Pink, Pink, Pink Fresh Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Happy Birthday Ellie!

My babygirl was born 5 years ago today on the first day of Spring.

To start the celebration early, I let her stay up too late last night helping me make cupcakes. Her special request? Raspberry frosting.

OK. That was kind of a surprise, but I had a bag of raspberries in the freezer and this Mom can innovate. I made up this recipe on the spot and darn it if it didn’t turn out pretty fantastic! This frosting is sweet and tangy with a strong raspberry flavor.

But perhaps best of all is the color! Look at that festive bright pink courtesy of the pigment in the natural berries. No food coloring required.

Here are the ingredients for frosting for 20-24 cupcakes. If you are concerned about having enough (as I often am), you may want to increase the recipe by 50% or even double it. It is never a bad thing to have extra frosting, right?:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 ounces of raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons whole milk, room temperature (if needed)

Put the raspberries in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat stirring with a spoon until they break down into a sauce. Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer to take out the seeds and then put the seedless sauce back in the pot and slowly simmer until it reduces to a 1/4 cup of very concentrated raspberry sauce, stirring pretty often. This took about 20 minutes for me. Take your time, you don’t want the sugars to scorch as the puree gets more concentrated.

Check out that shocking blood red. I must remember this when Halloween rolls around again.

Set aside to cool. When the raspberry flavoring is room temperature, cream the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer using a paddle attachment. Then add about 2 cups of powdered sugar, the raspberry sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of kosher salt. Process until smooth. Add another 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and continue to mix until it is spreading consistency adding room temperature milk if needed to make it less stiff.

Taste the frosting. If you like it as is, you’re done. If you want it to be sweeter, add additional powdered sugar and milk to get to the flavor you want.

TA DA! You can’t buy that in a can. If you are curious, the recipe I used for the yellow cake came from the Buttercup Cookbook.

I bet you could use this fruit concentrate method for all manner of frostings flavored with berries and other fruits. The mind boggles. Blackberry Lime? Kiwi? Mango?

Other suggestions people?

61 Comments

  1. Lovely! For a lovely girl!

    Reply
  2. Try it with fresh strawberries, too. I did that for Ian’s b-day cupcakes. Yummmm……..

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  3. It looks beautiful! I’m going to give it a whirl when native strawberries are in season!

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    • Fantastic! Let me know how it turns out. — H

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  4. Thank you so much for the Raspberry Icing recipe. My daughter has an allergy to red dye and this will work perfect for her up coming birthday party. Thank you again.

    Reply
    • This comment made my day! Happy birthday to your beautiful daughter! – H

      Reply
  5. This looks awesome! Exactly how many cupcakes did you frost with this recipe? I’m wondering if I need to double the recipe…

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • I frosted 20 cupcakes. I could have stretched it to 24 if I had been a little less generous with the frosting. — Heather

      Reply
  6. I used 1 tablespoon of ginger juice instead of the lemon. It worked! Can’t wait to taste it on my lemon cake.

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    • How interesting! I just googled ginger . juice. I had never heard of it before. Do you use it often? If so, how?

      Reply
      • Well, I don’t know if that’s the technical term or not. I finely grated ginger root and pressed it to get the juice. I also use it with a multi-berry sauce that I like to put on angel food cake. It’s a great ingredient to make a simple treat fancy.

        Reply
  7. Should you refrigerate this? How long does it keep for?

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    • You can certainly refrigerate the unused frosting in an airtight container for 3-4 days, but you should bring it to room temperature before you use it to frost anything. After you use the frosting on your cake, I would think you could keep it at room temperature for about 3 days. FYI, this article about how to keep cake is really excellent. – H

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  8. Wow…I just tried this frosting and it is A-MAZ-ING!!!! I didn’t use as much sugar but it still came out light and SO flavorful. I will be making this one regularly :)

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  9. I made this today as a trail. Recipe is very good with the hint of lemon and raspberry. I just wish it was a touch less sweet. But it’s good. The color is great for the Minnie Mouse cupcakes and cake I am going to make for my little girls 2nd Birthday.

    Reply
    • I gave some to my neighbors to try. They are a big hit. I just ate one, they are not to sweet now. They are very very good. Definitly a good recipe!

      Reply
  10. I tried this recipe for a co-workers wedding cake. Took samples of the chocolate raspberry cake to work…wow…people LOVED THIS!! This icing tastes like raspberry sherbet!! I had to put the leftovers in the freezer cause my husband was eating it by the spoonful! GREAT recipe! I cannot wait to try it with other fruits.. :D

    Reply
  11. I actually found that Wal-Mart carries 12 oz bags of frozen fruit that are pretty inexpensive – I used the frozen raspberries to make this but they also had blackberries, peaches (those you might have to cook down and then puree), blueberries, strawberries and mixed berry. I just want to turn them all into yummy frosting!

    Reply
  12. Hi! I’m planning on using your recipe for my own 5 year old daughter’s birthday, on chocolate cupcakes! Was this enough icing for one dozen or two dozen? Thanks!

    Reply
  13. Just saw your prior answer (20-24)…one more question- would it work leaving the raspbery seeds/pulp in? I’m going for an ‘earthier’ look, and she wants a fresh raspberry on top of each (the things we do for love!). Thanks!

    Reply
    • Personally, I don’t think leaving in the seeds is a good idea. As it cooks down to the concentrated raspberry puree, the seeds would get too toasty and I just don’t think it would look or taste very good. However, I LOVE the idea of pairing this with chocolate and topping each cupcake with a fresh raspberry. That could look really beautiful and sophisticated. You might also consider sugaring the raspberries and/or putting the tiniest sprig of mint right next to the raspberry for an extra splash of color. Let me know how it turns out. Best, Heather

      Reply
      • In your last picture it looks like the frosting is shimmering. Did you add some sugar on top or something? I see larger granules but there is almost a fine, glittery look to the frosting? I am so excited to try this on my favorite chocolate cake for Christmas!!

        Reply
        • Hi Michelle – Yes, I sprinkled the cupcakes with pink sanding sugar at the end. I bet this would be terrific with chocolate cake and maybe some fresh raspberries for garnish. Just thinking about it makes me hungry. – Heather

          Reply
  14. I got about 17 cupcakes out of the single batch. That is using a good bit on each one though. Recipe is very good. It was a huge hit at my daughters 2nd Birthday in Sept.

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  15. Just made this frosting for the filling of a chocolate cake. It’s awesome!! Thanks Heather!

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  16. I have made this recipe several times now. trying some others in the meantime. This is by far the most eaten of all the ones I have tried.(with Double Choc Fudge cake)
    The only thing I don’t do, is simmer the raspberry sauce after i strained it. I actually just read that…but it works without doing that extra step..so its all good.

    Reply
  17. I just made this buttercream to fill a Valentine Chocolate Cake, and this is probably the best raspberry buttercream I’ve ever had, and I don’t usually use confectioner’s based buttercreams. Not only is the color phenomenal, but it’s like eating a bushel of raspberries! Thank you for this recipe!

    Reply
  18. I just made this today for my daughter’s 5th birthday as well. We loved it. Thank you so much! She has a dairy allergy so I used coconut oil (it’s cool here now, so it worked fine. Not sure it would work in the summer if it’s hot). Also rice milk instead of whole milk. Still turned out great!

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  19. I am going to try this for valentines day with mini heart cakes made with red velvet I’ll let you know how it turns out!! I am so excited to try this, thanks for sharing!

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  20. I don’t know why but mine turned out farrrr to thin.

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    • Sorry to hear that. Two things I can think of. One, you must make sure that you really boil down the raspberry juice until it is 1/4 of a cup. Not only does that concentrate the flavor, it makes it less wet. However, if you did that and it was still too thin, I would suggest that you add more powdered sugar until it reached a more spreadable consistency. Hope you have a better result next time. :) – Heather

      Reply
    • boil your sause to reduce the amout of liquid the flavour will be just the same.

      Reply
  21. Great recipe. I love raspberries. I love the color and that there are NO dyes in this at all! Thanks for sharing.

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  22. mine was really weird because it tasted like blackberries not raspberries

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  23. Do you think it would work with pomegranate juice??? See, I want to make raspberry cupcakes with pomegranate frosting. But I love the recipe and your daughter is adorable!!! Happy birthday!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • I’m sure it would work. Let me know how it turns out.

      Reply
  24. Oh thank you, you totally saved my but! My daughter’s fifth birthday is in two weeks and she has to have Pink frosting and when I said raspberry she said YEAH! I’ve been all over my normal online resources for Raspberry Buttercream,…it doesn’t exist! :) Thanks!

    Reply
  25. Wow! I just made this and it is amazing.
    -I did find that it was a bit runny as written (no milk). I ended up doing about 6cups of powdered sugar. I paid more attention to the consistancy than the actual amount, sorry!
    -I also have 12 ‘normal’ cupcakes and 12 ‘mini’ cupcakes and I have probably enough to do another round and a half as the result of more sugar. but WOW! you can’t even taste the sugar, just the amazing raspberry flavor.
    -i didn’t strain out the seeds and it was more of a paste than of a sauce. I love how you get the two or three seeds left over after eating one (not that I would be eating cupcakes at 8:30 in the morning!)

    All in all: minor tweaks but AMAZING color and flavor. I might just eat the extra frosting alone! Thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply
  26. Hi I used this for filling my chocolate sponge 2 tier cake and covered it with sugarpaste to create my daughters princess castle cake and it looked and tasted lovely was a big hit with the kids thank you so much. And now been asked to make another for a friend’s daughter any ideas how to make this incorporate for a boys cake pls

    Reply
    • Your cake sounds beautiful and delicious! Regarding an idea for a boys cake, you could try to make this frosting more red with food coloring. Or, I suppose you could try a different fruit all together like blueberries. Happy baking! – H

      Reply
  27. Super easy to make and I skipped the raspberry cooking process and and added 1/2 a cup smuckers no sugar added preserve that comes in both strawberry and raspberry. At the end I topped the icing with a fresh raspberry on each cupcake. So easy and so cute and ofcouse yum.

    Reply
  28. Thank you so much for this recipe and your very thorough instructions. I just made this icing to use as a filling for monte carlo biscuits (typically a separate raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream are used to join two biscuits). It was absolutely perfect for this purpose. I did leave the seeds in for this one purely because aesthetically it was a non-issue and as a bonus there was no discernible taste deficit.

    Reply
  29. Great recipe! Really great tart raspberry flavor. And the color! Hard to believe it is all natural! I followed instructions, just inceased the amounts by half for a bigger batch and ended up with enough frosting for about 60 mini cupcakes. thanks!

    Reply
  30. Great recipe! I used it to make special request vanilla and raspberry cake pops, and the sweetness was just enough.

    Reply
  31. Thank you so much for posting this! My daughter is turning 3 and wanted pink icing on her cake but I don’t like to use artificial food coloring. I was considering using fruit juice or jam, but didn’t consider cooking up raspberries this way. I cooked it the night before and refrigerated it for the icing I made today. Being lazy, I just added it to Trader Joe’s white icing mix. I only needed a TBSP or two to get a really nice pink! And it tastes delicious.

    Reply
  32. How many cupcakes does this recipe frost? I love the color!

    CELIAROSE

    Reply
    • I frosted 20 cupcakes. I could have stretched it to 24 if I had been a little less generous with the frosting. — Heather

      Reply
  33. I made this one and it was the best frosting I ever had! Soooooooo YUMMY!

    CELIAROSE

    Reply
  34. Hi Heather,
    Your cupcakes look absolutely delicious. I’m actually trying your recipe right now. I do have a question thought: how do you make the frosting smooth and not have a sandy texture (from the sugar). I’ve been mixing it on high speed for about 20 min. now and I used powdered sugar, but it doesn’t seem to become creamier at all. I wanna make these cupcakes for my daughter’s 1st B-day and I want everything to be perfect:) Thanks, Roxi.

    Reply
    • Hi Roxi,
      I would suggest that you add a little more liquid to the cupcakes if they aren’t as creamy as you would like. Let me know how it turned out.
      Best,
      Heather

      Reply
  35. Love the color! I tried it and I loved the taste, however mine did not turn this pretty shade of pink that I absolutely love! It turned a light purple. :(

    Reply
  36. Thank you so much for the recipe. I’m always making things from scratch, and I wanted to make some rainbow cupcakes with pink frosting for my son’s class for Valentine’s Day. I made your recipe today (doubled the ingredients), and used frozen strawberries and blackberries. It came out soooooooooo good. I think it will be a hit with the kids tomorrow, eating your nice pink frosting, and then when they bite into the cake. . . SURPRISE!!! Thank you so much. I’m going to try other fruits too. Have a blessed day! P.S. The cupcakes (although strawberry and blackberry) came out the exact same color as yours just a tiny tiny bit lighter.

    Reply
  37. My daughter recently made some birthday cupcakes using the recipe for the frosting you posted. It was the best frosting I have ever had!

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  38. Sounds delicious! I am thinking of using this recipe for a cake I am making and decorating with fondant. Does this frosting need to be refrigerated? If so, I may need to change, because the fondant should not be refrigerated. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Michele,
      This frosting doesn’t need to be refrigerated. In fact, I would recommend that you not refrigerate it. It should be eaten within 48 hours, however.
      Best,
      Heather

      Reply
  39. My friends and I made this and it was the best frosting EVER! THe pink is perfect and natural, and it taste amazing! Thank You!
    Anna

    Reply
  40. 1. About how long did it take to simmer the raspberries down to a syrup?
    2. Is the frosting runny, can I pipe with it?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Diana,
      1. As I recall, it took about 20 minutes to simmer the raspberry juice into a concentrated syrup/puree.
      2. When I make it, the frosting is definitely not runny. The consistency will be determined primarily by amount of milk that you choose to add. You could definitely pipe it.
      Best,
      Heather

      Reply
  41. I make french Macarons on a regular basis, and loved this buttercream as the filling between lightly flavoured pomegranate shells. I did not incorporate any milk, but instead upped the addition of fresh lemon juice to cut through the sweetness and create a little bit more of a zing! The result was beautiful! Quite a versatile buttercream, indeed.

    Reply

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