Love and Olive Oil

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

It happened again. I had one of my cupcake visions. And I couldn’t shake it. I kept thinking about these cupcakes, constantly, even dreamed about them multiple times. And much like the last ones, the only way to stop obsessing was to hunker down and make them.

So I did.

What’s odd about this is I don’t usually like lemon-flavored sweets. Don’t let any fruit get in the way of my chocolate is my usual sentiment. So the fact that I was focusing so much of my thought and attention on some lemon cupcakes makes no sense at all.

And you know what? These were surprisingly good! Very refreshing. Even for a lemon-dessert-skeptic like me. I enjoyed them very much. We made two variations, one all lemon, with lemon cake and lemon buttercream, and then another variation I’m calling Strawberry Lemonade, lemon cake with lemon strawberry buttercream. The later won in our very non-scientific not so blind taste test.

I used a variation on the tropical cupcake base I’ve used previously, with all coconut milk rather than soymilk (I thought the coconut would play nicely with the lemon). Upped the lemon zest and added some juice as well. The cake came out moist and lemony, but not too much so.

The frosting was tricky. I used a variation on the Swiss Meringue Buttercream I’d actually succeeded in making earlier (unlike the Mousseline Buttercream that I failed at so miserably). I’d be interested in hearing others’ thoughts on this frosting recipe. I felt like the buttercream was nice and fluffy until the addition of the lemon juice and strawberry – it got very greasy and sloppy. It didn’t ‘break’, but it wasn’t fluffy like it had been prior to these additions. It still piped on the cupcakes reasonably well, and tasted rich and buttery, it just didn’t behave like I thought it should. Ideas? Thoughts? I’m wondering what would happen if I tried almost a ‘hybrid’ buttercream – started with the meringue base, but then added some powdered sugar in at the end to fluff it and to cut the butter a bit. Would that work or would I kill it?

Nevertheless, another cupcake for the books. These are definite contenders for the wedding cupcakes, we’ll have to see what else comes out of my head between now and June that might pass these by, but for now, definite contenders!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes.

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1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup oil
1 cup full fat coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 ounces of fresh strawberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg whites
6 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons lemon juice (approximately 1 large lemon)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350?F.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add sugar and brown sugar and mix. Whisk together oil, coconut milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until relatively smooth. Fill cupcake liners with a scant 1/4 cup of batter (should be just under 2/3 of the way full). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

To make frosting, first wash and hull strawberries and toss them into a food processor. Puree strawberries and set aside.

Add sugar and egg whites into a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream. Remove the bowl from the heat.

Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. Don’t freak out if your buttercream curdles or separates, keep beating and it will come together again.

Once the buttercream is thick and smooth, gradually beat in the lemon juice on medium speed, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla. By this point you should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. You can stop at this point if you want to stick with lemon buttercream. For strawberry buttercream, gradually add in strawberry puree, beating on medium speed until well incorporated.

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  1. It looks so devastatingly pretty!! I have to do this for my son – if he decides to eat that is. But i have strawberries in the fridge – i should try this.

  2. I have baked muffin thousand times but never made cupcakes as heavy cream or butter frosting is not healthy generally and is heavy. I think your recipe is going to be my first cupcake try.

  3. I made these for the first time today, and I could not possibly be happier! The flavor was perfect! The frosting was light and airy and not too sweet!

  4. Thanks for being inspired! I really enjoyed the fluffy texture and how it was so moist that it kept its shape coming out of the cupcake liner. I always wondered what it would take! Love that this can probably be easily a vegan recipe, thanks to coconut and no egg. Brilliant and tasty! My kinda cupcake!

  5. Hi Lindsay! I know this comment is late but I believe your problem with the SMBC is the pure strawberry purée. Purée has too high of a water content for delicate SMBC and can cause it to break even or just plain get weird on you. What I recommend is using a strawberry reduction like this one instead as it has a much lower water content and a much more concentrated and potent flavor I think you’ll love.  Let me know if this helps when you attempt them again!! Sorry this is so late! 

  6. Thank you for trying the 7-minute frosting with strawberries. I’d never thought of such an inventive idea. I must have done something wrong, and ended up creating a non-cooked buttercream after my frosting flopped. Please, keep sharing great recipes like this – it was great.

  7. Thank you for sharing this great recipe! The directions were spot on. The cupcakes turned out moist and the frosting light, fluffy and full of flavor. I will be making these again!

  8. I made these last night and boyfriend said it was the best cupcake he has ever had and that they are something his mother would approve of! That engagement ring should be coming any day now :)

  9. Did everyone get 12 cupcakes out of this recipe? I just made them and put them in regular sized muffin tins and I got 10 cupcakes. Now I have to make another batch. Haven’t tried them yet though.

  10. Im new to using coconut milk can I use the can of cocount milk or should i use the carton?

    • Sure, just make sure it isn’t flavored or sweetened. Sometimes the can stuff is really nice and thick, and that’s preferable, but I think low-fat or carton would work just fine.

  11. PS- the second time around I used reduced fat coconut milk, as I was out I full fat. They were still delish!

  12. These are so good- I made them twice in one week! First I made them as a cake for my son’s birthday, used the buttercream as a filling an topped with fondant. Oh. My. Gosh. The real fruit flavors are so incredibly fresh and delicious. The cake was moist and delicious. (I was shocked, as I’ve never made a cake without eggs!) It was so popular via Facebook photo that I made the cupcakes again in cupcake form when we had company- at their request!

  13. is there a substitution for cocnut milk. where i live,it is impossible to get it. thanks in advance

  14. These cupcakes look fantastic! I’d love to make them this weekend but will the strawberry frosting hold up for a couple hours or melt all over before we get to eat them?

    • If it is hot where you are and you cannot keep them refrigerated, try swapping out 1/2 cup or so of the butter for vegetable shortening. The shortening will help stabilize the frosting and it’ll hold up better in the heat.

  15. I won my friends CupCake WAR with this recipe! Thank you!!

  16. I have made a variation on this cupcake. For the frosting, a whipped cream goes nicely. Nice & light – perfect for the summer and the flavor of this recipe. Here is a recipe for Strawberry Whipped Cream Frosting, courtesy of Joy of Baking. I have made it this way & added lemon juice with the strawberry puree & it turned out lovely.

  17. A friend shared this post/recipe with me last night. Its perfect for my daughter’s upcoming birthday in July. She has requested Strawberry “Ironman” Cupcakes. This will work out perfect for her Ironman themed 5th birthday party.
    Thank you!

  18. i made this saturday and was horrible, this recipe dont take eggs, so don´t have texture cake! someone coul tellme what happened??????

  19. I think I’m going to have to make these at my cupcake party!

  20. These look AMAZING!

  21. I used the Strawberry Lemonade Cupcake recipe with the Fresh Strawberry Buttercream Icing for my daughters Strawberry Shortcake birthday party and everyone loved it! It was so nice and refreshing! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I followed all of your directions and the cupcakes looked so beautiful!! Great Job!

  22. I made these and they are SERIOUSLY – the best cupcakes I’ve ever eaten. The cake is so light and flufffy – I made the frosting incorrectly but they were still to die for! If you’d like you can see them on my blog and I linked them back to you. Thanks again!

  23. These are to die for!

  24. Can’t wait to make these! How far ahead of the party can I make them, and how far ahead can I frost them? I have a cake decorator tool, can you tell me how to pipe the frosting just like you did?
    Thank you so very much for the recipe!

  25. Beautiful cupcakes- I love the strawberry frosted one!

  26. I love that strawberry cream on this cupcakes!

  27. I just planted some strawberry plants for the Perth summer and will bookmark this recipe for when the strawberries hatch!

  28. I found your site while using Stumble and am sure glad I did. These cupcakes look delicious and I am very impressed with the combination of strawberries, lemon, and coconut. How could these be bad? This is a must try — many thanks for sharing this with us. Love your blog!


  29. I’m making these this weekend for a party we’re having on the fourth — and planting a little blueberry atop all of them :) Thanks, as always, for the great recipes!

  30. I love these cupcakes! I make them all the time. They are really easy and unique. I love the coconut flavor in the cake itself! Thanks so much!

  31. I just made these and mastered the buttercream on my very first try!!!! Thank you for your recipe and making it so easy! I even shot some lemon curd into the centers. Deee-licious!


  32. What a refreshing treat! I would love to have these at my daughters summer party.. I think a little lemon drop on top would be a cute touch as well.. Kudos

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