back to baking. [lemon cupcakes w. graham cracker crust, blackberry filling & blackberry buttercream]

February 6th, 2012 by | comments

We made and ate an excessive amount of food for the Super Bowl. From seven layer dip to spinach artichoke dip to deviled eggs (oh yes, with bacon grease) to homemade chicken tenders to pork sliders to veggie platters…the list goes on.

I was in charge of bringing dessert and wanted to bake cupcakes since I hadn’t in a while, which is odd considering it’s one of my favorite desserts to make. These weren’t just any cupcake though–not only were they filled with a blackberry puree, but they also had a graham cracker crust, which provided a pleasant textural contrast to the light lemon cake. The cupcakes were a hit at the party and I will most definitely be making them again, as should you!

Though I didn’t have a preference who won yesterday, the majority of our party was rooting for the Patriots. So, obviously it wasn’t the desired outcome for them, but congrats to the Giants fans.

Just a glimpse of half of the (half-eaten) food from yesterday.

Graham cracker crust recipe:

1 1/2 cups graham crackers

1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pulse graham crackers in food processor into fine crumbs. Add butter and sugar and pulse until combined.

Place about 2 tsp. of graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each cupcake paper. Use your fingers or a pastry tamper to press mixture firmly together.

Place muffin tins in oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Lemon cupcake recipe:

3 cups cake flour

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup half & half

1/2 cup low-fat milk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

4 large egg whites

Zest of 2 lemons

Juice of 1/2 lemon


Keep oven at 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine milk, half & half and vanilla in a measuring cup and set aside.

Place butter and sugar in bowl of stand mixer. Cream together for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in eggs and egg whites one at a time, beating to fully combine before adding the next one.

Add in the flour mixture and milk mixture in five alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour. Mix just to incorporate before adding the next addition. Add lemon zest and juice; incorporate.

Fill cupcake papers about 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Cupcakes should be just starting to turn golden on top and a tester inserted in the center should come out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks.

Blackberry buttercream recipe:

1/2 stick salted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup half & half

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

3-4 cups confectioner’s sugar, plus more as needed to reach desired consistency

1/4 cup blackberry puree, plus more to taste

1/2 cup blackberry puree for filling

(About 18 oz. fresh blackberries, for puree, filling and decoration)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add half & half, vanilla extract and confectioner’s sugar. Puree the berries in a food processor and strain out the seeds. Pour blackberry puree into buttercream and stir. If the puree thins the frosting too much, add more confectioner’s sugar.

Recipe adapted from Dessert First.

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  • Amanda

    That’s is funny, I ended up making a Lemon-Blackberry Cheesecake yesterday!!!

  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

    Cupcakes sound amazing! I love recipes with blackberries, there are not enough of them out there!
    I want to come to your Superbowl Party – that is quite the spread!

  • Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide

    Those look wonderful! Looks like a great spread. I’m loving the sound of those deviled eggs.

  • egg me on

    Those are so fancy! Love the way the blackberry filling and frosting seep down into the cupcake. I’m also going thru a blackberry phase at the moment – I have a big carton in my fridge. But I don’t think I could turn them into something quite so pretty.

  • spicegirlfla

    Oh wow, Carolyn, one good thing on top of another!! A perfect combination of flavors and texture are going on in these beauties!! Pretty for Valentines and I’m also thinking Easter!!

  • kitchenbelleicious

    do you have any idea just how amazing that cupcake looks? WOW! You are a superstar!

  • Erin

    Props to you this looks great

  • ChgoJohn

    That was some appetizer assortment but I bet your cupcakes were the Crowning Glory of the table. They look fantastic!

  • Courtney

    I love lemon and blackberry together! And a graham cracker crust is just genius! These look SO good – how did you get the puree in the middle?

    • Caroline

      I usually use a cupcake corer that I bought at Sur la Table, but since I was at my parent’s house, I just used a small pairing knife and cut a circle in the middle, then filled with the puree. :)

  • Patsy

    My hubby loves blackberries…I love lemon dessert….these cupcakes are a match made in heaven…just like us! :)

  • Thebigfat

    Oh my word these look divine and I love the idea of both crispy base and soft gooey cake with a liquidy fruity centre.

  • kristin

    Oh my goodness, this looks delicious! Plus, it’s so beautiful :)

  • Joanne Ozug

    I can’t believe you did a graham cracker crust on a cupcake, that is so genius. These cupcakes look amazing!

  • Amy

    Holy cow, these look amazing!

  • thedrivencook

    Beautiful cupcakes! Love the flavor combo of lemon and blackberry! Wow!

  • My Inner Chick

    OOO, I can taste the frosing and blackberries upon my tongue.

    My invite must have been lost in the mail, Caroline. X

  • Patsy

    Caroline. I do apologize for the link up mistake. I am just learning all of the technical stuff. Old ladies and computers don’t always mix.

    • Caroline

      No worries, Patsy, I understand!!

  • Purely.. Kay

    Of course congrats to us Giants fans :). You knew who I was rooting for. And I think, if you were at my house, all that food would’ve been gone lol. I had no leftovers. But these lemon cupcakes would’ve been a great addition to the menu. I LOVE these.

    • Caroline

      haha I definitely had you in mind when they won. ;)

  • Raymund

    Look at that melting topping, itts mouthwatering

  • thecompletecookbook

    Oh boy Caroline, what an incredible spread you guys had! It is easy to see why your cupcakes were such a hit – they look amazing! Love that you filled them and topped the frosting with a berry!
    :-) Mandy

  • yummychunklet

    That sounds like a ton of food, but all delicious. These cupcakes were the tasty flourish at the end!

  • zestybeandog

    Beautiful! Great photos as well! :) Cheers!

  • belleontheboulevard

    How did you know I had a sweets craving. You’re a mind reader Caroline. The cupcakes look great from these photos. Could you ship them over?

    • Caroline

      On the way. ;)

  • Sissi

    I love lemon in cakes, cookies or any type of dessert. Your cupcakes look fantastic!

  • Cavities & Cravings

    I love this recipe so so much! Sound delicious.

  • Eva Taylor

    What an amazing looking spread; we got so caught up in the festivities (read drinking) we forgot to snap a photo! The cupcakes look and sound wonderful. I’m sure they would have been the hit of the party.

  • Stefanie

    You guys had a nice superbowl spread! And those cupcakes look divine! What a wonderful creation!

  • The Hook

    These are almost as cute as you, Caroline. Almost!

  • Chica Andaluza

    Looks like it was a great party and as for those cupcakes – beautiful! No blackberries here until the end of August but I am sure I could improvise!

  • Donna @ The Slow Roasted Italian

    These cupcakes look absolutely delicious. I recently make a Raspberry Lemon cupcake that this makes me think of. YUM!

  • Lisa -smartfoodandfit

    We had plans to go to some friends for super bowl but my oldest got his migraines and I didn’t feel like cooking/baking but next year I’m definitely going to cook up a storm and bake some of these beauties. Second thought, why wait until next year, these would be perfect for Valentine’s Day.

  • Ashley@Bakerbynature

    so cute and fruity! love the polish, btw! xx

    • Caroline

      Thanks girl!! Essie. ;)

  • Kiran @

    Those cupcakes are stunners! Truly!!!
    I love blackberries. So plump, juicy and delish :)

    • Caroline

      I’m a blackberry fan as well! Thanks so much, Kiran!! x

  • The Café Sucré Farine

    YUM! These are not only beautiful but so unique and delicious looking! I love the graham cracker crust, haven’t seen this before!

    • Caroline

      Thank you!! I hadn’t either until I found this recipe, and now I can’t wait to make different variations…maybe a shortbread crust…or chocolate…or who knows!

  • Geni – Sweet and Crumby

    Ok Caroline, what is NOT to LOVE about this post?! Let’s start with the cupcakes…perfection. Blackberry puree and buttercream? And the lemon cake looks so spongy and soft. I’ve been wanting to make a nice lemon cupcake and this must be the recipe so thank you! Moving on to more things I love…I think I say this EVERY TIME, but your photography is blowing me away. The photo on the cupcake server is beautiful. I want your server as well and your nail polish. Is there anything you don’t do perfectly Caroline?!

    • Caroline

      It was a pretty delicious combo, I can’t lie. And thank you so, so much re the photography. I’m working to make it better every time, so thanks for noticing!! Oh gosh, I definitely don’t do everything perfect, I promiseee.

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook

    Caroline, I remember the picture from Thanksgiving or Christmas? you attended… always lots of great food! Even though it was half gone, I still enjoyed looking what you guy had. Heehee.

    Your cupcakes look so cute AND delicious! I like the side view of the cupcake. Looks so moist and love the blackberry filling… I can just eat that by itself too. Drool!

  • nancy at good food matters

    SuperBowl Sunday has becomes a national food holiday–what a spread you all had. I am not a huge fan of cupcakes—I’ve had too many that are top-heavy with frosting, with dry cake underneath. But yours—yours are different–beautifully conceived and executed. the right balance of moist cake and toppings.

  • Christina

    Look like you guys had some amazing food! I am loving these cupcakes. I bet the blackberry puree filling was incredible! :)

  • kathryningrid

    One of the most delicious looking and sounding cupcakes I’ve come across yet! I looooove blackberries. :)

  • sonsothunder

    Reminds me of the days I spent as a child walking fields and ditch banks, so granny would bake a wonderful “Blackberry” cobbler …
    These of course look much fancier..

  • Charles

    What wonderfully big, plump blackberries those are – nothing like that here yet alas. Will be a fair while before we have those in stores, or in the hedgerows!

    Love the idea of the crust at the bottom. Must have been fun to eat – like a cakey cheesecake! :)

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  • Asmita

    That looks incredible! Blackberry puree filling sounds divine.

  • Good Cooks

    Wow, those cupcakes realy yummy, love the idea of the filling, can’t wait to try it out…
    Thank you Caroline.

  • fati’s recipes

    YUM! These look so delicious… and the berry makes them look super healthy! :D

  • Pure Imagination

    These look amazing. But can you tell me what “half and half” is on the ingredients. Maybe it must be called something different here in Ireland.

    • Caroline

      Hi! Half and half is a mixture of one part cream and one part milk. You could improvise and use heavy whipping cream or 2% milk.

  • Stephbomb23

    I was really excited to try these. But for people who are beginner chefs, the instructions are a bit confusing. In the cupcake directions there is no instruction to add the half and half. Also when and where to add the lemon juice and zest. For the graham cracker crust there’s no direction on how how to cook them at (I assumed 350•).

    I kind of improvised! But they still turned out alright, I assume they would have been better if I got all the ingredients in!

    • Caroline

      Hi Stephanie, I’m so sorry for the confusion, that’s my fault! I adapted this recipe from another blog, and copied the directions as she had on her site, so I didn’t even realize. The half and half gets added at the same time as the milk (fixed in my directions), and yes, the graham cracker crust needs to be baked at 350 degrees. Again, I apologize!!