In place of a formal wedding cake, my friend asked her guests to bring desserts to share at her reception last weekend. I admit, as a budding cook, this was an exciting prospect for several purely selfish reasons—the opportunity to show off my skills! I really looked forward to making something that would really complement the spirit of a summer garden wedding, and which would be fresh, delicious, and fun for everyone.

Despite my weeks of scheming over various dessert recipes, the idea of Lemon cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream was really just a matter of last-minute luck. I happened to buy some lemons simply because they were on sale, and I received some blackberries through a fortuitous turn of events at work–they were supposed to be plated along side some cake my catering company was serving at a reception the night before, but somehow they got missed. When we discovered them at the end of the night, I generously *ahem ahem* offered to take care of them. What that meant was, they came home with me, and I couldn’t resist working them into these sweet little cupcakes. I initially thought to make blackberry cupcakes, but in hindsight I am glad I left the blackberries just to the icing. they were a unique and perfect touch to an-already classic lemon cake recipe.

I thought the addition of pureed and strained blackberries to my icing recipe (added in place of the water) was a brilliant touch…it cut down on the sweetness and added a tangy twist to the dessert that perfectly complimented the lemon in the cake.

Overall, they were a hit, and got rave reviews from people who tried them.

For the Cupcakes:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup  unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
grated zest of 2 lemons
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk

bake at 325.

For the Buttercream:

1 cup of shortening (or butter, I used shortening just because it was less perishable on hot summer evenings)
1 Tbsp. Lemon juice
Half a pint of blackberries (puree and strained, reserving some berries for decorating the cupcakes!)
1 pound  Confectioners Sugar
pinch of salt

If your icing needs to be thinned, consider using fruit juice instead of water to brighten the flavor some more.