Strawberry season! Big, fat, juicy and dirt, dirt cheap. I intended to bring strawberry cupcakes to a get-together but then I walked passed big, fat, juicy lemons. Not for sale, but still big. Fat. Juicy! I needed lemonade! And lemony cupcakes!
I switched from strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting to lemon cupcakes with strawberry frosting. I also ended up needing 10 other things that weren’t on my list. And this, my friends, is why we usually don’t let me walk into the grocery store hungry.
The lemon cake was moist with a nice and light lemony goodness. If you’re like me and are a big fan of kick-you-in-the-face lemon, you might want to sub some (heck, maybe even all) of the lemon juice for thawed lemonade concentrate. And the frosting? Oh, the frosting. I love Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It’s killer smooth. With the addition of strawberry puree, it was also very strawberry-y, and fluffy – the kind of frosting you could eat straight from the bowl with a big spoon. And then lick from the rubber spatula and paddle attachment… not that I did that or anything.
Having problems with your swiss meringue buttercream? Read how to fix it here.
Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Tart lemon cupcakes topped with strawberry swiss meringue buttercream frosting.
- For the lemon cupcakes:
- 3 cups flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs, at room temp
- 3 Tbsp lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- For the strawberry swiss meringue buttercream frosting:
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 3 sticks butter, cubed and at room temperature
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup strawberry puree (from about 6 medium, hulled strawberries)
- Preheat oven to 325. Prepare muffin tins with paper liners or baking spray.
- Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar on a high until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next one. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Turn mixer to the low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated.
- Fill each muffin cup ~3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pans at the halfway point. Allow cupcakes to cool completely in the pans before removing.
- Place the stand mixer bowl over a simmering pot of water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk the sugar and egg whites until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture registers 160 degrees with a candy thermometer.
- Place bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until the mixture is cool and holds stiff, glossy peaks (approximately 10 minutes). Change to the paddle attachment and beat in one tablespoon of butter at a time on medium. The mixture might appear curdled but keep beating, it will pull back togethe. Add lemon juice, and strawberry puree. Increase speed to high and beat until the frosting reincorporates and is smooth and fluffy.
Yields: 24 cupcakes
Estimated time: 1 hour
gorgeous, gorgeous cupcakes. what type of tip do you use to frost your cupcakes?!
Wilton’s 1M tip is the “pretty cupcake swirl” tip.
I’d change my plans for these babies too 🙂
They were super yummy. thank you!!!!
They look beautiful! I love swiss meringue buttercream too!
Yeah going to the store hungry doesn’t work so well for me either. At least according to my bank statement.
That frosting looks amazing and I think the flavor pairing with the lemon cupcakes was a great idea. I might have to make these for a friend’s birthday that’s coming up!
Oh yeah, I have to try this out. I’ve been craving a strawberry dessert. This looks perfect. Why does everyone have better piping skills than I? 🙁
These look adorable and delish! Now, I just have to decide upon which day these shall be made. Because, they WILL be made!!
Super cute idea with the strawberry lemonade cupcakes!
And I really love the colors, your pics are so romantic!
I’m in charge of snacks for our youth group event tomorrow and these seemed like a perfect fit! Just finished making them and they’re SO delicious!! : )
Adorable! Way prettier than the Swedish Cupakes that I made in the last episode of my cooking show. 😉
Perfect, these literally made me smile will be trying these this weekend !!
Yum! I can’t wait to try these!
Beautiful cupcakes! Lemons and strawberries, a wonderful welcome to Spring and definitely great flavor pairings! Congrats on making Top9!!
beautiful frosting on top! love the light pink as well
Oh, I have strawberries and lemons sitting around. This will be perfect. I also like the buttercream recipe. Never tried buttercream meringue before!
These were also my chage of plan cupcakes…I made these instead of going for a run as planned. I think I made the better choice 🙂 They were delicious! Thank you for sharing!
Beautiful! I love the color of the frosting and the way you piped it on. I can’t wait to try these this summer!
They look and sound wonderful!!
Your cupcakes look so beautiful! I can’t wait to try this recipe!
I’m going to make these for my birthday next week! Yummy!
these look delightful! whats there not to love about lemonade and strawberries! super cute blog also!!
What a great flavor combination! I can’t wait to try these!
I made these last night for a co-workers birthday today. The cupcakes came out great but the frosting never set up. I beat the frosting, after adding the strawberry puree, for at least 15 minutes and it never came together. I ended up just putting a lemon glaze on the cupcakes. I have never made a meringue before. I followed the directions to a tee.
Cupcakes have a good flavor though!
They look so beautiful and delish too!
That’s one lovely lemonade cupcake you’ve made! 😀
These cupcakes taste amazing! The flavor of the frosting is delicious, but the consistency turned out AWFUL. Very, very runny…but with an excellent flavor. A huge disappointment…and I actually made the frosting twice just to make sure I didn’t mess up somewhere along the line. Followed your directions exactly, both times. I will try to search for a better recipe to finish off my naked delicious lemony cupcakes–perhaps Martha Stewart’s original Swiss Meringue Buttercream. The consistency was great before I added the butter & strawberry puree, etc. Seriously bummed because your frosting stole my heart–and my belly! 🙂
Just keep beating it. It will really come together, it just takes a while sometimes. I once had to beat it for about 20 minutes. But another time it came together in 5, so I don’t really know the reason why but I know this icing is a fickle mistress. So keep beating the icing.
i just made these! really cute idea but my frosting never came together either, and i followed the instructions to the letter 🙁 still tastes ok though, just not quite as pretty as the picture..
Simply beautiful!! Love the colors!
I made these for a party last weekend – they were great! This was my first time making a buttercream frosting like this. I did have some extra frosting leftover… it may have been eaten by spoon 🙂
These were a big hit, thanks for sharing them!
Very refreshing! Loved the flavor combo!
These were a big hit at Mother’s Day. The frosting was amazing!
We made these a couple of nights ago and the strawberry frosting was FANTASTIC! But my lemon cupcakes were a little dry.. They only cooked for 20 minutes instead of 25, so I don’t think they were in the oven too long.. I really loved the flavors, but do you have any suggestions on making them more moist? Thanks– I am a new follower and I keep coming back to your site and recipes 🙂
Those cupcakes look amazing! I was just wondering if you could tell me what piping tip you used to pipe the frosting? Thanks!
@Tam, I used the Wilton 2D (large, closed star).
How do you pipe it? I love the sort of askew way it falls and can’t figure it out. Do you sort of wave the tip a little? Your frosting looks firm and mine was soft and light and a bit runny so this wouldn’t have worked tonight, but I still want to know how you did it!
Mindy – I used the large closed star tip from Wilton (2d). The frosting comes out all ruffly and wavy with that tip!
Hello there, I just wanted to thank you for this wonderful recipe, I made mini cupcakes and they turned out great. It was perfection. I had no problems whatsoever with the swiss meringue buttercream! But now my arm is tired. I hope I burned some calories at least!
These cupcakes are FABULOUS! I did my own version of a strawberry frosting with some strawberry puree added in. So so good. I am making them for my sons wedding this weekend along with a few other kinds. I am sure they will be a big hit! Thanks for sharing.
The frosting is absolutely the best thing I have ever tasted! I used raspberries and made lemonade cupcakes from an altered lemon cake mix but really soo good thank you for sharing!
In the written instruction “2”, you say “Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.” However, you do not list vanilla or the amount in the ingredients. Do you have a correction?
Jo, there’s no vanilla. Thanks for pointing that out.
This frosting is awesome! i was so worried that it wouldn’t come out right, but when i tried heating a portion for 15 seconds, that did it! It was delicious, and surprisingly easy to make!
I followed this recipe and it was THE BEST EVER!!! The icing was PERFECT!!!!! I couldn’t use a candy thermometer because it was touching the bottom of the pan. I just waited until it turned white like meringue pie. If I wrote a book, I couldn’t brag enough about this recipe!
I also entered this cupcake in a baking contest and won first prize!! Thanks for the recipe!!
How fun – Congrats!
I must admit I’ve never blogged or commented on many recipes I’ve tried. The first compliment I received while my taster was still chewing was “phenomenal”. I must agree, they are amazing!! I followed both recipes exact, ended up with “dulce de leche” (thank you fridge) and still have batter and frosting left after 24 cupcakes. I ran out of liners and it was too late to go out and get more, but I’ll finish the rest of them today. Thank you for such a delicious cupcake. Can’t wait to try the Margarita cupcake!!
I make cupcakes once or twice a month, and when I first saw these cupcakes I knew I had to make them. I was a little worried about how the icing would turn out because of all the comments about it not turning out so well. So I stared with the cake, very easy to make and it was not an over powering lemon flavor which was what I was hoping for. The cakes came out perfect!! So then to the icing, I was a little worried because I recently broke my candy thermometer so I pretty much guessed at when I thought it was finished cooking. After the ten minutes of whipping I feel in love with this icing! it is perfect, light, creamy, smooth and oh soooo yummy my mother kept eating it from the bowl! my cupcakes turned out exactly like the picture too 🙂 i would defiantly make these again!
When you say 3 cups flour, did you mean cake flour or all purpose flour? Thanks!
I used cake flour for fun and the cupcakes were so tender and delish! I am sure they would have been anyway! At the same time I tried out another similar recipe with all-purp flour, reg milk and egg yolks instead of whole eggs and they weren’t nearly as good. Will make again with a cream cheese lemon curd frosting as am also making your strawberry cupcakes for a baby shower.
I just asked a question about strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream on your strawberry cake post, and then I found this recipe! Would this work with your strawberry cake? And more importantly, would this work for the ruffled cake technique, or should I do without the strawberries? My fear is it being too watery and the ruffles not holding. Love some ideas on how to do this. Thanks!!!!
I’m actually making this frosting tomorrow to top the strawberry cupcakes I made earlier this week 🙂 I see no reason why it wouldn’t work to ruffle – the frosting is very stable.
Can I replace the buttermilk with goat’s milk? I am sensitive to cow’s milk and goat’s buttermilk is very difficult to impossible to find.
I don’t have any experience with goat’s milk. Buttermilk is more acidic than plain cow’s milk, I regularly make my own with the milk+vinegar trick. Maybe it’s possible to “make” goat’s buttermilk the same way?
I made this for a bbq I am going to at my families house tomorrow. Instead of cupcakes I did a cake (also made six cupcakes so I could do a taster before I bring it to share) because transporting is easier for me until I get a cupcake carrier, anyways loved the lemon cake but the frosting for me it was way to butter, it did came together beautifully and I was super excited until I tasted it and got a great strawberry taste with a strong butter after flavor yuck is all I could think. The taste is great for the first little bit that it hits your mouth then not so much I then went back to the recipe to make sure I did not add to much butter that maybe I was wrong in using 3 sticks but nope it says 3 sticks so then I thought well maybe its the smaller sticks but it was not specified and I was then wishing it would have just gave an amount of how much instead of how many. Super bummed, I never use any recipe that calls for more than 6 tbs because of the greasy taste it can give off but i really wanted to try it. I am going to use it anyways and people can decide if they like it or not but it is a very Delicious cake!!
Oh my goodness! Not sure where to start. I have been on a quest in search of the perfect cupcake. I have baked so many cupcakes (and eaten way too many cupcakes!) that I had almost given up. I wanted a cupcake that was dense and velvety in texture, firm enough to hold up while you eat it but not too firm. This is exactly what I have been looking for! Not only are they easy to make but they are delicious! My house smelled of butter and lemon while they were baking. These are so good that you could just eat them “as is”. The buttercream makes them to die for. This recipe is going in my personal cookbook and it is one I will reach for over and over again.
I do want to add that I tried using the eggwhites that come in a carton in the dairy case. Disaster. I have made buttercream more times than I can count and have never had a mishap until I tried those eggwhites. I ended up with butter-soup. Awful. I tossed the whole mess out and got out a carton of eggs. This is one case where the old-fashioned way is definitely bettter! I know some have said that they work just fine but they sure did not work for me. Thought I would mention that in case someone was making buttercream for the first time and thought it was a flaw in the recipe. The recipe is perfect but I would be very leery of those packaged eggwhites!
Hi there! I was planning on making the frosting a night before I made the cake portion. Can it be stored overnight? If yes, what would be the best way to ensure it stays together? I’m a bit nervous; its the first time I’m making Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting!
I leave frosted cupcakes on the counter overnight but I’ve never left the entire bowl out. I can’t imagine it would end in disaster as long as your house wasn’t overly warm. You can also refrigerate the frosting, just make sure it completely comes back to room temp. Also take note of the troubleshooting link – if your frosting breaks, it’s totally fixable with those instructions.
I made this a couple days ago for my sister’s birthday and it turned out great! I made a cake instead of cupcakes (3 layers, 8 inch pans) which worked well, and the frosting was delicious! I was really worried about making the swiss buttercream since it was my first time trying my hand at it, but thanks to your tips (mine definitely looked “curdled” for a bit) it came together perfectly. Thanks!
I made these yesterday for a BBQ and they were a hit! Great recipe!
Would it be possible to swap out the regular flour for gluten free flour without changing the taste or texture in order to make these perfect for a celiac’s bridal shower?
I have never personally baked with the GF flour substitute but if you’ve had good results with that flour mix before, you’ll be fine – it’s a pretty standard cake recipe.