Favorite Recipe: Lemon Berry Cupcakes by Pâtisserie Natalie

Hi buddies! This recipe was originally published in 2009 on this site; it's so good that it's worth revisiting. In case it's been a while, or if you have never seen this one before...enjoy!

Lemon Berry Cupcakes by Pâtisserie Natalie

CakeSpy note: since these headnotes were written years ago, obviously a bit out of date. But honestly, that's part of the fun: revisiting the past and reflecting on how many things have changed!

From CakeSpy: When you visit Pâtisserie Natalie, you'll undoubtedly be impressed. The pictures are simply gorgeous; the recipes are creative and sophisticated, yet unfussy. Here's a note from the girl behind the blog:

From Natalie: Hi, my name is Natalie, from Pâtisserie Natalie. I'm so excited to get to do a guest post for CakeSpy; I've been a fan for a long time. I'm a high school student from Seattle who loves photography, food styling, and baking. I've been interested in the arts since I was really little, and found my real calling through blogging. I didn't discover the food blogging world until recently. I also didn't realize how much I would love it. My blog gives me a way to share my design and creative flow with other people, as well as see other artist's work.

Lemon Berry Cupcakes by Pâtisserie Natalie

I started baking more seriously about 2 years ago, but it is now an addiction. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I am more frequently in the kitchen then not. I absolutely cannot stay away from my kitchen aid mixer and my camera. I am self-taught in html/css coding, and do all my own graphics and layout work for my blog (CS Note: she's interested in pursuing a career in web/graphic design and photography).

I decided to make these Lemon Berry Cupcakes because as many people know, Seattle doesn't have that many sunny days during the year. Summer flavors for me are lemon and berries. Seeing as the sunny days are limited, I felt that I needed to make something that used those flavors. While I don't mind the rain at all (I love it, actually), many people are a little bummed that our summer days here are ending. With that in mind, I made these cupcakes as a sort of "summer revival." I've been working on the recipe for this lemon pound cake for a while, but I think I've finally got it. I'm often disappointed by lemon cake, as it doesn't actually taste lemony. That is not a problem for this cake at all. It's very moist and soft, which is not usually the case with pound cake. The frostings are made from raspberries and blackberries, which is why those frostings are



Lemon Pound Cake

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter; softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 5 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk together in a large bowl thoroughly, and set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  5. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar one at a time, beating in between each addition.
  6. With the mixer on a low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the yogurt mixture in 2 parts. Start and end with the flour mixture.
  7. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and scoop even amounts of the batter into the cups, filling almost to the top.
  8. Bake for 16 minutes, rotating the pan after 8 minutes. Once golden brown around the edges, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for at least 2 hours before icing.
Lemon Berry Cupcakes by Pâtisserie Natalie

Blackberry & Raspberry Buttercreams

  • 2-1/2 sticks unsalted butter; softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar; sifted
  • 1/4 cup blackberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup raspberry sauce
  1. Beat butter and 1 cup of powdered sugar until smooth. Divide into two parts, removing half from the mixer bowl. Add the blackberry sauce to the mixer bowl, along with 3/4 cup of powdered sugar. Place buttercream in a piping bag and pipe a circle around the outer edge of the cupcake top, spiraling in towards the center.
  2. In the same mixer bowl, add the remaining half of the butter and powdered sugar that was set aside. Add the raspberry sauce and 3/4 cup powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Place in a piping bag and pipe an extra dollop on top of the blackberry buttercream.

Blackberry Sauce

  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice

Combine ingredients in a sauce pan and place over medium heat. Stir frequently until juices from berries boil. Using a wooden spoon, crush the berries in the pan. Let boil for 2 minutes to make sauce more dense. Strain the mixture if you prefer to have smoother frostings. Cool in refrigerator.

Raspberry Sauce

  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice

Combine ingredients in a sauce pan and place over medium heat. Stir frequently until juices from berries boil. Let boil for 2 minutes to make sauce more dense. Cool in refrigerator.

10 Things to Do With Chocolate Shot Glasses

Guess what? Recently, I received a package containing CHOCOLATE SHOT GLASSES.


The package was sent to me by Little Bird, a purveyor of "curious confections". They sent me their spicy jalapeno chocolate shot glasses in milk and dark chocolate. Note: they haven't paid me to write this post, but they did send me the parcel at no charge. 


These shot glasses are alarmingly adorable, and delightfully edible. I am just tickled by the idea! The spicy version is great if you like your sweets with a contrasting kick.

But even more than the flavor, what I really got to thinking about with these chocolate shot glasses was the many ways in which they could be creatively used. So here, I'm going to detail 10 awesome ideas for what you could do with these shot glasses! 

1. M-m-m-ilk shots!

Plain and simple, shoot the milk then eat the cup. Pictured at the top of the post.

2. Ganache shots. 

Good idea: fill your chocolate shot glasses with more chocolate. You're welcome.



3. Whipped cream shots. 

Forget eating whipped cream from the can, unless the can is made of chocolate! Eat it from a chocolate shot glass instead. 


4. Molecular gastronomy s'mores. 

I promise I wasn't high or anything, but I had this vision of toasting a marshmallow, doming a chocolate shot glass on top (to make it all gooey and warm) and then smashing it all between two graham crackers. It was a beautiful thought. 


5. Tiny dessert servings.

My my, aren't you dainty. A tiny portion of cake would sit pretty in one of these shot glasses.


6. Fill them and then bake them in cupcakes. 

Perhaps inspired by my friend Megan Seling, I thought about putting one of these shot glasses (filled with candy of course) into some cupcake batter then baking it up. It seemed like a not-bad idea to me. 


7. Frosting shooters. 

I figured, some people (like my sister) just lick the frosting off of cake. Maybe this would be a better delivery system?


8. Drop a shot of marshmallows or whipped cream into your hot chocolate. 

I thought that this could be a great idea: fill a chocolate shot glass with marshmallows, then pop it into your hot chocolate. It seems like it could delay the melting and distribution of the marshmallows just enough to heighten the experience; plus, more chocolate. 


9. Ice cream topper. 

Well, that's a cute idea. 


10. Cute dessert serving sauce tool. 

What an elegant way to serve a little sauce alongside a dessert!


What's your favorite idea for using chocolate shot glasses?



How to Make Choux Pastry

Q: What do you call a unicorn combined with a cream puff? 



You might feel like you have no idea what pâte à choux is, but trust me, you've had it before. It's the dough that's used to make, among other things, cream puffs and eclairs. It's a good thing to know how to make, as it offers many delicious rewards AND let's face it, people are always impressed when you can make something French.


This is my adaptation of a recipe I originally found on Eugenie Kitchen. I've made a few tweaks that make it a little different just in ways that suit my personal style (ie I am lazy), but she is clearly an incredible baker and provided the perfect template and recipe ratios! 

Everyone should have a great pâte à choux recipe in their repertoire. Here's mine! 


Pâte à Choux

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces 
  • ½ cup water 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

In a thick-bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, water, and salt. Heat over medium until the butter is totally melted and the mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat, and stir in the flour immediately. 

Put the pan back on low heat, and cook until it easily forms into a ball (this won't take long at all, a minute or maybe less). Let it cool slightly (for just 2-3 minutes) so it doesn't scramble your eggs in the next step. 

Now, you want to incorporate the eggs into the mixture. Me, I did this by putting the choux dough in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, starting to mix on low, and slowly pouring in the egg mixture. Stir until the mixture is thick, cohesive, and shiny. 

Now, your pâte à choux is ready to use! Spoon mounds of it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, or load it into a piping bag and pipe portions on to the sheet. You want them to be nice and mounded so that you get that "puff" that makes cream puffs so special. This dough can be used to make cream puffs, eclairs, or other pastries like profiteroles or religieuse. 

To bake your pâte à choux, bake in a preheated 375 degree oven. In general, the bake time will be 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your pastries. 

If you make bigger portions, you do run the risk of your pastries deflating after they're removed from heat. Personally I don't sweat this, I just slice 'em open and fill them with more cream. 

Have you ever made pâte à choux?

Another Family's Classic Cornstarch Pudding Recipe

You down with OPP? Yeah you know ME! 


Allow me to clarify: when I say "OPP" I mean, of course, "other people's pudding". And I don't mean it as a euphemism.

I literally mean that I am, in fact, down with making and eating other people's pudding recipes.

Case in point: this classic cornstarch pudding recipe. It's a reader's family recipe, originally from Edie Bliss. It shared with me, and I made it, and I want to share the recipe with you.

Let me tell you how it went down. 

So, I have this Facebook page for CakeSpy, and one of my favorite things to do there is to ask people's opinions on various dessert-related things. For instance, I might ask "what is your favorite cake to enjoy with cream cheese frosting?" or something along those lines. I love reading people's responses. If you like talking about stuff like that, definitely check out my Facebook page! 


On a recent crowd-sourcing conversation with readers, someone mentioned a unique pudding recipe in their family archives which includes vanilla, almond, AND lemon extracts. I was like "ooh!". 

Sure enough, not long later, that reader's daughter sent along the recipe! (title of the email I received: "Subject: My Mother's Pudding Recipe That You Were Interested In: Cornstarch Pudding").

I made it yesterday, and I have to tell you, this pudding is very, very special.


For one thing, it's crazy-easy to make. You need like, zero skills and five minutes, and you can make this pudding, and it is glorious.

It is delicious and tastes like it took way more skill and time than it really did.

For another thing, it's delicious. I love recipes with lemon, almond, OR vanilla extract, but I don't believe I have ever combined all three in one recipe. While the pudding looks like a standard vanilla pudding, it has a truly unique flavor which has echoes of almond and lemon and will truly intrigue your taste buds!

Perhaps more importantly, I loved the intimate look that this recipe gave me into another family's traditions. Part of what makes foods so special is who you share them with, so for me, this was a beautiful way to interact with readers and see what type of food is part of their loving memories. It makes my heart sparkle, the very thought! 

In terms of eating: I loved this pudding still warm, but it's also great chilled. 

Thanks to Juli and Judi for sharing this recipe! It's a keeper, for sure. I'm keeping the recipe formatted just as it was sent! 

Cornstarch pudding

4 servings 

  • 1/3 C. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch 
  • ¼ tsp. salt

Mix these three together in a medium-size pan.

  • 2 egg yolks

Add to sugar mixture, and mix again.

  • 2 C. milk (2% or whole)

Add very gradually and stir well. Cook until it bubbles.

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. lemon extract 
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract

Remove pudding from heat and stir in.



For chocolate pudding, add 4 ozs. melted bitter chocolate and increase sugar by ¼ C. Omit almond and lemon extracts.

(Mom used the leftover egg whites to make meringue cookies or something else. Nothing went to waste!)

Do you have a favorite pudding recipe in your family?

Funfetti Explosion Birthday Ice Cream Cake

If you were a unicorn, what would you be eating at right this very minute? I can tell you what I'd be eating. THIS:

 Reprinted with permission from   Secret-Layer Cakes   by Dini Kodippili, Page Street Publishing Co. Photo credit: Kodippili

Reprinted with permission from Secret-Layer Cakes by Dini Kodippili, Page Street Publishing Co. Photo credit: Kodippili

This splendid and magnificent thing is called "Funfetti Explosion Birthday Ice Cream Cake," and it is featured in the new book Secret-Layer Cakes by Dini Kodippili. Oh, you might know her as the celeb blogger behind The Flavor Bender. I'm kind of friends with her. It's no big (it's totally a big!). 

I should also tell you that recently, Dini made some donuts inspired by MY recent book, Stuff Unicorns Love. Be sure to check out that post, too! 

Her publisher was kind enough to grant permission for me to share this incredible masterpiece on CakeSpy. Please, promise me you'll make it every day? Here's the headnote from Dini and then the recipe. Enjoy! 



Funfetti Explosion Birthday Ice Cream Cake

This cake looks like a funfetti cannon exploded all over it. Kids love rainbow colors and funfetti, so it'll be perfect for a summer birthday party! A fudgy blondie layer is packed with funfetti and topped with a cake batter-flavored funfetti ice cream layer. Top it with some sparklers to complete the look. 

Makes one 8-inch (20-cm) cake

Funfetti Blondie Layer

  • 170 g (6 oz) unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 250 g (8.8 oz) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175 g (6.2 oz) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (113 g) funfetti (rainbow) sprinkles

Funfetti Cake Batter Ice Cream Layer

  • ¼ cup (59 ml) whipping cream
  • ¼ cup (61 g) milk powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.9 L (64 oz [4 pints]) vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 1½ cups (339 g) funfetti (rainbow) sprinkles

Stabilized Whipped Cream

  • ½ cup (118 ml) water
  • 3¾ tsp (19 g) powdered gelatin
  • 5 cups (1 L) plus 1–2 tbsp (15-30 ml) chilled whipping cream, divided
  • 1 cup (130 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple gel food coloring

To Decorate

  • Funfetti sprinkles
  • M&M’s® candies

Funfetti Blondie Layer

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter an 8-inch (20-cm) wide, 3-inch (8-cm) tall springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and dust the sides with flour. Melt the butter, salt and brown sugar in a heatproof bowl in 30-second intervals in the microwave. Stir to form a smooth butter-sugar mixture. Set aside to let cool slightly.

Once the butter-sugar mix has cooled, add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and the flour. Fold in the funfetti sprinkles.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes (the blondie should still be soft and fudgy in the middle). Let the blondie cool in the pan.

When it has cooled, line the sides with parchment paper or acetate paper. Refrigerate the blondie layer until the ice cream is ready.

Funfetti Cake Batter Ice Cream Layer

Microwave the cream until it’s warm, but not hot. Add the milk powder and dissolve it completely. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Let cool.

Place the softened vanilla ice cream in a bowl, add the cooled milk powder mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the funfetti sprinkles. Spread the ice cream over the funfetti blondie.

Place the ice cream in the freezer until it freezes and hardens completely. This makes it easier to frost the cake quickly.

Stabilized Whipped Cream

Place the water in a small bowl and evenly sprinkle the gelatin over it. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes to let the gelatin bloom. Microwave the bloomed gelatin in 10-second intervals, stirring in between, until the gelatin is completely dissolved (making sure that the gelatin does not boil).

Add 5 cups (1.2 L) of the chilled whipping cream and confectioners’ sugar to a cold bowl. Whisk with the whisk attachment of your hand mixer on medium speed. Add the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) of chilled cream to the hot, dissolved gelatin and stir to temper the gelatin. Add this gradually to the cream that is being whipped (being careful to pour it near the whisk, so that the gelatin gets mixed in with the cream immediately!). Whisk gently until you get soft peaks that still hold their shape. Use immediately.

Work quickly to frost the frozen ice cream cake. Divide the whipped cream into 7 portions, then combine two to make one larger portion (so that you have 5 small portions and 1 double portion). Color the small portions with red, orange, yellow, green and blue gel food coloring. Color the double portion with purple.


Remove the completely frozen funfetti ice cream cake from the freezer, and unmold from the springform pan.

Spread the whipped cream on the sides of the cake to create a rainbow pattern—either rainbow patches, or rainbow ombre stripes—starting with red at the bottom and purple at the top edge and on the top of the cake.

You can use the leftover whipped cream to pipe rainbow swirls on top of the cake as well.

Sprinkle some funfetti sprinkles and M&M's on top (in the center). Return the cake to the freezer until you’re ready to serve. 

Who in your life needs this cake? 

People Love Stuff Unicorns Love!

Today, I'd like to discuss a subject near and dear to me: namely, how great I am.

Joking aside, I must say with all honesty that I've been humbled and absolutely delighted by some of the wonderful accolades which have been heaped upon my newest book, Stuff Unicorns Love.

If you're not familiar with my book, allow me to share the cover...

and the Amazon synopsis:

"A whimsical, humorous imagining of what unicorns really think and what they truly love—including recipes for unicorn food, crafts, and the history of these mythical creatures.

Glitter. Sparkles. Rainbows and shimmering manes. Sure, unicorns are magical, and their reputations have taken the world by storm, but how much do we know about what unicorns reallythink? What’s their favorite cookie? What about their favorite color? Would they really drink that pastel milkshake you found on Pinterest?

They sure would!

In Stuff Unicorns Love, you’ll get a guided tour of unicorns’ most treasured things straight from a unicorn’s mouth—from food recipes and crafts to beauty tips and their favorite activities.

Learn the truth about these adorable (and painfully honest) creatures, as well as the facts behind their origins. With illustrations and tons of fascinating unicorn facts throughout, this is a perfect gift for unicorn lovers of all ages."

I know, pretty great, right?

Well, I have to say that this is my absolute favorite book project to date. It's like the content just poured directly from my heart and soul onto the page. In that way, it was probably the easiest project I've ever worked on; I never had to seek out the muse, it was always there. As any writer or artist knows, that is the best kind of flow you can ask for! 

While the book has only been out a month and a half, it's already received some very kind words.

I'd like to share some of the kind reviews and attentions the book has gotten, if you'd care to listen. If you've purchased the book (or even received it), would you consider leaving a review on Amazon? You don't need to have purchased it from Amazon to review it. Any review or bit of attention is hugely helpful to me, and I appreciate it! 

The Flavor Bender: OMG. Dini of The Flavor Bender made the amazing donuts pictured at the top of the post, INSPIRED BY MY BOOK! You must click over to the recipe post, and you must buy HER book, which also recently dropped: Secret-Layer Cakes.

Sweet ReciPeas: Peabody (a longtime blog and IRL friend) says some really nice things about me here, and gives you a great recipe. 

The Nerdy Girl Express: A wonderful review that appreciates the joy that is this book! 

That's Normal: an amusing and totally sweet review! 

If I've missed a review that you've posted, let me know and I will add it! And once again: get ye to Amazon! Review my book! 

Love, CakeSpy


Easiest-Ever Potato Chip Cookies

So, I got some potato chips in the mail. Through this and that, cookies were the result.

The chips were sent to me by Tim's Cascade Snacks. As a bit of disclosure, the chips were sent to me at no cost, but I was not compensated for this post.

The flavors were interesting - Sweet Chili and Maple Bacon. The sweet chili sounds good to snack on, but the maple bacon proved inspiring for baking projects.


According to the Tim's PR release, this chip flavor "imparts the perfect yin/yang  blend of sweet and slightly salty flavors. With its smoky fall flavors of Maple combined with bacon, Maple Bacon chips are cut extra thick and crunchy, and are sure to be a hit during game day. Gluten- free and with no preservatives or artificial flavors, since they are a Special Edition flavor, Tim’s Maple Bacon Chips will only be in stores for a limited time."

But I digress. When I saw them, my first thought was "I'd like to make some potato chip cookies". As previously noted, the maple bacon flavor seemed like a more natural fit, so I decided to use those.


Only problem? I had no eggs, and many cookies require eggs. Unnnnnggghhh, it's too cold to go to the grocery store. But then what should I spy in my fridge but a tube of refrigerated sugar cookie dough? 

Perfect. So I decided to mash the chips into the pre-made dough and see what I could see.

Well, here's what I found when I combined the store bought cookie dough and chips and baked it up. 


I actually quite liked how they came out. The chips added a nice salty-and-crunchy element to the cookie dough, and dressed it up so it tasted way more homemade. This is the type of cookie that you just need to embrace in all its non-gourmet goodness and maybe serve with champagne if you need a touch of fancy.

If you're looking for a quick snack for a game day, whip up a batch of these super easy cookies! 

Easiest-ever potato chip cookies

makes about 24 medium sized cookies (or 12 jumbo cookies)

  • 1 tube refrigerated cookie dough (I used sugar cookie dough)
  • 2 cups potato chips (UNCRUSHED) - about 2 generous handfuls 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (or as specified on the cookie dough package). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  2. Combine the cookie dough and chips in a large bowl. By hand, mash the mixture together until the chips are crushed into, and evenly dispersed, throughout the dough. I suppose this could be done with a mixer but by hand it felt cathartic. 
  3. Shape into approximately 1-inch balls, and place evenly spaced (with a little room on all sides) between 2 baking sheets. 
  4. Bake for 11-14 minutes (or as specified on the package instructions for the cookies). Remove from the oven; let cool briefly on the pan before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Store covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. 

Have you ever "doctored" store bought cookie dough?