Strawberry-Lemonade Cupcakes


Turn a box of cake mix into a sweet strawberry masterpiece.

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Photo: Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Melissa Gray Prop Stylist: Heather Chadduck Hillegas
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs

Dazzle your crowd with a strawberry-lemonade inspired dessert that's made for sunny days. Our Strawberry-Lemonade Cupcakes starts with a box of white cake mix, but a touch of lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla transform your mix into a bright cupcake that tastes completely homemade. We top the lightly yellow-colored, lemony cake with a swirl of from-scratch strawberry frosting for a delicate berry touch that's sweet without being too sugary. It's made with strawberry jam, which is a wonderful way to import flavor without having to puree and boil a syrup from fresh fruit. Garnish with fresh berries, lemon slices, or pink and yellow sprinkles and serve alongside a tall glass of lemonade for a spring or summer treat.


  • 24 paper baking cups

  • 1 (15.25-oz.) pkg. white cake mix (such as Pillsbury)

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons fresh juice (from 1 lemon)

  • 1 ¾ teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

  • ½ teaspoon yellow liquid food coloring (optional)

  • ¾ cup (6 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • ¾ cup seedless strawberry jam (from 1 [18-oz.] jar)

  • 4 ½ cups (about 18 oz.) powdered sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • Fresh strawberry halves  


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cups in 2 (12-cup) standard muffin pans. Prepare cake batter according to package directions; stir in lemon zest and juice, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla, and, if desired, food coloring until combined. Spoon batter into baking cups, filling each about halfway (about 1/4 cup batter in each). Bake both pans at once in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of cupcakes comes out clean, 19 to 23 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Let cool in pans 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans to wire racks, and let cool completely, 15 to 20 minutes.

  2. Beat butter, strawberry jam, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. With mixer on low, gradually add powdered sugar and salt, beating until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer frosting to a piping bag, Snip 1 corner of bag to make a 1-inch hole, and pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes; garnish with strawberry halves.

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