The secret to these delicious berries-and-cream cupcakes? Cream cheese — it gives the cake batter extra moisture and richness, and it pairs well with the raspberry frosting. If you can’t find black raspberries, you could make the frosting with red raspberries or blueberries instead. This recipe is courtesy of Red Jacket Orchards and Sarah Huck.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill two cupcake pans with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds between each addition; beat in the oil. Gradually beat in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk, and ending with the flour mixture. Do not overmix.
Divide the batter among the cupcake liners (they should be about ⅔-full). Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 23 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Place the black raspberries and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor and purée until smooth. Strain the pulp through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing down on the solids with a spatula to extract as much purée as possible. Discard the seeds and set the purée aside.
In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with 1½ cups of the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the cream on low speed until combined. Beat in the remaining sugar and the raspberry purée until incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is very light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in additional cream, as needed, to achieve the desired consistency.
Frost each cupcake generously with the butter cream and garnish each with a raspberry before serving.