pulp. 

To the cooled mixture in the saucepan, add 2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur and the raspberry pulp. Stir well and refrigerate a few hours or overnight. Keeps in the refrigerator for at least a week.  

Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream:

*Note: This is the same buttercream I used for the Strawberry Lemonade Cake in the previous post. I reused it for these cupcakes because it turned out to be so delicious! I did add about a 1/2 teaspoon of gel yellow food coloring for a touch of color. 

Raspberry Buttercream ):

1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • (16-oz.) package powdered sugar

  • Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition.
  • *Note: Be sure to wash and thoroughly dry raspberries before adding to frosting. Also, this is super sweet so I added a cup of shortening to it to try to balance it out a little. If you don't like really sweet icing I'd stay away from it. I think I'm going to keep looking for that perfect recipe but this one served its purpose here.
Notice the liner? These are the much raved about liners from!

Next week be watching for a tried and true recipe with a special twist for St. Patty's Day - Green Velvet Cupcakes! For now, happy reading and, most importantly, happy cupcake-ing!



  1. Christina McQuearyMarch 8, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Those look incredible! I host cupcake parties at my house every few months as a church outreach. Looks like a found a new recipe!

    1. Thank you! Make sure you read through the notes on the different elements of the cupcakes so you can see what my thoughts were on each recipe! :)

  2. These look yummy! This could be the ticket to me feeling better. I wonder if I can talk Jacob into going and picking one up for me :)

  3. They are so cute & adorable, I am sure they are tasty too.… I would love if you link them in my event which is only for decorations….

  4. These look soooooo delicious!! I am a sucker for anything lemon and even more so anything raspberry!!! I would LOVE to have you share these over at my link party thats going on right now...and maybe even become my newest follower! Following you!

    1. Thanks so much, Katie! I'm headin' on over to party and take a look at your blog! :)

  5. Mmmm, those look delicious!! Thanks for linking up to our “Strut Your Stuff Saturday.” We would love to have you back!! -The Sisters


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