These easy vanilla raspberry cupcakes are a deliciously moist vanilla cupcake topped with a fresh raspberry buttercream frosting. They’re bursting with tangy raspberry flavor with the perfect added hint of lemon.
✏️ Recipe creation
I’m a huge fan of summery raspberry desserts, and I’m a little obsessed with this raspberry buttercream made from real raspberries (fresh or frozen). I wanted to make an easy raspberry dessert where this buttercream could shine, so I swirled it on top of a soft vanilla cupcake!
The hint of lemon in the tangy raspberry buttercream pairs so well with the tasty vanilla and zingy raspberry.
These elegant raspberry cupcakes from scratch make a great treat for birthday parties, spring and summer picnics, as well as potlucks or as a Mother's Day treat. The cute pink colour of the frosting also makes them a great sweet treat for Valentine’s Day too.
This vanilla raspberry cupcake recipe calls for the following ingredients:
- Unsalted butter: softened to room temperature for ease of mixing.
- White sugar: finely granulated white sugar e.g. caster sugar.
- Vanilla extract: use paste or extract over essence for best flavour.
- Vegetable oil: or other neutral-flavoured oil.
- Plain all-purpose flour: sieve for a smooth cupcake cake batter.
- Baking powder: always check the expiry date before use or the cupcakes won’t rise.
- Milk: use full-fat or semi-skimmed.
- Raspberries: frozen or fresh raspberries.
- Fresh lemon juice
- Unsalted butter: room temp. for ease of beating.
- Powdered icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar): sieve for a smooth frosting.
- Salt (optional)
See the recipe card for quantities.
Top tip: For accuracy, it’s best to weigh your ingredients rather than using cups.
♻️ Substitutions / Variations
For the raspberry frosting, you can use either frozen or fresh raspberries. I prefer using fresh fruit as I find it easier to work with, but both will give you great frosting.
You can swap the plain flour in this raspberry cupcake recipe for self-raising flour of the same quantity. If doing this, reduce the baking powder by 1tsp.
I use vegetable oil or sunflower oil to help keep the cupcakes soft and moist. You can swap this for another neutral-flavoured oil of your choice, such as canola oil.
It’s best to use fresh lemon juice for this raspberry buttercream cupcake recipe, as processed lemon juice won’t taste as nice, but will do in a pinch.
These easy raspberry cupcakes are delicious as they are, but you can also cut a small hole in the center of a cupcake and add a filling before you frost them.
For a raspberry filled cupcake, add a teaspoon of raspberry cake filling, or raspberry preserves like in the image below!
Alternatively add a teaspoon of lemon curd cupcake filling for the best lemon raspberry cupcakes.
- First preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C (fan) / Gas Mark 4 / 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Sieve in the flour and baking powder, mixing until only just combined.
- Stir in your vanilla, oil and milk then spoon your batter into a cupcake tin lined with cupcakes cases.
- Bake for 15-20mins until golden and springy, then transfer to a rack for cooling. Make the buttercream while the cupcakes cool.
- Puree raspberries, lemon juice and water in a blender or food processor then press it through a sieve into a medium saucepan. Discard the pulp and heat the sieved juice on a low-medium heat for 10-15mins, until reduced to a thick liquid.
- Allow the reduction to cool while you beat the butter, using a hand mixer in a medium bowl or a stand mixer, for several minutes until pale and fluffy. Next, sieve in half of your powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Repeat with the other half of your powdered sugar.
- Beat in the raspberry reduction, 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired flavour and consistency, and salt (if using).
- Pipe your raspberry frosting onto your cooled vanilla cupcakes.
💭 Top tips
- For a super smooth sponge batter, cream together your butter and sugar thoroughly to start with.
- Fill each cupcake case just over halfway with vanilla cupcake batter. Too much and you’ll get muffin tops, but too little and you’ll have mini cupcakes!
- Your cupcakes are cooked when they’ve risen, turned golden and an inserted skewer or toothpick comes out clean.
- Once baked, remove your vanilla cupcakes from the tin and transfer them to a wire cooling rack. This helps to prevent the cases from peeling.
- If using frozen raspberries, it's easier if you thaw them or microwave them (30-45secs) first before you puree them. That way, you can push more puree through the sieve.
- For the most raspberry flavour in your vanilla raspberry cupcakes, push as much raspberry puree through your sieve as you can.
- For creamy raspberry buttercream, beat your butter until it’s pale, light and fluffy before adding your other ingredients. This could take several minutes with an electric mixer and longer by hand.
- Decorate your vanilla raspberry cupcakes with fresh raspberries or lemon slices on top of the buttercream. You can also drizzle on melted white chocolate or any leftover strained raspberry puree reduction like a zingy sauce!
❔ Recipe FAQs
Your raspberry cupcakes should last for up to 4 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
It's good to note that if you put fresh raspberries on your cupcakes, these might not last as long, so decorate just before serving for best results.
Yes! You can freeze your raspberry cupcakes wrapped in a layer of cling film and a layer of foil for up to 3 months.
Yes, you can make your vanilla cupcake sponges ahead of time and freeze the unfrosted cupcakes. Defrost before you add your buttercream and enjoy.
Alternatively, you can make the cupcakes and/or raspberry buttercream a few days in advance. Your cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Your raspberry buttercream should be in an airtight container in the fridge.
This could be caused by a few things. You might have scooped in too much baking powder, e.g. instead of using a levelled scoop from a measuring spoon.
Another reason could be that you opened the oven partway through baking which caused your oven temp to drop rapidly and sinkhole your cupcakes.
No, cake flour is actually different to both plain flour and self-raising flour. It has a different composition and your cupcakes will have a different consistency if you use cake flour.
If your raspberry frosting is too thick to pipe, then you can add more raspberry reduction to thin the consistency of the frosting.
If your raspberry frosting is too thin, you can try chilling it in the fridge for 15-20mins before use. Alternatively, you can beat in a few more tablespoons of butter to thicken it.
To make gluten-free raspberry cupcakes, swap the plain flour for gluten-free flour. I recommend using a 1:1 gluten-free plain all-purpose flour blend.
You should also add ½ teaspoon of xantham gum to the vanilla cupcake batter if your flour blend doesn’t already include this in the ingredients.
For gluten-free cupcake success, add an extra 1 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon milk to the batter. Beat your batter really well and let it stand for 20mins before pouring it into your cake tins and baking. You might also need to bake your cupcakes for an extra 5-10mins.
🧁 Other goodies
Looking for some other goodies to make?
Love raspberry desserts? Why not check out these best-ever raspberry recipes including some of these amazing treats:
- Raspberry dessert bars – the raspberry curd layer is just divine!
- White chocolate raspberry layer cake
- Raspberry lemon loaf cake
- Chewy raspberry white chocolate blondies
Other Related Recipes:
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Vanilla Raspberry Cupcakes
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- 110 g (½ cups) unsalted butter softened
- 115 g (⅔ cups) white sugar finely granulated e.g. caster
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 115 g (1 cups) plain all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoon milk
- 120 g (1 cups) raspberries fresh or frozen
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice roughly ¼ a lemon
- 1 ½ tablespoon water
- 150 g (⅔ cups) unsalted butter softened
- 320 g (2 ⅔ cups) powdered icing sugar
- Preheat oven: 180°C / 160°C (fan) / Gas Mark 4 / 350°F
- In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, either using a spatula, electric hand mixer or stand mixer, until light and pale.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, then sieve the flour and baking powder into the mixture, gently folding in until just combined.
- Stir in the milk, oil and vanilla extract.
- Line your cupcake pan with 12 cupcake cases and divide the batter evenly between them (each case should be no more than ⅔ full).
- Bake in the oven for 15-20mins or until the cupcakes are lightly golden, springy to the touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean from the middle.
- Transfer the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack while you make the frosting.
- Using a blender or food processor, blend the raspberries, lemon juice and water until you get a smooth puree.
- Sieve the pureed mix into a saucepan, pushing through as much as you can and discarding the pulp.
- Heat over a low-medium heat and simmer for roughly 10-15mins until the puree has reduced to a thick liquid. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- While the raspberry reduction cools, beat the butter until pale and fluffy using a stand mixer or in a medium bowl using a hand mixer or wooden spoon.
- Sieve in half of the icing sugar to the butter and beat until combined, before sieving in the remaining icing sugar and beating again until smooth.
- Add the raspberry reduction to the frosting 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth, until you have the desired colour and flavour (I usually use 1-3 tbsp).
Assembly and decoration
- Once your cupcakes have fully cooled, add your buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a nozzle of your choice (e.g. large open star) and pipe large swirls onto each cupcake.
- Add fresh raspberries or any leftover raspberry reduction to your frosted cupcakes and enjoy!
- Your vanilla sponges are cooked once they’re risen, golden and springy to the touch. An inserted toothpick or skewer should also come out clean from the middle.
- For the best flavour in your raspberry buttercream, push as much raspberry puree through your sieve as you can.
- If using frozen raspberries, it's easier if you thaw them or microwave them (30-45secs) first before you puree them.
- Swap your plain flour for self-raising flour and reduce the baking powder by 1 tsp.
- You can use either fresh or frozen raspberries for this recipe.
- You can use any neutral-flavoured oil for the cupcake batter e.g. sunflower oil or canola oil.
Nutritional information is an estimate based on an online nutritional calculator, actual values may vary.