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

  • These are extremely refreshing looking! Makes me excited for summer!

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

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

  • This looks so refreshing!

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

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

  • oneparticularkitchen

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

  • smellslikehome

    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. :(

  • themilkmanswife

    YUM! These look sooooo good. I love strawberry and lemonade together. :)

  • What a cute presentation! I love it :)

  • Those are amazing!!!! My entire family would love!!!

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

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

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

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

  • These are adorable, and make me long for summer…

  • eatsandtreats

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

  • Pretty cupcakes!! I bet the flavor is amazing!

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

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

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

  • Ha! Ladies have to stick together…you’re right!! :-)

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

  • Pingback: Top Posts «

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

  • Britney Kerley

    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?

  • Annie

    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

  • These look amazing!

  • Pingback: The Cutest Cupcakes - Lemon Strawberry « The City Girl Cooks()

  • Pingback: Tuesday Tidbits… « Scraps of Life()

  • Pingback: Recipe Round-Up! ~ Feb 21-27 Sugared Ellipses . . .()

  • Pingback: Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes « Hartley Confections()

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

  • Penny

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

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

  • Annie

    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

  • magoy


    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!


  • molly

    they look yummy!! xx

  • Becky

    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.

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

  • Amanda

    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!

  • Annie

    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!

  • Melissa

    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?

  • Annie

    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.

  • Bobbi

    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?

  • Annie

    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.

  • 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!

  • 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!!

  • Annie

    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.

  • Vanessa

    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!!!!

  • Annie

    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.

  • Vanessa

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

  • Joanna Boswell

    These look delicious!

  • Nici

    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!

  • Annie

    I would do the syrup tonight to keep them moist.

  • Keri Dahling

    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. <3

  • Julie

    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

  • Lori Connors

    Annie – These are fabulous cupcakes! So easy to make and very refreshing. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

  • Summer

    Just made these last night and they are DELISH! i brought them to work and everyone loves them!!! Mine aren’t as pretty as yours but I plan on getting a bag and some tips to frost… Where do you get yours? Thanks

  • Annie

    Please see the FAQ page.

  • Christina

    Oh my GAWD, Annie, these were outrageously good. Thank you! I served your Cherry Coke cupcakes for my oldest son’s third bday party and they were a hit, but everyone said THESE were better!!

  • Bridget

    These cupcakes were wonderful!!!! After putting in the strawberry puree, my icing was a little on the runny side, so I took Annie’s suggestion and chilled it, and it was great! These cupcakes were so light and delicious! I must confess, this was my first time making any recipies from Annie’s site and when I saw that she suggested lemonade syrup I thought, “that must be code for these cupcakes are dry without it” But I forged ahead without it and had wonderful results. I’m sure the syrup would be great, but I knew I would make a horrible mess, so I left it out. Since by now I have tried several of Annie’s recipies I feel badly that I ever had reservations. New readers, trust Annie completely!

  • Jennifer

    Hey Annie! I tried to make these cupcakes. They rose really well, but sank quite a bit afterward. Then, in making the frosting, it would not ever get stiff enough for me. I ended up using the entire bag of powdered sugar and chilled in the fridge for a while. Nothing would work. The flavor of these is delicious, though!

  • Annie

    Hi Jennifer,
    It sounds like the cake portion needed to bake longer. When cakes sink it is indicative of under-baking. As for the frosting, it can be finicky and you have to add the fruit puree a tablespoon at a time until you reach a consistency you like. It also helps if the cream cheese is cold when you start. Glad they at least tasted good!

  • Jennifer toothpicks came out clean when I checked. When I tore one apart to double check I did try to put them in the oven for a little while longer. Thank you for a quick response! I really do love your site!

  • Katie

    I made these yesterday and they were absolutely delicious! Everyone who tried them loved them!

  • Jan

    I just had these for the first time I am in love with them if only they were human I would ask them to marry is leap year..

  • Anna

    Would love to make these cupcakes for a special birthday coming up. A few questions: I’ve made cupcakes in the past that incorporated freshly chopped fruit. Tasted delicious for a few hours. As the day wore on, the cake became quite mushy from the fruit. Does this happen with these cupcakes? I’ve heard that using frozen fruit could help?

    I highly respect your opinion, so any thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated!

  • Anonymous

    I think frozen fruit would actually make that worse. I haven’t noticed these getting too soggy, but refrigerating them might help prevent it even more. Enjoy!

  • Anna

    Thanks for the quick reply! Will be giving these a whirl this coming week!

  • Laurel

    I found this on Pinterest last week and made it today! They are as delicious as they look! I can’t wait to make them for my next get-together!!! <3

  • Marishell

    annie…this recipe is AMAZING! my first batch is going to my church family (of course, i saved one for my husband and one for me to taste test). :-) i’m glad i’m giving them away, because we would end up eating them all!?!? can’t wait to try this out on my extended family…i have a feeling they will request me to make these ALOT! moist. tasty. easy directions. delicious!! i wouldn’t change a thing!

  • Julia Banz

    Have you tried these using gluten free flour mix? I want to make them for a gluten free birthday and am not great at gf baking yet. Do you know if I can just sub all purpose gf baking mix for the flour portion?

  • annieseats

    No, I haven’t tried that. Most of those mixes are intended to be used 1:1 but you’ll need to read the instructions on the particular blend you bought. Good luck!

  • Katana Jacobson

    Hi, I’d like to make these, but if I did I would have to make them the day before the event. Do you have any tips on how to make them stay fresh and not get soggy? For example, should I refrigerate them without the filling and frosting during the night and them fill and frost them the day of? Or should I just fill and frost and refrigerate all together? I want them to stay delicious as long as possible. Please help.

  • annieseats

    Please see the FAQ page. Thanks!

  • Stacy

    I think my last comment was tagged somehow. I made these cupcakes today and they are FABULOUS! I want to make them as a cake next weekend for my son’s birthday. Do you think the recipe will transfer to a 9×13 cake if left in the pan? Also, would food coloring distort the taste of the icing? I’d rather he didn’t have a pink birthday cake :)

  • annieseats

    Please see the FAQ page regarding cake conversions. Whether food coloring affects the taste or not varies by type and brand. Enjoy!

  • LadyBaker82

    OMG…These were perfect…and I agree the lemonade syrup is the perfect addition…but then again I like a tarty lemon flavored anything….

  • Tonberryninjette

    The frosting turned out really runny and puddingish. Im not sure why

  • Kim C

    Annie, these are a new favorite of my office (the other being your chocolate chip cookie cupakes). They’re absolutely delicious and so refreshing for the summer. The lemonade syrup added a nice touch, so I hope people decide to take your recomendation!

    I’m not a fan of cream cheese frosting, so I adapted Wilton’s lemon butter cream recipe by adding the strawberry puree, and it was great! My frosting came out a little less stiff than I would like, but I’m sure that had to do with the ratio of wet to dry. In any case, they were still delicious!! Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Just made these for a State Fair themed bridal shower last weekend, followed the directions exactly and they turned out perfectly, including the consistency of the frosting! (although I did chill it for maybe 20 minutes before piping) The lemonade syrup was a great addition – but I also am a lemon lover, so I can never have too much lemon flavor! These were some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had – thanks for the amazing recipe! Everyone at the shower raved about them!

  • Emma G

    That was basically the worst frosting I’ve ever made. The puree shouldn’t really be incorporated since it’s too liquidity. I used a few tablespoons, and already my frosting was ruined… It looked like a smoothie. I spent another hour trying to fix it by adding more butter, cream cheese…sugar…a whole bag of sugar, and it still had the same texture. So I spent $10 to pour it all down the drain… Sigh.

  • annieseats

    Sorry to hear you had difficulties. As the recipe indicates, you should only add puree to the consistency you are aiming for.

  • shamica

    hi i want to make sure im reading this right its 12 oz or cream cheese in the frosting and 8 tsp of unsalted butter in the cake or 18 tsp ou funsalted butter?

  • annieseats

    The ingredients are separated by labels – for the cake, for the frosting, etc. The correct amount for each is listed just beneath those. Enjoy!

  • i made these cupcakes last year and they were a HUGE hit with everyone so i made more today for my cousins baby shower! i just finished making them and they turn out even better than last time! i cant wait to see how everyone likes them.

  • LadyBaker82

    I made these cupcakes and they always come out wonderful…however my daughters and sister want it in a cake form is that possible while using the same recipe?

  • annieseats

    Sure, please see the FAQ page for more info. Thanks!

  • LadyBaker82


  • Angela B.

    Tried this recipe today and OMG, it was sooo good. This is the best site for homemade cupcakes. It’s easy to follow. Thank You!!!! It was perfect and not overly sweet. I did have some left over frosting, could I put it in the fridge and use it tomorrow, will it still be good? Or should I just make more. I’m gonna make the vanilla cupcakes from this site on tomorrow.

  • I’ve been meaning to leave a comment, but I am one of those “creepers”, but I made these for the county fair in the summer and I won! By far, one of the favorites I’ve made from your site. I know that, no matter what the occasion, I can visit your site and make something and it will turn out the first time! From the salted caramel cupcakes to the spinach and artichoke dish. You are an amazing cook! Thanks :)

  • Christina

    I just made a batch of these and they were beyond amazing. I want to freeze a couple for some people who were not able to try them – do you think this would be okay? I am slightly worried about the berries losing their juices while defrosting.

  • Stacey Parham

    I made these last night and they were fabulous. I did have to strain the purée twice to get most of the strawberry seeds and larger strawberry bits out. I can see where a heartier purée might ruin the delicate texture of the frosting. Maybe I need a better sieve!