lemon raspberry cupcakes.

so i guess i’m kind of a baking snob.

i don’t know. maybe i’m not. when it comes to baking, i truly believe that baking from-scratch yields the best tasting, highest quality results, not to mention the sense of satisfaction that comes with creating something delicious all on your own.

but i’m starting to feel bad for snubbing nearly every convenience item in the baking section of the grocery store.

frosting in a can? no thanks. pre-made graham cracker crust? pssh, why pay more when i can make it for pennies at home?

cake mix? oh boy. for me, that’s always been the biggest offender.

boxed cake mix seems to be the red-headed stepchild of the baking community (sorry redheads!): everybody likes to pick on it, but there are a few people actually like it.

i will always and forever prefer baking a cake from scratch over opening a box of mix. always. but i can’t fault people for using it. it’s convenient and quick. and though it seems crazy to me,  i’ve learned that some people actually prefer boxed mix to homemade.

i’ll give you time to pick your jaws up off the floors.

yes, that’s right. some prefer boxed mix to a from-scratch, homemade with love cake. and who am i to scoff at them?

i obviously prefer baking from scratch because i’m a baker. it’s what i’m going to school for. baking is fun for me. relaxing. therapeutic. it’s just what i love to do.

for other people, it’s a pain in the ass. and i totally get that.

so in an effort to not seem like a big jerkface, i wanted to make you something simple. something you can make in 30 minutes that’s perfect for summer.

and because i’m a team player, i used boxed cake mix. yes, it was weird for me. but i’ll be damned if it wasn’t easy!

the chances of me baking with boxed cake mix in the future? probably slim to none. but fourth of july is this weekend, and i know you’d rather be spending time with friends and family than stuck in the kitchen. ergo, these lemon raspberry cupcakes.

i doctored this boxed mix up a bit, adding fresh lemon juice and zest for brightness, and a bit of vanilla bean paste to give it some depth of flavor.

i dotted the tops with fresh raspberries, and the resulting cupcakes were very reminiscent of raspberry lemonade. not too shabby.

so if you’re going to a cookout or potlock, are short on time in the kitchen, or are just feeling lazy and don’t want to bake from scratch (we’re totally all guilty of this!), make these cupcakes! kids love them, and they couldn’t be easier to make.

no muss, no fuss. i mean, sometimes you want a little muss and fuss. but for the times that you don’t, there’s lemon raspberry cupcakes.

lemon raspberry cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

one box lemon cake mix (you can use vanilla or butter flavor if you can't find lemon, but add extra lemon zest!)
3 eggs
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about one large lemon's worth)
zest of one lemon
1 cup water (you can substitute milk, buttermilk, or yogurt, i just didn't have any!)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (substitute 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract if you don't have paste)
one pint fresh raspberries

Directions:

preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

line two standard muffin pans with paper liners, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. set aside.

in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, if making by hand), combine the eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice and mix until just combined.

add the oil, vanilla bean paste and water (or milk/buttermilk/yogurt, if substituting), and mix until just combined.

add the cake mix, and mix on low until combined, then increase speed to medium and beat for two minutes until smooth and glossy.

portion the batter into the cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 the way up the sides. i used a standard ice cream scoop for even portioning.

once all the batter is portioned into the cups, tap the pans lightly against the counter to release any air bubbles.

place three raspberries on top of each cupcake, dome side up, pressing the berries slightly into the batter to ensure they'll stay put.

bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees F for 18-21 minutes, or until the cupcakes are domed, lightly golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. another way to check for doneness is by inserting a toothpick in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

remove the pans from the oven, and allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before carefully removing them and transferring to a wire baking rack to cool completely.

the cupcakes will keep in the fridge stored in an airtight container for up to three days.

serve these cupcakes with lightly sweetened freshly whipped cream, lemon curd, raspberry jam, or your favorite buttercream. might i suggest this mascarpone swiss buttercream?

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7 Responses to “lemon raspberry cupcakes.”

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    1
    Annalise — June 30, 2011 at 10:24 am

    While I never use them because it just seems absurd, I really like the taste of yellow cake from a box mix. There’s something about all those processed, unrecognizable ingredients that embody “yellow cake” for me. In fact, I’ve tried to recreate that in a homemade cake and just can’t.

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    JulieD — June 30, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    I’m not ashamed to admit that I sometimes use boxed mixes. I do both mix and scratch baking. I don’t like the haters and the judgers…let people do what they’re going to do and don’t judge me. Your recipe looks fantastic and I do want to try it. Your cupcake tin looks so cute too! What brand is it?

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    3
    Sasha @ The Procrastobaker — July 1, 2011 at 12:46 am

    I can totally relate to everything you said above, i would just feel guilty if i served up something using a cake mix! This being said, i do happen to have a box of plain old cake mix which has been idly sitting in the old cupboard which needs to be used, and lemon + raspberries being two of my favourite flavours, I might just give these a go :)

  4. #
    4
    Home with Mandy — July 1, 2011 at 7:54 am

    You have GREAT photos in this post!

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    5
    Lenore — July 2, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    I’ll admit…I have a few boxes of cake mix in my pantry. I cave and use them when I want to make something super quick (and usually mixer-less)…but I never make them “according to the directions on the box”. So much more fun to doctor them up ;)

    Lemon and raspberry are such a good flavor combinations, and your photos are gorgeous!

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    Marilyn • Forkful — August 10, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Yup, clipped this to my Evernote Recipe Notebook. You’re right about sometimes not wanting so much of the fuss and muss. This recipes definitely absolves a harried kitchen crawler of longer prep, but sounds like that doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor with these cupcakes.

    Adam and I are fiends for lemon and raspberry, respectively, so I’m really looking forward to giving these a go! Thank you for the recipe and the neat serving options — I wouldn’t have thought to go beyond ice cream.

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