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Summer is the time for freshly picked strawberries and lemonade stands…so why not combine the two in a cupcake?!  Whoever thought up these delicious creations is a genius.

I searched high and low and found a ton of strawberry lemonade and pink lemonade cupcake recipes, but I really wanted one that used fresh lemons and strawberries as opposed to lemonade or pink lemonade concentrate.  The idea was for the whole thing to taste like strawberries and lemonade, not to actually have lemonade in the cupcake itself.  When I came across this recipe, it sounded perfect.

The entire cupcake is so fresh tasting.  When I took them out of the oven, the lemon zest was visible right on the top.  (The trick to getting flat cupcakes, which makes it much easier to frost and decorate, is to preheat the oven to the specified temperature [350 in this recipe] and only bake them at that temperature for about 7 minutes.  Then turn it down to 250 degrees the rest of the time.)

Fresh strawberries are in the first frosting (right on top of the cupcake), and lemon zest and juice are in the second frosting (on the very top).  Plus I added a strawberry slice on top for garnish, further accentuating the freshness.  (And my strawberries and lemons are from the farmers’ market of course.)

And I love that there are two frostings on this cupcake, so that together they taste like strawberry lemonade!  And they’re gorgeous (is that weird to say about frosting?) with the specks of zest in the lemon frosting and the small pieces of bright red fruit that dot the light pink strawberry frosting.  They’re super creamy too.

So these sweet treats were my nod to the beginning of summer, my outlet for the visions of juicy strawberries and lemonade stands dancing in my head!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes.


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • grated zest of 2 lemons
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  (Lower to 250 after 7 minutes.)
  • Cream butter, sugar and eggs together until fluffy.  Add vanilla and lemon zest.
  • Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add half the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.  Add the milk.  Once mixed, add remaining dry ingredients.
  • Pour into lined or greased cupcake pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Let cool, then frost.

For the strawberry and lemon buttercream frostings:

  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar + 1 cup extra
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped strawberries
  • grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1-2 tbsp milk (I used lemon juice instead) if needed
  • Cream butter until smooth.  Add in the 3 cups of powdered sugar slowly.  Add vanilla.
  • Separate the frosting in two.  (This all depends on how much of each you want to put on each cupcake.  I did 3/4 strawberry and 1/4 lemon.)  Leave the portion for the strawberry frosting in the bowl with the mixer and put the portion for the lemon frosting in another bowl.
  • For the strawberry frosting, press the chopped berries with a paper towel to release extra moisture.  Add them to the bowl with the mixer and turn it on high, scraping the sides as you go.  Because strawberries have a high water content, you may need to add some or all of the extra cup of powdered sugar.  Adjust to your desired flavor and consistency.
  • For the lemon frosting, fold the lemon zest into the second sugar/butter mixture.  Squeeze in some lemon juice to thin it a little if desired.

(Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is.  Her description of how hers turned out is hilarious.)