Blackberry Lemon Cupcakes, Gluten Free

It’s a little bit weird that these days blackberries are less expensive than blueberries. At least around here. Blackberries were never on my list of most favorite berry, but they are fast becoming that since blueberries still cost almost as much as they did in the middle of winter. 

This time of year I usually look forward to the swarm of tasty plump and local blueberries that invade the market. That they don’t cost what they do in winter or come from the other side of the world is also good. But apparently the little blueberry never got the memo.  $14 for a quart of marginal blueberries is not a good deal.

So blackberries are my new berry favorite.

This cupcake is pretty easy to prepare, even with making the (strained) blackberry reduction first. You will want to do that so when you make the cupcake batter no icky blackberry seeds are mixed in, otherwise you’ll be picking them out of your teeth for a week. Cupcake fun and frivolity shouldn’t require assistance from a toothpick except to check to see if it is fully baked, right?

The swirly blackberry with lemon in the cupcake tastes great. And the lemon helps pop the berry flavor.  Also, I am pretty fond of the color and it was fun to see what shade of lavender I could make the batter and Swiss buttercream. I opted for a gentle color but big enough flavor. If you want it to be more purple, just add a tablespoon more of blackberry reduction.

And if anyone knows why blueberries are so expensive this year, please do tell. I’m very sad. That is, until I have one of these cupcakes. Then I don’t miss those stinky blueberries at all. Or so I keep telling myself.

Blackberry Lemon Cupcakes, Gluten Free
Blackberry Lemon Cupcakes are a nice change from the ordinary. These are a great summer dessert. They're easy to make and you probably won't have to worry about storing leftovers. The cupcake can be made with any berry you wish to substitute for the blackberry.
Blackberry Reduction
  • half-pint blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon Framboise
  • zest of half a lemon
Lemon Blackberry Cupcake
  • 175 grams GF AP flour (87 grams superfine brown rice flour, 44 grams each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour/starch) (1⅓ cups)
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 175 grams granulated sugar (3/4 cup plus two tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 130 grams unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly (9 tablespoons)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 oz. buttermilk (1/3 cup)
  • 1-3 tablespoons blackberry reduction
Blackberry Swiss Buttercream
  • 3 egg-large egg whites
  • 200 grams granulated sugar (1 cup)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 172 grams unsalted butter, room temperature (1.5 sticks)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tablespoons blackberry reduction
  • 12-14 whole fresh blackberries
Blackberry Reduction
  1. In a small saucepan place blackberries, sugar, water, Framboise and lemon zest. Heat on medium until mixture simmers. Turn to lowest heat and simmer gently until berries are mushy and mixture thickens, about 5-8 minutes, stirring often. Strain into a container and press on the solids. Set the reduction aside for swirling in lemon cupcake batter and buttercream.
Lemon Blackberry Cupcake
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Place liners in a cupcake pan(s). Makes about 14.
  2. Place flour in a medium-sized bowl. Mix sugar and lemon zest together using finger tips to infuse flavor. Add to flour. Add baking powder, salt, baking soda and whisk to combine. In a microwave safe glass container melt butter and cool slightly. Add vanilla, lemon extract, eggs, lemon juice and buttermilk. Add to dry mixture and mix until batter is smooth and shiny.
  3. Take ⅓ of the batter and place in a small bowl. Add 1-3 tablespoons of blackberry reduction and stir until thoroughly mixed (it should look pale purple). Add back to larger bowl and marble just slightly. It will continue to marble when you scoop - so don't overdo the marbling. Scoop into prepared liners about ⅔ full. Bake 18-22 minutes or just until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes. Remove to rack and cool cupcakes completely before frosting.
Blackberry Swiss Buttercream
  1. In a stand mixer bowl place 3 extra-large egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and salt. Place bowl over a pan with simmering water and stir until temperature reads 160 degrees. Place bowl on stand mixer and with whip attachment beat until whites have high glossy peaks and bottom of bowl can be touched by your hand and it isn't hot. Switch to paddle attachment and while on medium speed add pieces of butter until it is all incorporated. Turn to high and mix until buttercream comes together. It will go through a stage where it looks curdled and like it is a wreck. Just keep going. You will hear it thump before you notice that it is changed to a decent looking buttercream. Add the vanilla and 2-4 tablespoons of blackberry reduction and beat on high until well mixed. The buttercream should be a nice shade of pale blackberry lavender. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with a fresh blackberry. Refrigerate until about 30 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator but serve at room temperature for best flavor.


  1. These look amazing! I have a ton of blackberries and so many lemons…I think I know what I’ll be making 🙂 and I love the way you piped the cupcakes. What tip is that?

  2. These sound so good! And look good too! I need to try them :-).

  3. Chelssa says:

    Amazing cupcakes! I made these for my mother in law for her birthday. First time ever making anything gluten free i am impressed. I will be coming back to this blog for more recipes.

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Thanks so much. Always nice to hear – those are one of our favorite. Happy birthday to your mother-in-law!

  4. In the buttercream you mention to add the vanilla after the butter. But the ingredients list doesn’t mention vanilla. How much vanilla do I need. I’m making gluten free for the first time for a baby shower I’m hosting. These look amazing!

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Great catch! I updated the recipe. Just a half teaspoon of vanilla. Thank you and enjoy!

  5. These look delicious – I’m excited to try them! I don’t like to cook with liqueur, do you have any recommendations for substitutions for Framboise?


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