Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes Recipe

In case you didn't know, the perfect summer drink is a frosty-cold strawberry lemonade (that, or a margarita — take your pick). So, therefore, by sound deductive reasoning, that means the perfect summer dessert is a deliciously frosted strawberry lemon cupcake. "These may honestly be the best cupcakes I've ever made," raves recipe developer Jessica Morone of Jess Loves Baking. "The tart flavor of the lemon in the cupcakes goes so well with the light sweetness of the strawberry frosting. And because there's cream cheese in the frosting, it ends up not being too sweet, and a little bit tangy, which makes it taste so good." 

And given that this from-scratch recipe only takes about 35 minutes to whip up, it's the perfect option to have on tap for those last-minute summer poolside get-togethers. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy this recipe year-round. Anytime you're craving a sweet and tangy treat, these strawberry lemon cupcakes deliver. 

Gather the ingredients for strawberry lemon cupcakes

Most of the ingredients for this cupcake recipe are fairly standard for baking cakes. You'll need all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, milk, cream cheese, unsalted butter, and powdered sugar. Of course, then there are the ingredients that give this recipe its name (and flavor). You'll also need a package of lemon instant pudding mix, lemon zest, and strawberry puree (you can easily make this from fresh strawberries, so just grab a container of strawberries from the store).

Of all of the ingredients, the one that likely stands out is the lemon instant pudding mix — it's not every day that pudding mix is included in cupcakes, but in this case, Morone says it's the special ingredient. "It adds lemon flavor to the cake, and also makes the cupcakes extra moist and fluffy," she says. 

Mix the dry ingredients for the cupcakes

When you've got your ingredients ready, go ahead and start with the basic prep work. Preheat your oven to 350 F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners before setting it aside. Then, whisk the dry ingredients (flour, pudding mix, baking powder, and salt) together until well combined. 

Beat together (most of) the wet ingredients for the cupcakes

Next up, you'll want to beat together the sugar, oil, lemon zest, and eggs in a separate bowl from the dry ingredients. Choose a medium-high speed on a stand mixer or electric hand mixer to make the work particularly quick and easy. But if you need to, it's fine to stir by hand, as Morone says there aren't any particularly difficult-to-mix ingredients being used. 

Combine and mix the wet and dry ingredients

To finish making the cupcake batter, simply reduce the mixing speed to medium before adding the dry ingredients and the milk in small increments to the bowl with the wet ingredients until they're just combined. It's important not to overmix, says Morone. "You want to mix the batter until the flour and milk are fully incorporated and no streaks remain in the batter," she says. Once that's achieved, stop stirring. 

Fill the cupcake tin and bake the cupcakes

Evenly divide the batter between the cupcake wells in the prepared pan. Each well should be filled about ⅔ full. 

Pop the pan in the preheated oven and bake the cupcakes for about 20 to 22 minutes. You'll know they're done when you prick them with a toothpick or fork and the pricker comes out clean. 

Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before transferring them to a wire rack to let them cool completely. Giving them plenty of time to cool is important because this will allow the frosting to stay put without melting when you decorate the cupcakes. 

Whip up the strawberry cream cheese frosting

As the cupcakes are cooking, go ahead and make your cream cheese frosting. In this case, it's important to use an electric mixer (rather than mixing by hand) to ensure the frosting gets extra creamy and fluffy. 

If you haven't already made your strawberry puree, now's the time to do it. "Just put cut-up strawberries into a blender without anything else and blend them until they are pureed and smooth. About ½ cup of chopped strawberries works out to ¼ cup puree," says Morone. 

Then, combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat them together until creamy, then add the strawberry puree until it's well combined. Lastly, slowly shake in the powdered sugar as you continue beating the frosting until it achieves a light and fluffy consistency. 

Frost the cupcakes, decorate, and serve

When the cupcakes have completely cooled, top them with the frosting and add decorations, as desired. "You don't really have to add anything to these to decorate them — you can just top them with frosting and eat them. But you could also add some fun things like sprinkles, or I put little lemon and strawberry slices on them, and a straw to make them seem like little strawberry lemonade drinks," Morone says. But to that end, she has a warning: "If you put fresh fruit on these you have to eat them right away or the fruit will continue to drip juice onto the frosting." 

If you don't end up eating them all at once (or if you know you'll be waiting a couple of days before serving), they last for about a week when stored properly. "The unfrosted cupcakes can last up to a week on your counter. The frosting also separately can last in your fridge for up to a week," Morone says. "Once the cupcakes are frosted, they are good in the fridge for about 3 days." 

Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes Recipe
5 from 27 ratings
These strawberry lemon cupcakes offer a refreshing, summery flavor.
Prep Time
Cook Time
strawberry lemon cupcakes on plate
Total time: 35 minutes
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package lemon instant pudding mix
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup strawberry puree
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners then set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the sugar, oil, lemon zest, and eggs on medium-high speed until combined.
  4. Reduce speed to medium and add in the flour mixture alternating with the milk until just combined. Don't overmix.
  5. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake pan, filling each well ⅔ full.
  6. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  7. In a large bowl combine the cream cheese and butter and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Add in the strawberry puree until combined. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and beat on high until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  8. Frost the cooled cupcakes, decorate as desired, then serve.
Calories per Serving 513
Total Fat 24.9 g
Saturated Fat 9.8 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 67.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 70.1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Total Sugars 56.8 g
Sodium 317.6 mg
Protein 4.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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