Strawberry lemon cupcakes are the best spring and summer desserts. They are moist and filled with creamy lemon curd and topped with a homemade strawberry cream cheese frosting. These flavors provide a refreshing dessert and are really simple to make. I love the texture of the dense cake because it holds the lemon curd nicely and isn’t crumbly when you are eating one.
When warmer weather hits, I love using fresh and citrusy ingredients. Plus when you can’t eat another fresh strawberry, baking is a great way to use them up.
The homemade lemon curd used in these strawberry lemonade cupcakes can also be used as a filling in lemon meringue pie, breakfast crepes, and cheesecake. It also freezes really well, so make a double batch to freeze for later. I encourage you to try lemon curd as a spread on toast, waffles, or pancakes, you will not be sorry, trust me.
While I chose cream cheese frosting for these, you could easily go with a strawberry dream icing or strawberry buttercream frosting depending on what your taste buds are wanting.
How to Make Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes From Scratch
- Prepare muffin tin and preheat oven: Line two muffin pans with cupcakes liners and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix cupcake batter: Cream the butter and sugar together using a stand mixer (or electric hand mixer) for 2 minutes on medium speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the vanilla, lemon zest, lemon oil, and eggs. Continue mixing for another 2 minutes.
- Combine dry ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Mix remaining wet ingredients: Whisk the milk, mayo, and lemon juice together in another medium bowl.
- Finish making the cupcake batter: Pour in 1/3 of the milk mixture into the sugar mixture and mix until combined. Add half of the flour mixture and continue beating. Repeat these steps until all ingredients are incorporated.
- Fill the liners: Pour the batter into each liner until they are 2/3 of the way full.
- Bake: Place the cupcakes in the oven and bake for 17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
- Cool: Once the cupcakes have finished cooking, remove them from the oven and let them cool for 3 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
While you’re waiting for your strawberry lemon cupcakes to cool, make the strawberry cream cheese frosting and put it in a piping bag so you are ready to decorate. It’s made using a fresh strawberry puree, and is absolutely delicious!
Adding the Lemon Curd Filling
- Use a piping tip or serrated spoon to scoop out about a teaspoon of the top of each cupcake.
- Scoop the lemon curd into a piping bag, Ziploc bag (with the corner snipped off), or squeeze bottle to fill each cupcake so it’s level with the top.
Refrigerate: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored on the counter in a container or plastic bag for 2-3 days.
Freezing: It’s easiest to freeze strawberry lemon cupcakes unfrosted in a plastic bag separating the layers with parchment paper. They will stay fresh for up to 3 months.
For a lighter cupcake: Leave out the mayonnaise, however, I recommend a denser cake so it can hold the lemon curd.
Using a box mix: If you don’t want to make the cupcakes from scratch, substitute a lemon, white, or yellow box cake mix. Add lemon zest, juice, and/or lemon extract if you go with a plain cake mix.
Make sure the cupcakes cool completely before frosting and filling with the curd.
Do not overmix the batter. This makes the cake tough.
Store-bought lemon curd: If you don’t have time to make the curd from scratch you can substitute for store-bought.
Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes
- ¾ cup salted butter softened
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon lemon oil or 1 tablespoon lemon extract
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- ⅓ cup sour mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 recipe strawberry cream cheese frosting
- ½ cup lemon curd
- Fresh strawberries halved for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside.
- Cream together the butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer (you can also use a hand mixer). Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl midway. Mixture will be fluffy and very pale yellow.
- Beat in lemon zest, vanilla extract, lemon oil, and eggs. Beat for 2 minutes longer.
- Measure the flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a separate bowl and whisk together.
- In another small bowl, whisk together milk, mayonnaise and lemon juice.
- Add ⅓ of the milk mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and beat until combined. Add in ½ of the flour mixture, mixing briefly. Add in another ⅓ of the milk mixture, the remaining flour, and then the remaining milk mixture.
- Beat just enough between each addition to incorporate the ingredients, but do not overmix.
- Transfer batter to the prepared muffin tins – filling ⅔ of the way full.
- Bake for 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcakes comes out with just a few crumbs.
- After 3 minutes of cooling, transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Use a serrated spoon or piping tip to scoop out a small portion (about 1 teaspoon) of the top of each cooled cupcake.
- Use a piping bag, ziploc bag with corner snipped off, or a squeeze bottle to fill each cavity with lemon curd.
- Bring the chopped strawberries to a boil and sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of sugar.
- As the strawberries cook, use a potato masher to break them down to be as close to a puree as possible. Stir frequently as it continues to simmer and most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Cook for 10 minutes or until the puree has reduced by half, which will yield a 1/2 cup of fresh strawberry puree when finished.
- Remove the puree from the heat and cool to room temperature by chilling in the fridge.
- Beat the softened cream cheese and butter until it's light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and continue mixing.
- In batches, mix in 5 cups of confectioners' sugar.
- Beat in the cooled strawberry reduction. Transfer to a piping bag to decorate if desired.