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Lemon-Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Strawberry Jam Buttercream from The Scottish Prisoner

Lemon-Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Strawberry Jam Buttercream from The Scottish Prisoner

The Lord John Series

I CALLED HIM a murderer.

That was the thought in his mind when he woke an hour later. I called him a murderer, he called me a sodomite…and yet it’s Fraser he called out. Why?

Because Fraser accused him, point-blank and publicly, or treason. He had to challenge that; he couldn’t let the statement stand. An accusation of murder might be mere insult, but not an accusation of treason. And particularly not if there was any truth in it.

Of course. He’d known that, really. What he didn’t know was what had possessed Fraser to make the accusation now, and in such a public manner.

He got up, used the pot, then splashed water from the ewer over his face and, tilting the pitcher, drank most of the rest. It was nearly evening; his room was growing dark, and he could smell the luscious scents of tea preparing downstairs; fried sardines, fresh buttered crumpets, lemon sponge, cucumber sandwiches, sliced ham. He swallowed, suddenly ravenous.

He can’t have done it for me. The thought carried some regret; he wished it were true. But he was a realist enough to know that Fraser wouldn’t have gone to such lengths merely to distract attention from Twelvetree’s accusation of sodomy, no matter what he personally thought of Grey at the moment – and Grey didn’t even know that.

Diana Gabaldon, The Scottish Prisoner (Chapter 30, Particular Friends)

Lemon poppyseed cupcakes

The love that lies between James Fraser and John Grey may not be reciprocated romantic love, but it is filled with the respect, loyalty and affection of a decades-old friendship between two men who, despite their different political and sexual orientations, would lay down their lives for each other.

A love worthy of a Valentine’s celebration in any century.

Outlander Kitchen Cookbook

These cupcakes combine a traditional English sponge (in cupcake form) with a sweet, fruity buttercream made from Fraser Strawberry Jam, one of 50+ new recipes coming in the Outlander Kitchen cookbook by yours truly, and published by Delacorte Press of the Random House Group.

See the jam in the tarts on the cover?!

Although currently available for pre-order online, the cookbook’s release date is in June, so use another jam for now if you want to make a batch of these sweet cakes in time for Valentine’s Day.

Lemon poppyseed cupcakes With strawberry jam buttercream

(Click on the link below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Lemon-Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Strawberry Jam Buttercream from The Scottish Prisoner

Tender, moist cupcakes with a sweet, fruity buttercream.

Makes 12


  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon poppyseeds
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ¼ cup strawberry jam
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • A few drops red food colouring (optional)


Move a rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350℉. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In a small bowl, stir together the milk and lemon juice. Set aside to clabber while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt until well combined.

In another larger bowl, beat together the sugar, melted butter, and lemon zest with a handheld mixer on medium-high speed until well blended and glossy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the clabbered milk and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Gently fold in the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cupcakes comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely on a metal rack.

For the buttercream, beat the butter and jam together with a handheld mixer until blended, about 1 minute. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Beat in the optional food colouring, until the desired colour is achieved.

Frost the cooled cupcakes with the strawberry jam buttercream.

Store in a covered container for up to 3 days. Freeze leftover buttercream for up to one month.


  • You will need one or two lemons for the juice and zest. To make things easy, zest the whole lemons first before juicing them.


  1. Merry
    February 9, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Those look so delicious! I’m going to have to try them out. And, I love the cover of the new book. I have to put it in my ‘wish list’. Perhaps, buy myself a summer gift? 🙂

  2. Jan Moutz
    February 9, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Lemon anything is always my favorite! Looking forward to the cookbook!

  3. Aaron
    February 9, 2016 at 11:15 am

    For starters that picture is beautiful!! The cover and the cupcakes!! These will make a perfect Valentine gift for my sweetie!!

    • Theresa
      February 9, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      I hope you both have a love-filled day. <3

  4. Willow
    February 9, 2016 at 11:21 am

    You are killing my diet! But what a way to go!

    • Theresa
      February 9, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      I made this batch then quickly ran around, dropping them off to friends. I got away with only eating two, but it was close…

  5. Kim B
    February 9, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    The cookbook cover looks so beautiful! I am simply bursting with impatience to get my hands on this beauty!

    • Theresa
      February 9, 2016 at 1:01 pm

      Me too! LOL 🙂

  6. Carol Mackey
    February 9, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Just in time for the Valentine’s Day Dance here at the Home! The notice said: “Bring your Sweetie–or a sweet!” Since most of us gals are out of luck in the “Sweetie” department–by about 12 to 1 (not counting the married couples, who will bring both)–we’ll have lots of sweet treats. Love lemon and poppy seed anything, and the strawberries make these really special! Happy Valentine’s Day, Theresa, and thank you. <3 <3 <3

    • Theresa
      February 9, 2016 at 1:02 pm

      Thank you, Carol! And the very same to you.

  7. Amy
    February 9, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    These look lovely! What size tip did you use to make the pretty topping design?

    • Theresa
      February 9, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      I’m pretty sure it was a 6, Amy. (Bad chef for not marking it down!)

  8. Donna R.
    February 9, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    MMMMmmmmmm! I am definitely going to make these for Valentine’s Day.
    My heart breaks all through The Scottish Prisoner for both Lord John and Jamie every time I read it. Great excerpt. Thanks!

    • Theresa
      February 9, 2016 at 1:05 pm

      I thought of you while flipping through the pages, Donna! I know you love LJ. 🙂

  9. Bullrem
    February 9, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Yummy yummy.. I will make these Friday for my Mah Jong group. They will be so envious of my new recipe… Thanks again, Theresa for all you do for us. Helen in Ark.

    • Theresa
      February 9, 2016 at 1:36 pm

      My pleasure, Helen! I’ve got complaints about my job.

  10. Linn
    February 9, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    This looks delicious! I am really excited for your cookbook! 🙂

    • Theresa
      February 9, 2016 at 1:45 pm

      Thanks, Linn!

  11. Lynn
    February 9, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    I read the recipe 3 times and did not see where to add the clabbered milk. I assume you add it when you add the dry ingredients.

    • Theresa
      February 9, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      oops! Thank you Lynn, I’ll fix it right now. Beat it in after you’ve beaten in the eggs.

  12. Joanne Platt
    February 9, 2016 at 5:42 pm


  13. Bri
    February 9, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    I have been craving a lemon and strawberry combo, so this is perfect timing! They look beautiful, I’ll be making them this weekend for sure! I’m guessing this will be another OK holiday staple for us 🙂

  14. Anna Lapping
    February 9, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    Lemon and poppy seeds…a marriage made in heaven. My younger daughter had her wedding cake made of that (with a layer of carrot cake for me!). I will be making these for Valentine’s day! Thank you, Theresa, for another fab recipe!

  15. ms.yoshimi
    February 10, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Yum … just picked lemons from my tree as well as pre ordered your cookbook — well done!

    • Theresa
      February 11, 2016 at 5:23 am

      Thank you!

  16. Melissa Wallick
    February 12, 2016 at 7:33 am

    This was my first ever attempt at making muffins. And they came out awesome! Thanks for your recipes. I have the cookbook on order and I can’t wait to try more! I just got to this part in the Scottish Prisoner too. Must have been fate. 🙂 Thanks again!

    • Theresa
      February 12, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      Great news! And serendipitous too!

  17. Alley
    February 13, 2016 at 10:54 am

    My daughter’s birthday was yesterday, but we’re celebrating tomorrow. I’m going to whip up a batch for her. Thanks! Love all your recipes. My hisband and I have tried a lot of them. Looking forward to the cookbook.

  18. The Suzzzz
    February 15, 2016 at 6:56 am

    I’m hosting a chicken wing cook off Saturday night and I’ve been looking for a dessert to counterbalance all the fried and heavy bar food that competitors are bringing. This definitely fit the bill, and they seem like a little ray of early spring sunshine to cut through the winter doldrums here. I can’t wait to make them!

  19. Katherine
    February 18, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    These were fantastic! I used strawberry rhubarb jam and the icing was pink enough for me. One of the most tender moist cupcake recipes I have ever made.

  20. Cheryl
    March 26, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Just made a batch for Easter. They looked so pretty in the picture I just had to try them. I hope they taste as good as they smelled while they were baking. I know the frosting is great because I basically licked the bowl! Thank you for another great recipe (my son laments the fact that he rarely sees biscuits anymore now that I have your bannock recipe)! Can’t wait for the cookbook (pre-ordered because I couldn’t wait)!

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