Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

The very brief bout of warmer temperatures last week made my longing for spring and summer even worse than it already was.  While I was grocery shopping, I took advantage of the sales on berries left over from Valentine’s Day, but didn’t have any purpose in mind for the strawberries I bought.  Then the idea came to me – a summer-inspired strawberry lemonade cupcake.  Delicious!  I used a lemon cupcake base, folded in chunks of fresh strawberries, and topped them with a strawberry cream cheese frosting.  The result was a refreshing blend of both flavors, and very cute with a strawberry lemon garnish.  Personally, I would have preferred the lemon flavor to be even more pronounced, so I think poking the cupcakes and drizzling with a lemonade syrup before frosting would achieve this nicely.  However, Ben disagrees with me and thinks more lemon would be too much.  (I’m right.)  So, I’ll leave it up to you and make the syrup optional.  Give them a try, and hopefully they’ll give you a taste of summertime despite the cold weather!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Yield: about 21 cupcakes

For the cake:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lemon zest
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped

For the lemonade syrup:
1 cup lemonade concentrate, thawed
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

For the frosting: 
1 cup fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
18 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For garnish:
Fresh strawberries
Lemon slices

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line muffin pans with paper liners.  In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.  Stir together with a fork and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until it is light and fluffy.  Add the sugar and beat until well combined.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl and beat on low speed until just incorporated.  Add in the milk and mix until smooth.  Add in the remaining flour mixture and mix on low speed until just blended.  Fold in the fresh strawberries with a spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the paper liners, filling them about 3/4 full.  Bake about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, whisk together the lemonade concentrate and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl to make the lemonade syrup.  Poke several holes in the top of each cupcake with a skewer and pour the syrup over the cupcakes, allowing it to soak in.  (Place wax paper underneath your cooling rack so you don’t make a mess!)

To make the frosting, puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender.  Strain the puree through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds, and set aside.  Beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and very fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.  Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated.  Mix in strawberry puree, a tablespoon at a time, until you achieve your desired texture and flavor of frosting (I added about 7 tablespoons of puree).  Frost cupcakes as desired and garnish with fresh strawberries and lemon slices. 

Source: cake adapted from Williams Sonoma, frosting from Annie’s Eats

56 Responses

  1. These are extremely refreshing looking! Makes me excited for summer!

  2. Those are gorgeous! Great idea. Hopefully warm weather will be here soon. I’m ready too!

  3. Adorable and sound delicious! Great job on another creative and amazing post.

  4. This looks so refreshing!

  5. These sound wonderful and look just beautiful! I too cannot wait for spring!!

  6. These look darling, and you’ve taken a great photo!

  7. These look so great! You are so creative. 🙂 I’m icing your cherry limeade cupcakes tomorrow — these might be next!

  8. yum! and i agree about the lemon – more is usually better. unfortunately, Kyle is of the same school of thought as Ben and so i don’t usually get my way. 😦

  9. YUM! These look sooooo good. I love strawberry and lemonade together. 🙂

  10. What a cute presentation! I love it 🙂

  11. Those are amazing!!!! My entire family would love!!!

  12. I think these are the most beautiful cupcakes I have ever seen! And they sound good too!

  13. Those cupcakes are just lovely! They’re like little bursts of Springtime!

  14. These are so beautiful! I really like creative drink-inspired goodies. And I think the lemon syrup idea sounds fantastic.

  15. They really look delicious! I’m definitely going to try them this summer!

  16. These are adorable, and make me long for summer…

  17. These would be an awesome springy cupcake. Too bad it was 14 here this morning!

  18. Pretty cupcakes!! I bet the flavor is amazing!

  19. ooh these sound wonderful! definitely bookmarking this one for later.

  20. Another great cupcake creation from you! You should submit this to “Cupcake Takes the Cake”!

  21. Beautiful cupcakes, they remind me of warmer months. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Ha! Ladies have to stick together…you’re right!! 🙂

    Great looking cupcakes! You always do a bang up job decorating them.

  23. […] Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes The very brief bout of warmer temperatures last week made my longing for spring and summer even worse than it already […] […]

  24. These are adorable! Your cupcakes are always so cute.

  25. Hey! I made these cupcakes and my husband loves them! My only issue is that the icing was pretty thin. How do I get the icing to set up better. I even added an extra cup of powdered sugar. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Britney!
      Glad you enjoyed the cupcakes. Sorry the frosting didn’t work out so well. In my experience, adding more powdered sugar is the best way to stiffen up a frosting. Also, try not to start with butter or cream cheese that are too warm. Add the fruit puree slowly so you don’t thin it out too much. You could also always try letting it set up in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to see if that helps. Good luck!
      🙂 Annie

  26. These look amazing!

  27. […] from here and here – click for original recipes – the below incorporates my […]

  28. […] would love to try out these Strawberry Lemonade cupcakes…it just screams warmer […]

  29. […] the winter-time blues with these summery Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes from Annie’s […]

  30. […] that balanced the sweetness and tartness of both ingredients. And after seeing only a photo of the Strawberry and Lemonade Cupcakes baked by Annie’s Eats, I knew I’d found the perfect spring cupcake! COOK’s note: […]

  31. Yum! These sound delicious! I will have to try these out soon!

  32. I just made these for my graduation party this past weekend, and everyone RAVED about them. Thanks for the fantastic recipe!

  33. mmymy! that loooks delish! any way i can substitute the lemonade concentrate?

    • Hi Amy,
      I’m sure you could just use regular lemon juice for the concentrate, it just might not be as strong of a lemon flavor.
      🙂 Annie

  34. Annie,

    I stumbled across your blog somehow… can’t remember now how I got there… but, I have since become quite a stalker of Annie’s Eats! I have made several of your recipes and have yet to be disappointed. I’m about to make these Strawberry Lemonade cupcakes and the Oreo cupcakes to take to my family reunion this weekend. Just wanted to say thanks for the detailed instructions, pictures, and inspiration I’ve found in your blog! Keep ’em coming!


  35. they look yummy!! xx

  36. I’ve made these twice now and they are my favorite ever cupcakes! Thanks so much for the recipe. I agree with you, btw – the lemonade syrup makes them extra fantastic. For the icing, I found that letting it chill out in the fridge for a couple of hours before icing the cupcakes makes it much easier to work with.

  37. I tried this and loved it. Thanks so much for sharing!

  38. Hi Annie!
    I can’t tell you how many times I stare at this recipe, just waiting for a perfect time to make them and I finally do for a party coming up this weekend. The party is out of state though and isn’t until Saturday night and I’m leaving Friday so I would have to make the cupcakes on Thursday. So I’m just curious, would you recommend keeping the cupcakes in the fridge because of the cream cheese frosting or will they be okay in an airtight container just at room temperature? Thanks!

    • Hi Amanda,
      Yes, I tend to keep cupcakes with cream cheese frosting in the fridge when possible. I think you’ll especially want to with these because the frosting can be runny for some people (either chill it, or add more powdered sugar to thicken it up). Enjoy!

  39. Hi Annie,

    These cupcakes look amazing and probably taste OUT OF THIS WORLD 🙂 I’m planning to make these this friday and I was just wondering would it be okay if I used a handheld electric mixer instead of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment?

    • Hi Melissa,
      Yes, in general you can almost always use a hand mixer instead of a stand mixer. It may just take a little longer.

  40. Hi Annie,

    I made both this recipie and the peanut butter cup recipie, my first ones ever from scratch, and they taste wonderful. However, they did not rise very much, just enough to fill the cupcake, and they weren’t very “fluffy”. Is that normal for cupcake recipes made from scratch? Or did I do something wrong?

    • Bobbi,
      It’s impossible for me to know what went wrong because I wasn’t there with you. Usually the culprit to non-fluffy cake is overmixing the batter. Cupcakes made from scratch should rise every bit as well, if not better, than a box mix but it depends entirely on the particular recipe.

  41. Annie,
    I just made these cuppies over the weekend and they are SO good. And yes, you’re right. They need the lemonade syrup…I wish I had listened to you! But they are perfect for summertime 🙂

    Love your blog and all your delicious recipes!

  42. Does the frosting really have 18T of butter? I’m planning on making these this week, hopefully you get this comment in time to clarify this for me. Thanks! Love the blog!!

    • Yes, it’s the ratio of butter to cream cheese that is important, not the quantity of butter. It’s basically just a strawberry cream cheese frosting.

  43. Annie,
    I made these this weekend for 4th of July and everyone loved and raved about them. I liked them also, but was wondering what you would think of pureeing the 2 cups of chopped strawberries for the batter. Do you think it would still have the strawberry lemon flavor? I personally was not a fan of the hot cooked strawberry pieces. Should I have chilled these? Thanks so much for all of your recipes. I am going through all of your cake recipes and printing them out to make them. They all look awesome!!!!

    • Vanessa,
      Yeah, cupcakes should always be cooled completely before serving them. Pureeing the strawberries and adding to the batter won’t work because that will completely change the liquid/dry ingredient ratio of the recipe. These are actually delicious when at room temperature or chilled, but if you don’t like them there are other strawberry cakes out there.

      • Thanks so much Annie. Next time I will def. chill these. Again, love your blog!! =)

  44. These look delicious!

  45. I’m so excited to be making these today! Who needs to drive 30+ minutes and pay $3 per cupcake when I can just make them at home (and wow my friends!). I’m baking them today and will be frosting them tomorrow. Should I do the lemon syrup just before frosting? Or today after baking and cool down? Thanks!

  46. Annie, I discovered your recipe for these cupcakes this past spring. And I have to say discovered for the simple fact, it was like I found a mountain of gold!! I was born and raised in Kansas and come from a very culinarily(i’m pretty sure that isn’t even a word, but it sounded good)-inclined family. Since I can remember, my mother’s favorite was carrot cake….until now!These cupcakes have won many hearts in just the test run. I made them for an end of summer barbecue we had for the kids and it was a winner accross the board!! This is by far the best cupcake I have ever had! Every single aspect of this heavenly little package is PERFECT! Thank you so much for the time you take out of your personal life, to bring such joy to others with this blog. You have been through so much, and do so much. Thank you, thank you, thank you. ❤

  47. I just made these cupcakes and they are a big hit. I just couldnt get the icing right all we could taste was cream cheese so I had to throw it out. They taste great with store bought strawberry icing though

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