Lemon Baby Cakes with Fresh Raspberry Buttercream

Lemon Baby Cakes with Fresh Raspberry Buttercream

We have quite alot to celebrate here today. At the the tippy-top of the list is the birthday of our youngest, Tessa.

She is sweetness.

She is sparkle.

She is pure joy.

And today she turns six.

horse lover

Until Tessa grows into the job of her dreams of being a real cowgirl, she is making do with miniature stables and dozens and dozens of toy horses. I don’t know how she does it, but all the horses have their own special name and she never forgets a one.

Lemon Baby Cakes with Fresh Raspberry Buttercream

Tessa loves any kind of lemon desserts. And she adores raspberries, especially when they’re fresh picked from our yard. She is the one that will stick it out with me in the raspberry patch until the very last berry is picked. Her company is bubbly and chattery, rich with humming and singing, and best of all…full of big squeezing lingering hugs. This girl’s warm presence can turn any cloudy day into sunshine.

So these sunshiny Lemon Baby Cakes with Fresh Raspberry Buttercream is what we came up with to celebrate her special day. They are perfectly Tessa.

Lemon Baby Cakes with Fresh Raspberry Buttercream

The little cakes are super moist and bright with lemon flavor, and when bitten into, reveal a hidden fresh raspberry inside. Tessa thinks that’s just the neatest thing! Topped with a swirl of fresh raspberry buttercream (with no artificial color or raspberry flavor!), these are one sweet little treat.

Lemon Baby Cakes with Fresh Raspberry Buttercream

The other event we’re celebrating today is the blogiversary of a farmgirl’s dabbles. Three years, my friends! That’s alotta butter and flour! Be sure to stay tuned later this week for an awesome giveaway to keep the celebrating going! 

Lemon Baby Cakes with Fresh Raspberry Buttercream

Yield: about 50 baby cakes


  • 3-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2-1/2 c. sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 5 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 T. finely grated lemon peel
  • lemon yellow food coloring, if desired, to enhance the yellow color
  • 1-1/2 c. buttermilk
  • about 50 fresh raspberries

for the fresh raspberry buttercream

  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 12 oz. raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (Have you tried the wonderful extracts from Penzeys?!)
  • 3-1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 to 2 T. milk, if needed to thin out the frosting


for the lemon baby cakes:

Preheat oven to 350°.

A couple notes: I prefer to use flexible silicone mini muffin pans with no paper liners for this recipe, but you can also prepare metal mini muffin pans with paper liners. Also, I found that there are different sized mini muffin pans out there, so your yield and baking time may vary a bit. The silicone pans I used yield a little bigger mini cupcake than others, which I also happen to like.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat to blend. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then the lemon juice, lemon peel, and food coloring. Batter may look curdled, but that's just fine. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, in 3 additions. Place about 1 tablespoon of batter into bottom of each cupcake hole. Place 1 fresh raspberry on top of the batter, in the center. Cover raspberry with more batter, about 3/4 full. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean. This took about 20 minutes for me, but it will depend on the size of your tins, so pay close attention to your baking time. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan. Cool completely before adding frosting.

for the fresh raspberry buttercream:

Cook the raspberries in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until the raspberries are broken down into a sauce. Set a fine mesh strainer lined with 2 layers of cheese cloth and set over a bowl. Pour the raspberry sauce over the cheese cloth to remove the seeds. Gather up the ends of the cheese cloth and press out all the raspberry juice with the back of a spatula. You should be able to get at least a half cup of juice from this amount of berries, but I can usually press out almost 3/4 of a cup. Pour the raspberry juice back in the pot. Simmer until the juice reduces to a 1/4 cup. It will be a very rich red and concentrated sauce. Set aside to cool completely.

With a mixer, cream the butter with a paddle attachment on medium high speed about 2 minutes, until lightened in color and a bit fluffy. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, the 1/4 cup of cooled raspberry sauce, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Mix until smooth. Add another 1-1/2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth. If you want the frosting less stiff, add some milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. I did not add any milk to mine, and thought it was perfect for piping.

to assemble the lemon baby cakes with fresh raspberry buttercream:

Fit a pastry bag with a medium star tip (I used a Wilton #21) and pipe the frosting onto your baby cakes.

Adapted from the fabulous Lime Baby Cakes and Fudgy Spring Brownie Bites.

Disclosure: This post contains an Amazon affiliate link for the silicone mini muffin pans. To read the full disclosure of this site, please go here


88 Responses to “Lemon Baby Cakes with Fresh Raspberry Buttercream”

  1. #
    Maria — April 23, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Super cute and perfect for any party!

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      Thanks, Maria!

  2. #
    Marly — April 23, 2013 at 7:36 am

    This almost looks too cute to eat…emphasis on the “almost”!!!

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      Thanks, Marly!

  3. #
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — April 23, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Happy birthday, Tessa! These are so fun. What a fun springy way to celebrate, too. I love the flavor combination!

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      Thank you, Cassie!

  4. #
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — April 23, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Happy Birthday, sweet Tessa! I hope your birthday is as precious as you are!!!

    Brenda, love, love, love these baby cakes!

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      Thank you, Robyn – she had such a great day! :)

  5. #
    Paula - bell'alimento — April 23, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Oh my goodness. So sweet! Happy Birthday Tessa! PS I have a super cute 6 year old boy named Wyatt ; ) He loves cowboy boots. Just throwing that out there LOL

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      Awwwwww…send Wyatt on over, Tessa’s always up for a new friend!

  6. #
    Amanda — April 23, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Such a beautiful sweet girl!! Happy Birthday and Anniversary!

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      Thanks bunches, Amanda! xo

  7. #
    Wendy — April 23, 2013 at 9:12 am

    What and beautiful recipe! The flavor combination sounds like a winner, but they look to good to eat! Happy Birthday to your sweet little girl!!

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      Thank you, Wendy!

  8. #
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — April 23, 2013 at 9:27 am

    These little cupcakes are so lovely! Happy birthday and blogiversary! :)

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      Thank you, Stephanie! :)

  9. #
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme — April 23, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Happy Birthday wishes to Tessa, and Happy Blog-iversary to you! What a perfect little treat to celebrate both occasions. I just love the yellow and red color scheme.

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:16 pm

      Thank you so much, Lana! :)

  10. #
    Kristin — April 23, 2013 at 11:58 am

    YUM! If they taste as good as they look (and I’m sure they do!) you’ve got a winner!

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:16 pm

      They surely do! ;) Thanks, Kristin!

  11. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — April 23, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Love how bright that buttercream is! Yum!

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:16 pm

      Isn’t that color fabulous?!?! Thanks, Katrina. :)

  12. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — April 23, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    These are so, so cute! Love the flavor combo and the fresh raspberry buttercream. Perfect for a celebration!

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      Thank you, Laura! :)

  13. #
    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — April 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Happy Birthday Tessa! I am loving the bright colors on these gorgeous little cupcakes! Lemon + raspberry is one combination I simply cannot resist.

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      Lovely to hear from you, Hayley – thank you! :)

  14. #
    Shaina — April 23, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    So cute! I love the little raspberry tucked inside, too! Happy birthday, Tessa!

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      Thanks, Shaina! {xo}

  15. #
    Mom — April 23, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    These are even tastier than they look! We were able to indulge in these mini cupcakes over the weekend while visiting. Loved that raspberry surprise in the middle. Happy birthday dear Tessa, and congratulations to you Brenda, on your third anniversary of your awesome blog. So proud of you!!

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      Thanks bunches and bunches and bunches, Mom. xo

  16. #
    Suzan @ The Lazy Suzan — April 23, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Happy birthday to beautiful Tessa! This sounds like a great recipe, thanks for sharing!

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      Thank you, Suzan!

  17. #
    DessertForTwo — April 23, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    These are stunning! So perfect for a perfect little girl :)

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      Thank you so much, Christina! :)

  18. #
    Heather || Heather's Dish — April 23, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Happy birthday to your sweet girl! What a beautiful way to celebrate :)

  19. #
    Amy — April 23, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Congratulations on the blogging anniversary – and the birthday. I enjoy your recipes, your photos and your stories. Hope Year 4 is just as exciting for you!

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 11:57 am

      Thank you so much, Amy! :)

  20. #
    Laurie Jesch-Kulseth @ Relishing It — April 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Happy birthday to your sweet, Tessa! The treats look perfect for her. Happy Blogging Anniversary as well, Brenda! So glad that I’ve met you through blogging– hope to see you soon!

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 11:57 am

      Thank you so much, Laurie. I do hope we can meet up again soon!! :)

  21. #
    Jess — April 24, 2013 at 3:10 am

    What a sweet girl, Brenda – a very happy birthday to her! I love that she loves lemon desserts – I always assume that fruit desserts are a hard sell for kids, but that’s really only because I never appreciated them until I was an adult. I was a chocolate-only child. ;) I love the image of the two of you together in the raspberry patch!

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 11:51 am

      Thanks, Jess! Tessa would pick a fruity dessert over chocolate any day of the week, but loves it all.

  22. #
    Jessica@AKitchenAddiction — April 24, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Gorgeous little treats to celebrate your beautiful daughter’s birthday!

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Thank you so much, Jessica. :)

  23. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — April 24, 2013 at 10:29 am

    These cakes are absolutely adorable, just like Tessa! Happy birthday to your sweet, sunshiney girl and happy blogiversary to you, Brenda! Thanks for sharing all of the lovely recipes you have.

    • Brenda replied on April 24th, 2013 at 11:42 am

      Thank you, thank you, sweet Georgia. :)

  24. #
    Kari — April 24, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Happy Birthday Tessa!! Wish we could be there to celebrate with you! (have one or two of those baby cakes for me! they look yummy!)

  25. #
    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — April 24, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Totally adorable! Happy Birthday to your little cowgirl! Love the cupcakes, stunning.

  26. #
    Aggie — April 24, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I adore this post Brenda! How sweet is your little girl, Happy Birthday!!! These baby cakes are just perfect.

    • Brenda replied on April 25th, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      Thank you, my friend! :)

  27. #
    Gretchen — April 24, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Hope Tessa had a wonderful birthday. The cupcakes look lovely.

    • Brenda replied on April 25th, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      Ohhhh, she surely did, thank you! :)

  28. #
    Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective — April 24, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    These cupcakes look beautiful, Brenda! And Happy Birthday to your sweet Tessa! :)

    • Brenda replied on April 25th, 2013 at 6:41 pm

      Thank you, Sommer! :)

  29. #
    Deborah — April 24, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Happy birthday to Tessa – and what a great treat to celebrate with. Also happy blog birthday – all kinds of celebrating going on!!

    • Brenda replied on April 25th, 2013 at 6:41 pm

      Thanks, Deborah! :)

  30. #
    Kelly Senyei | Just a Taste — April 25, 2013 at 11:24 am

    These are absolutely gorgeous little tastes! A very happy birthday to your little one!

    • Brenda replied on April 25th, 2013 at 6:41 pm

      Thank you so much, Kelly! :)

  31. #
    TidyMom — April 26, 2013 at 6:47 am

    She’s so adorable Brenda!! and so are the cupcakes!!

    • Brenda replied on April 26th, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      Thanks, Cheryl! :)

  32. #
    Diane {Created by Diane} — April 26, 2013 at 10:44 am

    these sure are party perfect, love the bright colors!

  33. #
    Shayna — April 26, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    These look sooo delicious!! I am just making them now! However I do not have a silicone pan or cupcake liners.. should I grease the muffin pan or not?!

  34. #
    Chelsie Runnings — May 5, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    I would love to make these and take into work, can I alter it to make it gluten free for the boss?

    • Brenda replied on May 5th, 2013 at 7:19 pm

      Hello Chelsie – I am sure there is a way to make these gluten free, but I am not versed in how to do that. I hope you find a way to make this recipe work!

  35. #
    Courtney — July 3, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    These look amazing! Do you think I could just make one whole cake? Any idea on how many cake pans or how long to cook them for? Thanks!

  36. #
    Mallory — August 27, 2013 at 8:27 pm


    Just wanted to say thanks for the great recipe. I have made these cupcakes for two different events and had a hit both times! I’ve actually had the recipe requested, don’t worry I referred the folks to your blog. Thanks for sharing!


  37. #
    Tammy — January 20, 2014 at 3:50 am

    Can i substitute raspberry’s with strawberry’s?

    • Brenda replied on January 20th, 2014 at 6:52 pm

      I have never tried using strawberries. I think it would be less flavorful, unless you were using fresh picked strawberries. But let me know if you give it a try!

  38. #
    Niyati — May 15, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Hi Brenda, this is a lovely recipe and I’m thinking to use your frosting recipe for my son’s 2nd birthday cake – he wants a big red bus! I wonder, can I make this the night before and if so how should i store it? I want to add decorative piping and smaller knick nacks onto it to complete the look, do you recommend decorating / piping etc on the morning of serving the cake or should it be refridgerated a while?

  39. #
    Aleisha — May 20, 2014 at 9:28 am

    I made these last year and they were DELICIOUS. Thank you so much for the recipe!! I do have one question though – when I made them before, the buttercream wasn’t nearly as bright as yours… Any idea how to solve this? Maybe I didn’t reduce the juice enough?

    • Brenda replied on May 21st, 2014 at 7:11 am

      Hello Aleisha, I’m so glad you liked these. The last time I made a recipe using the fresh raspberry sauce, I measured out the amount of juice I got from the raspberries. I have updated this recipe since receiving your comment, if you want to take a look. When I squeeze out the raspberry juice in the cheese cloth, I spend a fair amount of time doing it and can usually get almost 3/4 cup of juice. Then it gets cooked down to 1/4 cup, where it’s deep red and a bit syrupy. Maybe you didn’t have quite as much juice to start with? I have used this concept many times and always get that brilliant color. I say, give it another try. They’re just so yummy! :)

  40. #
    Allison — May 23, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Oh my goodness. I just made this frosting and it is soooo good! I’m using it on cupcakes for my graduation reception! Thank you!! :)

  41. #
    Jeannette Hubbart — May 27, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    This frosting looks so good! Do you think it would be enough to frost a two layer cake?

  42. #
    Saleena — March 31, 2015 at 12:59 am

    Just made these and will be making them again soon. The frosting is probably the best i have ever had. Its so flavorful and not sickly sweet like many icings. Then you add it to the lemon cakes and the combo its amazing. :)

    • Brenda replied on April 3rd, 2015 at 8:44 am

      So happy to know you liked these, yay!!

  43. #
    Erin — April 16, 2015 at 6:16 am

    I was wondering about how long you reduce the raspberry juice to make it thicker like a syrup? I had mine on the stove for quite some time and I got the deep red color but it was still thin. It made the frosting turn out with a weird texture.

    • Brenda replied on April 20th, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      It does take awhile, Erin. I make sure that I squeeze every bit of raspberry juice out of the berries, aiming for that 3/4 cup of juice that’s listed in the recipe. Then after I can see that the juice has reduced considerably, I just pour the raspberry liquid into a liquid measure 1 to 2 times until I get the desired 1/4 cup of reduced juice. It should be super dark red and a bit thickened. I’ve made this frosting many times and it always turns out great – I hope you’ll give it another try!


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