Homemade Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

This recipe is not dairy free. It was published before Simply Whisked went dairy free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy free.
Last Sunday, Theresa and I threw a Jamberry party at my apartment. I’m really obsessed with nail polish, so when I heard about Jamberry, I just had to see what they were all about. Luckily, Theresa new a consultant so we scheduled a party and invited a few friends over. Obviously, I wanted to make a million different things for our guests, but I decided to keep it simple and make 1 dessert and some simple snacks – spinach dip with veggies and pita chips and margarita potato chips. That’s all I made, and I’m glad I did because I had a ton of leftovers.I had a bunch of strawberries that needed to be used up, so I pureed some of them and tried making something new – strawberry lemonade cupcakes. They’re light and summery with a nice lemony zip. Since I wanted to keep it simple, I decided to doctor up a cake mix for the cupcakes and top them with a buttercream-turned-fancy-frosting with a simple addition of some lemonade drink mix and strawberry puree.This batter has a lot of eggs in it, which is good because it makes the cake extra delicate and fluffy, but you need to take extra care to not overload the cupcake liners. Otherwise, you’ll end up with dips in the centers of all your cupcakes. It’s an easy fix, since you can just fill them in with extra frosting, but better to avoid it all together if you can.
While the cupcakes are cooling, you can whip up the strawberry lemonade buttercream frosting. If you want to make them fancy like I did for the pictures, I used a piping bag and Wilton tip 2D, a lemon wedge garnish and striped paper straws cut to size. Or, you can keep things simple and just spread a decent layer of frosting on the top.


  • For the cake:
  • 1 15.25-ounce strawberry cake mix*
  • 3/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate (thawed)**
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil***
  • 3 eggs
  • For the frosting:
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons strawberry puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemonade drink mix (I used Kool Aid powder mix)
  • 6 cups powdered sugar



  • 1/4 cup freeze dried strawberry powder (14 g, 1/2 oz)
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (211 g)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar (127 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (1 g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (4 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (2 g)
  • 1/2 cup pureed strawberry (113 g, 4 oz)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (77 g, room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (50 g)
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (2 g)

Lemon frosting

  • 4 oz unsalted butter (113 g)
  • 4 oz cream cheese (113 g)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (1 g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (2 g)
  • 1/2 cup powder sugar (50 g)

Strawberry frosting

  • 4 oz unsalted butter (113 g)
  • 4 oz cream cheese (113 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (1 g)
  • 2 tablespoon ground freeze dried strawberry (7 g, 1/4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup powder sugar (50 g)



Prepare the strawberry powder

  • Add 3/4 oz of freeze dried strawberry to a food processor and process until a powder forms. Keep a kitchen towel draped over the food processor while it’s working to prevent the strawberry powder to escape and fly everywhere.
  • This should yield 6 tablespoons. Use 4 tablespoon (1/4 cup) for the cupcake batter and the remaining 2 tablespoon for the strawberry cream cheese frosting.

Make the cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
  • Add 1/4 cup of strawberry powder to a small mixing bowl along with flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix with a whisk to distribute evenly. Set aside.
  • In the same food processor used previously for the freeze dried strawberry, add the fresh strawberry and puree. Add strawberry puree in a medium mixing bowl along with buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla extract. Beat together with a whisk until smooth.
  • Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredient mixture and fold until just combined.
  • Use a large ice cream scoop to divide batter into the previously prepared muffin pan. One flat scoop of batter for each cupcake cavity, or about 1/4 cup of batter each.
  • Bake in the middle oven rack for 16 – 17 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to the touch, remove cupcakes from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the frosting

  • Allow the cream cheese and butter to come to room temperature and softened before you get started. It can speed up the process to cut them into small cubes.
  • For lemon frosting, add softened butter, cream cheese, lemon zest along with the vanilla and lemon extract to a stand mixer bowl, mix with the whisk attachment at medium low speed and gradually increase speed to medium high and beat until thoroughly combined. Stop the mixer to add powder sugar, mix at low speed to incorporate the powder mixture into the cream mixture, then gradually increase speed to medium high and beat until thoroughly combined and fluffy.
  • For strawberry frosting, add softened butter, cream cheese, along with the vanilla extract to a clean stand mixer bowl, mix with the whisk attachment at medium low speed and gradually increase speed to medium high and beat until thoroughly combined. Stop the mixer to add powder sugar and 2 tablespoon of strawberry powder, mix at low speed to incorporate the powder mixture into the cream mixture, then gradually increase speed to medium high and beat until thoroughly combined and fluffy.
  • To create swirl frosting, lay out a piece of plastic wrap on the counter, scoop out each frosting separately and lay them side by side in two logs. Roll up the plastic wrap to create 1 log of frosting with two colors.
  • Add a piping tip of your choice to a pastry bag, cut off the excess plastic wrap at one end of the frosting log to expose the frosting and add to the pastry bag without removing the plastic wrap. Set aside until read to use.

Assemble the cupcakes

  • Use the bottom of a frosting tip to cut out holes on top of a cupcake, push down and twist. Use a chopstick to push out the plug inside the frosting tip. Repeat one more time to create a deeper hole if desired.
  • Spoon in 1 – 2 teaspoons of lemon curd to fill the hole. Add the plug of cupcake back on top to cover the filling. Add frosting.
  • Repeat the process for the rest of the cupcakes. Garnish with fresh strawberry or candied lemon slice if desired.


  • I buy freeze dried strawberry from Target, one package is typically 1 oz.
  • I used homemade lemon curd in this recipe but store-bought will also work.
  • Refrigerate left over cupcakes.
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