Lemon and raspberry is a combination THAT I LOVE. But I don’t think I’ve ever made anything lemon and raspberry-ee before, so I felt like it was time.
These cupcakes were made with a vanilla cupcake batter, filled with lemon curd and topped with a raspberry Swiss meringue buttercream.
The flavours all worked so well together, it felt light. I don’t if that makes sense, but this flavour combination made the cupcakes feel light….refreshing even.
The lemon curd
We’re going to make the lemon curd first, just because this needs time to cool and thicken up.
Here’s the what you are going to need to make this:
- Egg yolks – save the eggs whites, you can use these for the Swiss meringue buttercream.
- Granulated sugar – caster sugar works too.
- Salt – to enhance the flavours.
- Lemon juice – fresh lemon juice is better, but the lemon juice from a bottle works too.
- Unsalted butter – I like to use unsalted butter, then add the salt separately, just so that I can control the amount of salt. But salted butter works too, just don’t add any extra salt.
Side note, my lemon curd was very orange. Don’t be alarmed if yours is yellow, the egg yolks I used just happened to be very orange so it changed the colour of my lemon curd!
A few tips when making the lemon curd
Heat the mixture slowly
The first step in making this is to heat the egg yolks, sugar, salt and lemon juice together.
To do this, we are going to add some water into a pot, place this onto medium heat and let the water come to a simmer, then add your bowl on top of this.
Just keep stirring this mixture, whiles the water is simmering underneath, until the mixture thickens.
This does take some time, it took around 10 minutes for me.
Don’t try increasing your heat to speed up the process, keep it around medium heat. We don’t want the egg yolks to cook, so just have some patience with this.
Whiles the mixture is heating, keep stirring.
Again we don’t want the egg yolks to cook. So constantly stir to prevent this.
Sieve the mixture
This is optional, but before leaving this lemon curd to chill, I recommend sieving it.
It will get out any lumps that may have formed, giving you a smoother lemon curd.
For the cupcakes, I made a vanilla cake batter. I did also add some lemon zest into it, for extra flavour. This is optional, you can leave it out if you want too.
Most of the lemon flavour is going to be coming from the lemon curd.
These are the ingredients you will need to make the cupcake batter:
- Unsalted butter – we’re using self-raising flour in this batter. A lot of self-raising flours have salt already added into them, so it’s best to use unsalted butter. Otherwise your cupcakes could end up too salty.
- Oil – for moisture. Any flavourless oil works, I like to use vegetable oil.
- Granulated sugar – caster sugar works too.
- Lemon zest – for flavour.
- Vanilla extract – also for flavour.
- Self-raising flour – I find it easier to use self-raising flour because the raising agents are already mixed in. I will go into how to use plain/all purpose flour in the next section.
- Milk – always use whole milk when baking, it tastes nicer.
Ingredient substitutions for the cupcake batter
Cake batters typically need either butter or oil. Butter adds a lot of flavour, whereas oil adds a lot of moisture.
When it comes to vanilla cake batters, I like to use both. So that I can have good flavour and also a lot of moisture.
If you didn’t want to use oil, or didn’t have it, you can just use butter.
Instead of 125g of butter and 125ml of oil, use 250g of butter.
Ok so I know that no one is asking for sugar substitutions, but I just wanted to mention that light brown soft sugar can be used instead.
I didn’t know where to mention this, so I’m saying it here.
If you want the cupcakes to have a slight caramely flavour to them, brown sugar will do this. I didn’t feel like these cupcakes needed any extra flavour, so I just used granulated sugar. But brown sugar is a great option.
The self-raising flour
If you don’t have self-raising flour, or live in a place where it’s not easy to find, plain/all-purpose flour works too.
Just use the same amount but mix 2.5 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt into it.
The last step is to make the buttercream and then fill and decorate the cupcakes.
I used my Swiss meringue buttercream for these cupcakes.
I’ve got a separate blog post for this recipe, I didn’t include it here just because making Swiss meringue buttercream can be a little difficult if you’ve never made it before. So my other blog post has quite a lot of detail that I think is worth reading.
How to flavour the buttercream
To give the buttercream a raspberry flavour, I used freeze dried raspberry powder.
I get my freeze dried raspberry powder from Amazon, it is a great ingredient to have I use it every time I need something to be raspberry flavoured.
But it is a little expensive.
So if you didn’t want to get this, you can instead just add some raspberry jam to your buttercream. I recommend using one that isn’t very sweet, just because the buttercream has enough sweetness in it.
Or you could also make a raspberry puree or coulis and add this to your buttercream!
Lemon and Raspberry Cupcakes
Makes: 15-18 Cupcakes
- For the lemon curd:
6 egg yolks
200g granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
120ml lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
150g unsalted butter
- For the cupcakes:
125g unsalted butter, softened
125ml vegetable oil
250g granulated sugar
The zest from 2 lemons
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
250g self-raising flour
60ml whole milk
- For the buttercream:
1 batch Swiss meringue buttercream
Plus some freeze dried raspberry powder (you can add as much or as little as you want, I used around 3 tablespoons)
- Making the lemon curd:
- Add some water into a pot and place this onto medium heat. Let this come to a simmer.
- In a bowl, add the egg yolks, sugar, salt and lemon juice. Whisk all this together then place this bowl on top of the pot with the simmering water in it. Make sure that the water isn't touching the bottom of the bowl, if it is, pour some of the water out.
- Heat this mixture, whiles constantly stirring, until the mixture thickens. It won't become super thick but it will be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This might take a while, it took about 10 minutes for me.
- Once it has thickened, take it off the heat and add the butter. Whisk until all the butter has melted.
- At this point push this mixture through a sieve just to get out any lumps. Cover with cling film, making sure that the cling film is touching the surface of the lemon curd, then leave in the fridge to cool completely.
- Making the cupcakes:
- Start by pre-heating your oven to 180c/350f. Also add your cupcake cases into your cupcake tin.
- In a large bowl, add the softened butter, oil, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla. Beat these together on high speed for 5 minutes. If you're making this by hand, just aggressively whisk for as long as you can.
- Add 2 of the egg into this, whisk these in, then whisk in the remaining 2 eggs.
- Add the flour and milk, then whisk just until you get a smooth batter.
- Fill your cupcake cases with this batter until they're about 3/4 of the way full. Then bake at 180c/350f for around 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Once baked leave to cool completely.
- The buttercream:
- Mix your Swiss meringue buttercream and freeze dried raspberry powder together. Leave this aside until you're ready to use it.
- Putting everything together:
- Once your cupcakes have cooled completely, you can put everything together.
- Using a small knife or an apple corer, cut a hole in the centre of your cupcakes. Make sure not to go right to the bottom of the cupcakes.
- Fill this hole with your lemon curd. I added my lemon curd into a piping bag to make it easier, but you can also just use a spoon to fill the hole.
- Add your buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip, then pipe this on top of the cupcakes.
- At this point, you can dust some of the freeze dried raspberry powder on top. After that they're done, enjoy!