Delicious Lemon Blackberry Cupcakes (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
As I’m covered in snow waiting for spring like the most of the country (before I go back home to Cali), I needed a little something light and spring-like. I just miss those light and fresh flavors, who is with me? I sometimes get too caught up in seasonal baking and remember that I don’t HAVE to bake seasonal, there are lemons at the market all year! I’ve been really craving some type of lemon muffin or lemon bread, but decided to make some lemon cupcakes because I wanted to fill them with a jam. Who doesn’t love fresh berries with lemon?
The inspiration behind these cupcakes was actually from a mistaken grocery delivery. I had ordered a large container of blueberries, and they delivered blackberries instead. Since I don’t eat too many blackberries (they’re higher in fodmap in larger servings), I decided to boil them down, make a jam from it and fill the cupcakes. I also put it into the buttercream frosting. And it was the happiest mistake.... these cupcakes are out of this world! They have a fresh lemon cake and the blackberry jam has a slight tang. It balances perfectly with the sweet buttercream frosting!
If you don’t have blackberries or want to keep these low fodmap, you can replace the blackberries with raspberries or blueberries. Any berries would be amazing with lemon! They were made for each other. These cupcakes are gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free. The buttercream is made with dairy free butter and powdered sugar, but you could use powdered monkfruit here or even powdered coconut sugar if you like that nuttier flavor. See my notes below on how to make your own powdered sugar. These are the best healthier treat and gluten free dessert I’ve made all year! They are also FODMAP friendly.
These lemon blackberry cupcakes are gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free!
Like all of my bakes, I never use dairy, gluten or refined sugar. These cupcakes are sweetened with coconut sugar but you can use any granulated sugar of your choice. I also used dairy free butter and all purpose gluten free flour blend. They’re so delicious you’d never know!
What is in these gluten free lemon blackberry cupcakes?
Lemons! The hero of this recipe! It is important to use real fresh lemon juice, the bottled kind will be very bitter and does not bake well
Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend: I used Bob’s Red Mill but King Arthur blend, or other 1:1 gluten free flours would work too
Dairy Free Butter: I use Earth Balance Sticks or Miyoko’s butter here, but any non dairy or grass fed real butter will work
Baking Powder: This helps to give your cupcakes a night rise and fluff
Pure Vanilla Extract: This gives your cupcakes and frosting a hint of vanilla
Non-Dairy Milk: As always I used Oatly, but any milk of choice works
Eggs: These bind and fluff your cupcakes. You can try a replacement with aquafaba for a vegan sub but I haven’t tried this yet
Coconut Sugar: I love coconut sugar as you know. This keeps the cupcakes lower in sugar (which you make up for in the frosting!), but any granulated sweetener will work in replacement. PSA: Coconut sugar does not taste like coconut!
Powdered Sugar: For the buttercream frosting. You can make your own unrefined powdered sugar for a paleo-style frosting. See below!
Blackberries: For your homemade jam filling and buttercream. If you don’t want to make your own filling, you can use any spread or jam. But my jam only takes 5 minutes!
Maple Syrup or Honey: Just a touch to sweeten the jam filling
Tapioca Starch: This thickens up the blackberries into a jam, you can also use arrowroot starch
The 5 minute berry jam filling!
Don’t be intimated by making this filling. You literally just heat and smash the berries on the stovetop, add a touch of sweetener and some tapioca starch to gel it up into a jam. It takes just about 5 minutes.
What special kitchen tools do I need?
A hand mixer to make the batter and the buttercream frosting
A piping bag for icing (optional), or a ziploc bag, the corner can be cut off and used to pipe
Can I make these gluten free lemon cupcakes into muffins?
Yes! They would be great muffins because they’re not too sweet. I’d skip the frosting and maybe even add some chopped blackberries, or berries of choice, into the batter! And top with fresh berries before baking.
How to store the lemon blackberry cupcakes:
These store well on the counter for a day then transfer to fridge in airtight container. They are good in the fridge for up to 7 days, and in the freezer for up to 6 months. I suggest they are wrapped individually (without the frosting is recommended) and tightly with wrap before frozen. They are great reheated if frosting is removed.
How do I make my own unrefined powdered sugar?
To make your own unrefined powdered sugar, place any granulated sweetener in a high speed blender for 30-60 seconds. I use my Vitamix and place the sugar in my dry container. I prefer to use coconut sugar because it is my go to low glycemic sweetener but you can use any granulated sugar, even monkfruit. Powdered sugar is great to have on hand for frostings, icings, and shortbread cookies so I like to make a bunch and store it for later.
The lemon cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour I use Bob's
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted non-dairy butter* I use Mikoyo’s
3/4 cup coconut sugar or granulated sweetener
2 large eggs room temp
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup non-dairy milk I use Oatly
Zest of 2 lemons (about 1 tbsp+)
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (roughly 2 lemons)
The jam filling:
1 cup of blackberries, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp tapioca starch + 1 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp+ of honey or maple syrup
2 cups powdered sugar, or unrefined powdered sugar**
1/2 cup non-dairy butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp non-dairy milk
1 tbsp of blackberry jam, above
How to make the lemon blackberry cupcakes:
1. Make the jam filling. In a small saucepan over medium heat, boil down blackberries or berries on stove with a splash of water. Once they’re hot, smash them until puréed.
2. In small bowl, mix together tapioca starch and warm water until dissolved. Add in this tapioca water and the maple syrup/sweetener to the blackberries and mix well. Taste and make more sweet if needed.
3. Take off stove and let cool, it’ll gel up like jam. I didn’t strain mine, I kept the seeds but strain through a mesh strainer if you’d like! For thicker or seedier jam, add 1 tbsp chia seeds to the mix. Set aside 1 tbsp of jam for the frosting.
4. Line a muffin tin with wrappers and set your oven to 350F. Set aside.
5. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. (If your butter is salted, use only a pinch of salt instead)
6. In another medium bowl, add the coconut sugar, softened butter stick and beat on high with a hand mixer or stand mixer until this becomes light and fluffy. It’ll take 3-4 minutes. This gives your cupcakes the fluff so the longer you mix the better.
7. Now add in both eggs and vanilla and mix until just incorporated. Add in half the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix. Scrape the sides so it's all mixed.
8. Add milk, lemon juice and zest and mix until just combined. Now add in the rest of the dry ingredients and mix again until a smooth batter forms. I used a hand mixer for this step but you can mix with a spoon or whisk as well. Do not overmix the batter, just until it’s well combined and no lumps remain.
9. Fill your muffin tins 3/4 the way full, evenly across all 12. Tap and shake the pan so makes sure air bubbles are out. Bake for 18-20 minutes until tops are brown and toothpick comes out clean.
10. Transfer to a cool rack and let cool to room temperature.
11. Once cooled, cut little circles in the top centers of the cupcakes for the filling. Cut about 2/3 down into the cupcake and remove the cake to create a cavity. Save pieces for topping them after. Fill each cupcake cavity with a spoonful of jam (about 1 tsp per cupcake), and put the pieces removed back on top. Set aside while you prepare frosting.
Prepare the blackberry buttercream frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, add powdered sugar and cut in the dairy free butter. With a hand mixer, mix until you have pea sized crumbles. Add in non-dairy milk, vanilla, and the tbsp of the blackberry jam that was set aside. Mix again until a frosting forms and no lumps remain.
If it’s too wet, add more powdered sugar until it reaches desired thickness. If it’s too dry, add in 1 tsp of milk until it loosens up. Optional to taste — add another 1/2 tsp vanilla and/or another tbsp of blackberry jam to the frosting for more flavor, if desired.
Once the cupcakes are cooled and filled with jam, either pipe the frosting on with a piping bag or just out of the corner of a ziploc bag. You can also frost these old school style with a knife!
These store well on the counter for a day then transfer to fridge in airtight container. They are good in the fridge for up to 7 days, and in the freezer for up to 6 months.
The butter used is salted, reduce the amount of salt in the cake recipe to just a pinch of salt.
Any berries will work in this recipe
The buttercream will make just enough to frost 12 cupcakes. If you prefer frosting piled high, double the recipe!
Be sure to use real fresh lemon juice, not bottled lemon juice. It will make them very bitter.
To make your own unrefined powdered sugar, place any granulated sweetener in a high speed blender for 30-60 seconds.
If you make these delicious gluten free lemon blackberry cupcakes, leave me comments or ratings below, I love to hear from you. And as always, tag me on Instagram @gutsy_baker!