Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes, Gluten Free

Waiting for the end of a pregnancy is a little like being stuck at the back of the line at La Poste in Paris. Eventually you will get to the front, but it may take nine and half months. And no one cares if you are having contractions. But they will care if you are eating, say little cakes and don’t share with everyone.

At the end of the interminable 1st pregnancy I was literally watching minutes ticktock by because I was three weeks past my due date. Bored, uncomfortable to the degree where even thinking about one more day incubating a beached baby whale would start me crying, there was only one remedy that helped.

My spare-back-up-mom would ring me up almost every afternoon just to chat for a few minutes about anything except the lingering pregnancy. She’d make some wisecrack that made me laugh but never enough to go into labor. Those little phone calls literally saved my pre-post-partum compos mentis. And decades later I still remember that kindness like it was yesterday.

My spare-back-up-mom is turning 88 this year and this cupcake is for her. It is the least I can do for a woman who saved my sanity one joke at a time. The Lemon Raspberry Cupcake was inspired by one of her favorites, a fabulous Lemon Drizzle Cake. The cupcake has the same snappy lemon flavor and the drizzle of lemon icing is replaced with a raspberry cream cheese buttercream infused with Framboise and Limoncello. I am certain she would appreciate the infusion of tipsy in the buttercream.

Once in a while a cupcake is more than just a tiny cake. It just might be a big old bit of love wrapped in a tiny little cake. Or it might even be a thank you treat for someone who should know that she makes the world a little bit more shiny for the rest of us who are lucky enough to know her.

Thank you from the bottom of my cupcake.

Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes, Gluten Free
Lemon oil is a stand-out in this cupcake and a little bit goes a long way. The cupcake is great drizzled with a simple lemon glaze (lemon juice and powdered sugar) or any great fruity buttercream that appeals to you. In this recipe, raspberry and lemon are a tasty pair that reminds me of springtime. And very special people.
  • 7 oz. sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 4.5 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature (9 tablespoons)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon lemon oil or flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon Limoncello
  • 7 oz. GF flour (3 oz. superfine brown rice flour, 3 oz. superfine white rice flour, 1 oz. tapioca starch) (about 1 and ⅓ cups)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 oz. buttermilk (a hefty ⅓ cup)
Raspberry Buttercream
  • 3 oz. (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, just barely room temperature
  • 4 oz. regular cream cheese, chilled and cubed into small pieces
  • 16 oz. powdered sugar, sifted (additional 2 oz. if needed)
  • 2-3 tablespoons raspberry jam, strained
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Limoncello
  • 1 teaspoon Framboise
  • 12 fresh raspberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and place cupcake liners in a muffin tin (12). Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl combine the sugar and the zest. Work the zest into the sugar with your fingers and let the mixture sit about 10 minutes to infuse the sugar with the lemon. Cream sugar and butter in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until fully incorporated. Mix in all the flavorings. In a small bowl, weigh the flours with the baking powder, soda and salt. Add to the butter, sugar egg mixture and mix until just incorporated - on low unless you want the kitchen (and you) to be full of flour dust. Add in the buttermilk and mix until combined. Remove bowl from the stand mixer and using a silicone spatula, make sure all the dry stuff is worked in. Fold until everything looks well incorporated. Fill the liners using a scoop about ⅔ full. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes and reduce oven temperature to 325. Bake about 15-18 minutes more or just until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for a minute and then remove the cupcakes to a rack to cool completely before frosting.
Raspberry Buttercream
  1. Using the whip attachment place the butter in a stand mixer. Whip until light and fluffy. Drop in cubes of the chilled cream cheese while the mixer is running and incorporate it with the butter. Only whip until it is mixed in - if you warm up the cream cheese too much it causes the frosting to look grainy. Sift in the powdered sugar and mix on low just until it is incorporated. Add in raspberry jam puree one tablespoon at a time until the buttercream is pale raspberry red. Add in vanilla, Limoncello and Framboise. Whip on medium to high until light and fluffy, about a minute. If the cream cheese buttercream is not stiff enough, add in more sifted powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time if necessary. Pipe or spread icing on cupcakes. Top with a fresh raspberry. Refrigerate for a few minutes to set the frosting if necessary.


  1. Oh girl, I so know about incubating a little baby whale. 🙂 My newest one just arrived three weeks ago. You were blessed to have a spare-back-up mom!

    Love your recipes (and your pictures!).

  2. Those are some nice-lookin’ raspberries you’ve got out there in California. I like the idea of straining the jam, smartypants.


  3. another wonderful story, perfectly delicious cupcakes & stunning pics! thanks x

  4. I’m a big fan of Limoncello, I love being able to incorporate it into recipes. Looking forward to trying this out – sounds delicious!

  5. kendall Warren says:

    Made these this past weekend for a party. They turned out great, better than regular cupcakes. Thanks for sharing.


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