These strawberry lemonade cupcakes feature moist lemon cupcakes with creamy strawberry frosting. There’s nothing artificial about this recipe, and the flavor combination makes these cupcakes absolutely to die for!
Nothing says sunny weather like a glass of strawberry lemonade, and these cupcakes encapsulate everything you love about the favorite summertime drink. They start with lemon cupcakes that are soft, moist and perfectly fluffy. The lemon flavor has the perfect hint of citrus without being sour or too tart. Then the strawberry frosting is extremely creamy and made with real berries for the perfect berry flavor.
The pink frosting makes these cupcakes look absolutely beautiful, and the flavors really complement each other.
The Perfect Lemon Cupcakes
These cupcakes are made with both lemon zest and fresh lemon juice for a lemon flavor that’s tart but not sour. We’re using butter for the most flavor and milk and sour cream for moisture.
When making these lemon cupcakes, always make sure that:
- the butter, eggs and milk are at room temperature before getting started
- you add in the dry ingredients a little at a time, alternating with the wet ingredients – this ensure an even cupcake crumb
- you don’t overmix the batter – overmixing can result in tough cupcakes
- you only fill the cupcake liners about ¾ full, otherwise they can overflow.
For the Strawberry Frosting
This strawberry frosting recipe is made with real berries (fresh or frozen). It means that the recipe takes a bit more work, but the flavor is so, so, so much better than using anything artificial like Jello. Before beating together the butter and powdered sugar, you need to prepare the strawberry puree and boil it down. This is to remove all the excess liquid from the berries. Excess liquid = watery frosting. Here’s what you’ll do:
- Core the berries.
- Pulse the berries in a blender or food processor until its a puree.
- Pour the puree over a metal sifter and push it through using the back of a spoon or rubber spatula to remove the seeds.
- Boil down the puree over low-medium heat while gently stirring. It will boil for about 15 minutes, or until it’s very thick and a deep red color. It should be thick like jam.
- Then cool the reduced puree fully. You can speed this up by placing it in the fridge or freezer. If it’s still warm and added to the butter, it will make the frosting melt – which we definitely don’t want.
From there, making the frosting is simple. You’ll beat together the butter and powdered sugar, then mix in the cooled and reduced strawberry puree. I like frosting my cupcakes using a piping bag and tip (I used a 1M tip) for a bakery-style look, but a knife works just as well too.
More Lemon & Strawberry Recipes to Love
- Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting
- Strawberry Layer Cake – strawberry flavored cake with strawberry frosting
- Strawberry Lemonade Cake – the layer cake version of this recipe
Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
- 12-cavity muffin pan
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (187.5 grams)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter (112 grams) softened to room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (30 ml)
- 2 large eggs whisked
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup milk (60 ml)
- ¼ cup sour cream (60 ml)
- ¼ cup lemon juice (60 ml) freshly squeezed
- 8 ounces strawberries (226 grams) fresh or frozen
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (168 grams) softened, but still slightly firm to the touch
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar (330-440 grams)
- 1 tablespoon whipping cream (15 ml) if needed
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C or 160C fan forced). Line a muffin tin with muffin papers - you'll get 12-14 cupcakes in total.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
- Beat in the whisked eggs.
- With the mixer on a low speed, beat about ⅓ of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Then mix in the sour cream.
- Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Beat in about ⅓ more of the flour mixutre. Then beat in the milk. Stop mixing as soon as it's incorporated.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl once again. Then beat in the last ⅓ of the flour mixture.
- Gently stir in the lemon juice. If you see any lumps, use a wire whisk to whisk until smooth.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each about ⅔ to ¾ full. You should end up with 12-14 cupcakes.
- Bake 1 muffin tin at a time in the middle of the oven for about 15-18 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for at least 10 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
- Core the strawberries to remove the centers.
- Place the berries in a food processor or blender and pulse until it's a smooth puree.
- To remove the seeds, pour the puree through a metal sifter and push it through using the back of a spoon or rubber spatula. You will likely need to do this in a few additions. Discard the seeds.
- Transfer the puree (without seeds) to a saucepan over low-medium heat. Gently boil as you occassionally stir the puree. As it boils, it will begin to thicken and darken in color.
- Once the puree is thick like jam and very dark (about 15 minutes), remove from the heat and cool fully. You should have about ¼ cup or less. You can speed this up by transferring to a jar or bowl and placing in the fridge or freezer.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter until fluffy.
- Add in 2 cups powdered sugar and beat together, starting with the mixer on a low speed.
- Turn off the mixer and add in 2-3 tablespoons of the reduced and cooled strawberry puree. Beat until combined.
- Mix in the rest of the powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time, adding in 1-2 more tablespoons of reduced and cooled puree as necessary until the desired sweetness and thickness is reached. If the frosting is starting to separate or look too thin, do not add in any more puree. Beat in 1 tablespoon whipping cream, if the frosting seems to thick.
- Frost the cooled cupcakes using a knife or transfer the frosting to a piping bag (I used a 1M tip) and frost.
- Lemons: You will need 2-3 lemons for this recipe for the lemon zest and juice. Zest the lemons first, then juice them.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: The butter, eggs, milk and sour cream should be at room temperature before getting started. Take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes prior to getting started.
- Strawberries: Fresh or frozen berries can be used for this recipe. If using frozen, make sure they aren't packed in syrup. If using frozen, boiling down the puree will take longer.
- Make Ahead Tips: The lemon cupcakes can be made 1 day in advance. Cool fully, then store at room temperature in an airtight container overnight. Make the puree and boil it down the day before (steps 1-5 of the frosting recipe). Cool fully, then store in the fridge in an airtight container. Make the frosting (steps 6-10) the next day when you plan to serve the cupcakes.
- Storage: Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, or in the fridge for up to 3 days. Because the frosting is made with real berries, I don't find that it lasts as long at room temperature as other frosting recipes.
- Nutrition: Details provided are an estimate only and based on 1 cupcake, assuming that all the frosting is used and the recipe yields 12 cupcakes