This post is sponsored in conjunction with #SpringSweetsWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to help in the creation of the #SpringSweetsWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.
When thinking about spring and spring flavors I often thing about berries. While I know that strawberry season is in the winter in Florida and in California all year round where I live strawberries and other berries are ready for picking in late spring. There are several farms nearby where they have U-Pick days and you can actually go and pick your own strawberries for an incredibly cheap price!
So when I was thinking about what kind of cupcakes to make I immediately thought of strawberry. My problem with this is that I didn't want the actual cake to be strawberry and when I've made strawberry buttercream in the past it hasn't looked great. I decided to tackle the strawberry frosting problem after I figured out the cupcake situation.
Since lemon and strawberry go so well together I knew a lemon cupcakes would be perfect. In order to make a lemon cupcake I make my yellow cake recipe then I add in both fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. You could add in lemon extract but in this case I prefer the fresh lemon flavor to come through.
After I baked up the cupcakes I went for the frosting. I had seen a technique where strawberries are cooked on the stove then strained so that only the liquid part ends up as part of the frosting. I tried this technique and let me tell you, I'm never looking back!
The strawberry buttercream frosting I made ended up being smooth as silk and packed a huge fresh strawberry flavor. I used several sticks of salted butter, Dixie Crystals powdered sugar, and the strawberry puree. It was a pretty pink color and it worked so well with the lemon cupcakes. Not only did they look super pretty, they tasted incredible!
In fact, my parents came down the day after I made these and they each ate one. While that doesn't sound like a big deal it is. My mom rarely eats cake though she does enjoy frosting. So when she ate both the cupcake and the frosting I knew it was a winner!
My husband and I were both watching what we ate but it was a struggle not to enjoy one of these cupcakes. We ended up sharing one after dinner three days in a row just so we could have a taste of the bright lemon cupcakes with the sweet and creamy strawberry frosting.
To decorate these cupcakes you can cut a strawberry in half and stick it in the buttercream. Another easy but beautiful way to decorate is to simply sprinkle sanding sugar over the tops so that they sparkle.
Pro Tips & Substitutions:
- While you can slice the strawberries in half in advance don't place the strawberry on top of the cupcake until you are ready to serve because the juice will run onto the buttercream and make it unstable.
- If you don't have lemon extract or zest try orange or lime for a fun twist!
- To make my buttercream frosting I almost always put my butter out on the counter as soon as I pull the cupcakes out of the oven. That way it has time to soften up enough to make a silky and delicious frosting.
For the Lemon Cupcakes:
- 1 ⅓ c. flour
- 1 ½ t. baking powder
- ½ t. salt
- ½ c. butter, softened
- ¾ c. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 T. fresh lemon zest
- 2 T. fresh lemon juice
- 1 t. vanilla
- ⅓ c. milk
For the Strawberry Frosting:
- ¾ c. strawberries, chopped
- 2 T. fresh lemon juice
- 3 T. sugar
- 1 c. butter, softened
- 4 c. Dixie Crystals powdered sugar
- 6 strawberries, cut in half
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place 12 cupcake liners in a muffin tin.
- In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well and set aside.
- In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar.
- Add in the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Mix well.
- Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well.
- Stir in the milk and mix until well combined.
- Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until just combined.
- Use a cookie scoop and fill the muffin tins ¾ of the way full.
- Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.
- In a small saucepan combine the strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar.
- Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture boils. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and pour the mixture into a fine mesh sieve place over top of a bowl. Press the strawberry mixture through the sieve. Discard the solids.
- Allow the liquid strawberry mixture to cool for 5 minutes.
- Add the butter to the strawberries and using a hand mixer beat on medium speed until well combined.
- Add the powdered sugar, a half cup at a time, until the mixture is thick and smooth.
- Spoon the frosting into a piping bag and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.
- Cut the strawberries in half and top each cupcake with a strawberry half if desired. You can also use sprinkles on top if you would rather.
A Hezzi-D Original recipe
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Saturday #SpringSweetsWeek Recipes
- Blueberry Orange Muffins by Sweet Beginnings
- Coffee Ice Cream Sandwiches by Kate's Recipe Box
- Fresh Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes by Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
- Lemon Poppyseed cake by Jen Around the World
- Oatmeal Cookie Fruit Pizza by Simply Inspired Meals
- Orange Pecan Cookies by Family Around the Table
- Pecan Krispy Treats by Cindy's Recipes and Writings
- Raspberry Almond Coffee Smoothie by Blogghetti
- Strawberry Shortcake Cake Roll by That Recipe
- Sweet Potato Sonker Recipe by Pastry Chef Online