When the warmer weather sets in, I’m ready for summery sweets with fruity flavors. While I’ll typically turn to something like a dessert pizza or pina colada ice cream, I have fallen in love with these lemon strawberry cupcakes.
These moist lemon cupcakes are dotted with chopped strawberries and then topped with a creamy strawberry extract infused cream cheese frosting. The zesty lemon flavor perfectly balances out the sweetness of the strawberries.
While these don’t exactly boast a super fast prep time, this really is the most perfect cupcake for summer. It’s totally worth taking a bit of time to whip up this summer treat.
So, if you’re looking for a dessert that is full of the flavors of summer, this recipe is a great option. And, if this is your first time making homemade cupcakes, or you just want a quicker option, you can always look below for how to substitute in a boxed cake mix.
Why You’ll Love Lemon Strawberry Cupcakes
Table of Contents
Flavors – The lemon mixed with the strawberry is the perfect balance of summer flavors.
Pretty – These are a pretty addition to any table at a summer party or cookout.
Portable – Cupcakes always travel well so they’re easy to take to any event.
Customizable – you can make these your own by changing up the extracts, garnishes, or frosting color.
- Unsalted butter – As with most baking, be sure to use unsalted rather than salted butter.
- Granulated sugar – Make sure to uniformly mix the sugar into the other ingredients to ensure every cupcake tastes the same.
- Eggs – Make sure to use large eggs.
- Vanilla extract – It’s super easy to make your own vanilla extract if you don’t already have it.
- Strawberry extract – If you don’t have strawberry extract on hand you can use a strawberry puree, strawberry syrup, or strawberry liqueur instead.
- Whole or 2% milk – To get the best results, I recommend going with the full-fat milk, but you can substitute 2% milk if you prefer.
- Vegetable oil – If you don’t have vegetable oil in your pantry you can use canola oil instead.
- Baking powder – Make sure to use baking powder and not baking soda.
- Salt – Just a bit of salt helps to bring out the sweet and tart flavors of this cupcake.
- All purpose flour– While you can use alternative flours in baking, it’s probably preferable to stick with all purpose for this recipe.
- Fresh strawberries – For the garnish you’ll want to half the berries. Make sure to chop the rest small and uniformly.
- Lemon zest – Use a grater to get fine cuts of the lemon skin. It will add an extra zing to the cupcakes.
- Cream cheese – As with the milk, full fat cream cheese will deliver the best results, but you can opt for neufchatel if you prefer.
- Unsalted butter – The cream cheese will add enough salt to carry the flavors through in this frosting.
- Vanilla extract – If you want more lemon flavor in the frosting you can substitute lemon extract for the vanilla.
- Strawberry extract – This will carry that strawberry flavor from the cupcakes through to the frosting.
- Powdered sugar – Using powdered sugar instead of granulated will keep your frosting from being grainy.
- Pink food coloring – This is optional, but you can add it to your liking to make your frosting the prettiest pink.
How To Make Lemon Strawberry Cupcakes
- Cream butter and sugar. Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer) and beat on medium speed until creamy. Ensure that the ingredients are completely combined and light and fluffy. Creaming also adds air into the batter, making them light and fluffy. The process should take approximately 4 minutes. Many home bakers underestimate the creaming time.
- Add eggs and extracts. Next, add in the eggs and extracts and mix again until all ingredients are evenly dispersed. If you don’t have strawberry extract, feel free to swap this with equal amounts of lemon extract, lemon juice or additional vanilla extract.
- Add oil and milk. Then, add vegetable oil and the milk and again beat thoroughly so that all of the wet ingredients are fully combined.
- Add dry ingredients. Sift together the dry ingredients to evenly distribute them throughout and then add them in increments to the wet ingredients.
- Add strawberries and lemon zest. Once all of the flour is entirely incorporated, pour in the strawberries and lemon zest. With a spatula, gently fold into the cupcake batter.
- Pour into liners and bake. Pour the batter into the cupcake liners of the muffin or cupcake pan and place in your preheated oven.
- Make frosting. Add the cream cheese and butter to a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until it is smooth and creamy. Add in the extracts and beat. Next, incrementally incorporate the powdered sugar.
- Add food coloring. If you are going to add food coloring, add the desired amount and mix until the color is evenly distributed. Start with small amounts to achieve the specific hue that you want.
- Frost cupcakes. Pipe the frosting onto each cupcake, swirling it around from a wider circle to smaller toward the top.
- Garnish and serve. Top each cupcake with a strawberry half and serve.
- Buttercream – Make a simple buttercream frosting instead (pink food coloring optional).
- Other frosting – Use a store-bought frosting of your favorite flavor.
- Lemon zest – Grate the peel of a lemon and sprinkle a small amount over each cupcake after frosting.
- Whipped cream – Mix some pink food coloring into an easy homemade whipped cream for a lighter topping.
- Filling – After baking, use a piping bag to fill the cupcake with lemon curd or strawberry jam filling. If you have pudding mix on hand, you could make that and use it as a filler as well.
- Garnish – In addition to the strawberries, try garnishing with lemon slices or other fresh fruit. Or if you are like my daughter, sprinkles!
- Sour cream – You can add sour cream to the frosting to give it a tart tang.
- Cake mix – If you’re in a hurry, you can use a lemon cake mix instead. Just fold in the strawberries and zest.
Storage and Freezing
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
You can also store the cupcakes separately if you want to frost them later – just wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. They can be frozen with or without frosting, just don’t garnish with fresh strawberries.
More Cupcake Recipes
Lemon Strawberry Cupcakes
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter ,room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon strawberry extract*
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup fresh strawberries , chopped
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 8 ounces cream cheese , room temperature
- ½ cup unsalted butter , room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon strawberry extract
- 3½ cups powdered sugar
- pink food coloring , optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 18 standard size muffin tins with liners. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer or in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, approximately 4-5 minutes.
- Add in the eggs and extracts. Mix until well combined. Continue with adding the vegetable oil and milk.
- Sift or whisk together the baking powder, salt and flour. Add in the dry ingredients in ½ cup increments until it is fully incorporated.
- Fold the the chopped strawberries into the batter by hand, being mindful to not overmix.
- Fill each muffin well 2/3 of the way full of batter.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until they are springy to the touch and pass the toothpick test. Remove and allow to cool fully.
- In a mixing bowl, blend together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.
- Add in the extracts, mixing well. Add the powdered sugar and blend until fully incorporated.
- If you wish to add food coloring, place in the desired amount, and mix until the frosting is streak free.
- Place the frosting into a piping bag prepared with your desired tip or frost using an offset spatula.
- Garnish with fresh strawberries right before serving.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.