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

  33. Stumbled across your site last night, tried your strawberry lemonade cupcakes today, fell in love with this site forever more… awesome job!

  34. so I really wanted to try these out, and I did. I made the cupcakes first and they turned out really good. Then I made the frosting, and I wasn’t so excited about it. But THEN, I put them together, and BAM! They taste SO wonderful together.. I’m really excited about these!

  35. They look great! Thanks for sharing with us this great recipe!

  36. I just made your Chocolate and Blood Orange Cupcakes and they were delicious! Now I want to try ALL your recipes, haha. So since your buttercream didn’t work out very well what kind of frosting do you recommend using instead?

  37. In the frosting recipe you might try whipping cream instead of egg whites. whip the cream with a pinch of cream of tartar until it is good and stiff. I use whipped cream lots in frosting to cut the sweetness of the confectionate sugar. Refrigerate the cakes until half an hour or so before serving.

  38. Am I missing something? Should I put eggs in the cupcakes? And what are you talking about add the buttercream? THat is not on the list of ingredients!
    I tried it as is and it flopped.

  39. Wow these look so delicious. I love strawberry lemonade but in a cupcake, even better. Can’t wait to try these. Thanks for the great recipe; I’ll for sure be making these.

  40. Hello Lindsay and Taylor,
    Thank you for your blog :) I dont know how i came across it but i have always been intrested in your cupcakes as i am a vegetarian that dosent eat eggs. I read many of your cupcake recipies muffin recipied used your inspriation to make lavander and lemon cupcakes. Thanks for your recipies and i will continue to look for more delicious treats.


  41. I swoon over how the frosting looks – piped on your wonderful cupcakes. Can we get a lesson in piping? What do you use. Spread with a knife just doesn’t do it for me. Thanks.

  42. I made these for the 4th too! My frosting did not come out looking as pretty as yours. I accidentally altered it as I only wanted to make half the amount and wasn’t paying attention and put in 2 egg whites instead of 1 (to half it) but continued with halfing all the other ingredients. It looked fine until I added the lemon juice, thats when it got the curdled look. I went with it anyway and everyone loved it! The frosting was very light and airy. ;-)
    Here’s a photo of the frosting:
    Thank you for the recipe! Will definitely make again!

  43. I made these for the 4th today, and they are yummy!
    The frosting worked great, but there was as strange texture, so I added some conf. sugar for a hybrid buttercream/grocery store frosting taste. It was very sweet, but yum. Perhaps it was too sweet for the cupcakes, which were sort of muffiny in texture. Still, YUM.

  44. where do you get your adorable cupcake liner cups???? They’re just too cute for words… except, I guess they’re not really, because i just used words…. but you get my drift.

  45. Wow, that looks absolutely delicious! Great post, you did such a nice job presenting the pictures too…I am definitely going to have to try that recipe this weekend! Thanks :)

  46. I tried these out today. I wanted them more lemony and I think I added too much lemon juice. My cupcakes sank :( They taste great though! My buttercream frosting came out beautifully!

  47. By the way, I put a link to the recipe from my blog… :)

  48. These cupcakes are THE BEST cupcakes I have ever tasted!!!! I made them for my friend and I’s cupcake par-tea today and they were a hit! Thanks SO much for the recipe…I’ll be making them at least once a month!

  49. great flavor combo that i hadn’t thought of applying to cupcakes!

  50. I know it’s a million years later, but I made these today with some slight variations and they were exquisite! Added more lemon juice to the batter and cut the oil a little. A bunch more zest, and then made buttercream with blueberries because that goes really well with lemon also. Added 2 tbsp shortening to make it a little easier to work with (SMBC is so delicate but is now my absolute favorite). Months ago I tried to recreate buttercream from a wonderful bakery I moved away from and here it is, tasting exactly the same! Thanks for the posts…mine aren’t as pretty but fantastically delish!

  51. I just got done making these, after having them bookmarked for so long.

    They were absolutely amazing =] I like lemon-esque things, so I overcompensated a bit with the zest and juice, I was a little skeptical of using the coconut milk, but my goodness, these were awesome.

    I decided to make a cream cheese frosting and add some strawberry preserves to them, cause I’m not a huge fan of buttercream, and it came out really nice =]

  52. I am going to make these for my daughter’s 2nd birthday party this weekend. I have one question about the frosting – if I frost the morning of the party, will it hold up or do I need to refrigerate until serving?

    Thank you – these look amazing.

  53. So I tried these over spring break and they were delicious. The icing actually worked perfectly for me. I used slightly more semi cold butter with it and I added some powdered sugar too to thicken it up. I don’t know if it made any difference but I used dipping strawberries instead of normal ones to add to the icing. They weren’t very sweet so they gave the icing a little kick but I also think they were more solid and didn’t ooze as much, so maybe that’s why my icing didn’t fall apart? If you make them miniature size they are perfect pop-in-your-mouth size. Enjoy!

  54. I made these cupcake yesterday and they were truly amazing! Everyone who has tried them fell in love. Thank you for sharing the idea!

  55. I’ve heard other say they’re not lemon dessert lovers, but as one who LOVES lemon dessert, I can say these sound wonderful. Can’t go wrong with that flavor combo.

  56. My boyfriend “Stumbled” on this and sent it to me, so I made them for him … they were amazing! I’ve never successfully made frosting before, but the instructions were so easily detailed to follow … thanks!

  57. Made these yesterday. They are very good. We added double the amount of zest to the cupcakes as they weren’t lemony enough when we tasted the batter. The coconut makes them nice and moist and makes a world of difference. Would make again. Had no issues whatsoever with the buttercream. Just a note, make sure you really puree the strawberries quite small. When I was piping them, they kept getting caught in my large tip.

  58. How wonderful!! Those would be fantastic for a summer cookout!

  59. These look and sound heavenly! Thank you for the recipe.

  60. I seriously, layed awake last night trying to design a Strawberry Lemonaid cucake recipe for our annual Easter Egg hunt this year. (I know it’s a little early) and who do If in this morning? You! I’m totally going to try these but here are a few recipes for adding strawberry puree to a butter cream:

    Makes enough for 1 dozen cupcakes
    • 1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
    • Pinch of coarse salt
    • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1. Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

    Also Martha Stewart had Jennifer Garner on making white cupcakes with a Strawberry Meringue Buttercream frosting that you can look up.

  61. I made these tonight, and they were GREAT!!! After reading your experiences with the frosting, I was a little apprehensive, but all turned out well,
    thanks for sharing!

  62. I made these delicious cupcakes tonight with my boyfriend, and I would say these were hands down the best cupcakes I’ve ever had… and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like sweets all that much. I would almost say the butter cream frosting is too much, makes it way too rich and sweet, but again I’m not fan of sugar. Also, this is seriously rough to make if you don’t have an electric mixer of any kind, we spent a long time beating the frosting by hand. All in all though, very delicious.

  63. These cup cakes look absolutly gorgeous. I have just started cooking/baking and I’m an absolute beginner (I couldn’t even boil an egg) and I am trying to improvise with whatever I have in the kitchen as I am broke and can’t afford all the proper equipment. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I could use to pipe the buttercream?

  64. These look adorable – so bright and sunny.

  65. They look like awesome cupcakes, and once I read the ingredient list (coconut milk and lemon? awesome!!) I was convinced that they are the next cupcakes I’m going to bake.

  66. Oooh! These look delicious! I love the speckles of fresh strawberry in the frosting. Beautiful!

  67. I just made these for a party yesterday. They were lovely and really light tasting! They even looked pretty against my green seaglass plate :)

    Thanks! I’ll definitely be making them again.

  68. These look and sound delightful. Will definitely give these a try!

  69. Oh wow, I want a hundred of these right now.

  70. These cupcakes look great – they seem to be the perfect way to kind of lighten the gloom of winter.

  71. These cupcakes sound incredibly tasty! Would love to try one :)

  72. Mmmmm, these look incredibly delicious : )

  73. Saw this on Tastespotting! Wow. Your blog & pictures look so great! Hello from another Nashvillian. I’m adding you to my GR!

  74. Wow! Those look SUPER yummy!

  75. wow these sound amazing, can’t wait to try them out – will probably have to wait till strawberries are in season here again though…

  76. I guess I must be subconsciously dreaming of warmer times, huh? :) I didn’t think of how summery these flavors were until I starting reading all of your comments.

    *pout* only two more left… I might just have to make some more…

  77. these looks scrumptious! and very appealing!

  78. the picture drew me in! So fresh and spring-like. I love the flavors you pulled togther, I can imagine how refreshing these cupcakes must taste.

  79. Those flavors sound so spring-y and refreshing! They look beautiful too. :-)

  80. They look gorgeous! Love the colours.

  81. oh yum! these sound great! i love the addition of the coconut milk!

  82. What a sunny and pretty cupcake recipe to cheer up the cold snowy weekend.

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