Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes

I know it’s been a while since I’ve actually cooked or baked something and I do apologize for my recent food extravagance but it’s been an exciting few weeks of food events and birthday dinners. Fortunately I had some time on my hands this weekend to do some baking and just in time for my friend Allie’s birthday.

Although I’m a huge fan of Crumbs among other fine cupcake establishments, I wanted to bring Allie something from the heart AND something seasonal. Seasonal means limited which translates into special and THAT is what I wanted my birthday sweets to convey. Store bought cupcakes are wonderful but homemade cupcakes, well they’re a rare treat.

Since I happened to have some fresh strawberries and lemons on hand, I scoured the internet for a cake recipe that balanced the sweetness and tartness of both ingredients. And after seeing only a photo of the Strawberry and Lemonade Cupcakes baked by Annie’s Eats, I knew I’d found the perfect spring cupcake!

COOK’s note: I modified Annie’s recipe to cut down on the sweetness and some of the calories. Unfortunately my low-fat frosting didn’t come out so well, so for the time being I recommend using Annie’s frosting. Just be sure to whip the cream cheese and butter before adding the strawberry puree, as the mixture can easily thin out. Add approximately 7 tsp of puree or just enough so that the frosting keeps its firm texture.

Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes Recipe

Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes

Source: Cake adapted from Williams Sonoma, frosting from Annie’s Eats


For the cake:

  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 10 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup 1 % milk
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped

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


  • Mixing bowls
  • Hand blender or stand mixer
  • Measuring cups and spoons


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Add in the remaining flour mixture and mix on low speed until just blended.  Fold in the fresh strawberries with a spatula.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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).
  9. Frost cupcakes as desired and garnish with fresh strawberries.

2 Responses

  1. They were DELISH!!! Thanks for bringing them along and adding a wonderrrful dessert to an already glutinous day of eating!

  2. Thanks Jess! You made my birthday so special! The cupcakes were delicious, I loved the fresh strawberries with the frosting.

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