Prickly Pear Cupcakes

Prickly Pear Cupcakes

cupcakes, cream cheese frosting, lemon, prickly pear
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Prickly pear cupcakes bring my week of prickly pear eating to a close. While I strongly preferred my prickly pear lemon bars to the prickly pear cupcakes, one friend said that I was doing something akin to comparing a sandwich to ravioli – they are too different to compare. Other friends couldn’t weigh in on whether they liked the the prickly pear cupcakes better or worse than the the prickly pear lemon bars because I hoarded all of the lemon bars for myself! They did have some very positive things to say about the prickly pear cupcakes, though:

  • “Heaven!”
  • “I would definitely buy one if they were for sale somewhere.”
  • “The only thing that would make this better would be chocolate.”

OK – those last two quotes were from the same person I talked about in the first paragraph – but they were good quotes. I had to use them.

The other quote that multiple people had, including myself, was that the prickly pear cupcakes were:

  • “Generically fruity.”

If I hadn’t mentioned the fact that they contained prickly pear, people would not have been able to identify what the fruit flavor was.

The Prickly Pear Cupcake Recipe

The coolest thing about the prickly pear cupcake recipe was the bubblegum-pink batter. It was so fun! Too bad the cupcake didn’t stay that color after baking. This is a Cupcake Project original recipe.

Prickly Pear Cupcakes

Yield: Makes about 14 cupcakes

Prickly Pear Cupcakes


  • 2 C flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 3/4 C butter, room temperature
  • 1 C + 3 T sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 C plain yogurt
  • 1/4 t lemon extract
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/3 C prickly pear juice (You can easily make prickly pear juice with a prickly pear and a food processor or blender. Simply Recipes has a great tutorial on how to make prickly pear juice.)
  • 1/4 C lemon juice


  1. With a fork, whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl for 1 minute until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs, yogurt, and extracts until blended.
  4. Combine prickly pear juice and lemon juice in a small bowl.
  5. Alternately mix in the flour mixture and juice to the sugar/butter mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with flour.
  6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  7. Bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the cupcake clean.


Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting with Prickly Pear Lemon Bars

You could top the prickly pear cupcakes with a basic lemon cream cheese frosting. That would be perfectly tasty. But, if you just happen to have some extra prickly pear lemon bars laying around, you can blend them and mix them into the frosting for added zing! That’s what I did, and as you can see in the photo, the prickly pear lemon bars integrated into the frosting so well that no one even knew they were there.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting with Prickly Pear Lemon Bars

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting with Prickly Pear Lemon Bars


  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 C butter, room temperature
  • 4 C powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 t lemon extract
  • 1 1/2 t prickly pear juice (Optional. I only added this to give the frosting a mild pink color. It did not affect the taste at all. You could use food coloring or skip this entirely.)
  • 1 C pulverized prickly pear lemon bars (Optional.)


  1. Mix butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  2. Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time. You can add more or less to get your desired level of sweetness and stiffness.
  3. Add lemon extract and, optionally, the prickly pear juice.
  4. If you choose to do so, mix in the prickly pear lemon bars. It could also be fun to sprinkle them on top.


Other Cupcakes With Prickly Pear and Lemon

I want to give a quick shout out to Keesha – The Prissy Cook. Keesha is a fellow prickly pear lover and cupcake baker. Around this time last year, Keesha made lemon cupcakes with prickly pear frosting. She was able to find a prickly pear syrup that made her frosting a gorgeous pink color. Be sure to check out her prickly pear cupcake post for a different take on the prickly pear lemon cupcake and also to read about her amusing tale of transporting cupcakes by bike.

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15 comments on “Prickly Pear Cupcakes”

  1. Elyse says:

    Mmm, these cupcakes look delicious! Your friend is hysterical by the way–sandwiches to ravioli–that’s classic! She’s right though! In fact, I think that cupcakes and lemon bars are sooo different that I would feel totally justified in piling the lemon prickly pear bars on my plate along with a couple of cupcakes :)

  2. Thanks for the shout out Stef!

  3. Eliana says:

    These cupcakes look super cool. With such a good looking batter, I’d have a hard time not eating it raw. You are so creative. I love checking in to see what you come up with. I wonder what’s next?

  4. anna says:

    Pink batter is the best! Too bad it didn’t hold its color. I’ve never had prickly pear but I’d love to try it.

  5. Steph says:

    I’ve never had a prickly pear before. That batter looks so pretty!

  6. Elissa says:

    What a beautiful, unusual cupcake! I especially like the look of the frosting, it’s lovely.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Rarely do I hear of someone using prickly pear! I love this idea!! Beautiful cupcakes!

  8. Sarah says:

    Congrats on wimnning the tomatomania contest! I think the cupcakes are lovely, but I would personally go for the prickly pear lemon bars too!!

  9. This cupcake was delicious! Viviane and I both loved it. I particularly liked the dense, yet moist, cake itself.

    Well done!

  10. nuri36 says:

    These sound so awesome but what could I substitute for the lemon juice? I’m allergic to lemon..

  11. Stef says:

    Nuri – Just use more prickly pear juice instead of the lemon juice.

  12. nuri36 says:

    Oh ok, great. What about the lemon extract? Forgot to ask about that.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I wanted to add that the produce department of any grocery store should be able to order prickly pears if they are not commonly available. I have a Syrian friend who recommended them, so I had asked the produce manager, and he ordered a case for me! I had some things come up and I didn’t get back to pick them up, so I never tried them. My friend said the ones in Syria look different than the ones we get here, but he said the taste is amazing! Side note: I have read that the juice will stain like crazy, just fyi for anyone who is brave enough to try cutting and using one.

  14. Beth says:

    I was hoping to make these for a Cinco de Mayo party, but I guess prickly pears are only in season during late summer. It turns out cherimoyas are in season right now, however, and a puree of cherimoya flesh worked quite well in place of the prickly pear juice in these cupcakes. I wonder what other tropical/subtropical fruits you could substitute to make these a year-round treat. . .

  15. Lily says:

    I know this is an old post, but thanks for this recipe! There are tons of prickly pear cacti growing around our neighborhood and I’ve been looking for ways to use them, definitely gonna try this

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