This was an experiment gone amazing! My seven-year-old and I baked these and agree that they are the best cupcakes. It's a simple strawberry cake mix with a little extra zest.

Toni R Greim-Findley
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Ingredients

14
Original recipe yields 14 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Strawberry Puree:
Cupcake Batter:
Lemon Zest Cream Cheese Icing:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line 14 cupcake cups with paper liners.

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  • To make strawberry puree, pulse frozen strawberries in blender or food processor until evenly chopped. Add 2 tablespoons water, honey, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, and sugar. Blend until smooth.

  • Beat cake mix, 1 cup water, eggs, and vegetable oil in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until moistened; increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Beat lemon zest into batter. Fill prepared cupcake cups 2/3 full. Drop a spoonful of strawberry puree into the center of each portion of cupcake batter.

  • Bake cupcakes in preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 18 to 22 minutes. A toothpick inserted near the center should come out clean. Let cupcakes cool for at least 30 minutes.

  • To make icing, place cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in confectioners' sugar; blend in vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Refrigerate icing until cupcakes are cool enough to frost. Frost cooled cupcakes with icing.

Cook's Notes:

I put the icing in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag and refrigerated it. When the cupcakes were cool, I cut a corner off the bag and funneled the icing onto the cupcakes. My son loved this part.

When we plated the cupcakes, we used the leftover puree to top them off. It made the most delicious strawberry shortcake cupcakes I have ever tasted. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

392 calories; 20.2 g total fat; 61 mg cholesterol; 291 mg sodium. 50.9 g carbohydrates; 3.4 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (26)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
04/03/2013
My daughter requested strawberry cupcakes for her birthday so I gave this recipe a try. I looked at two large grocery stores and neither one had strawberry cake mix so I used a "rainbow" mix instead. I puréed some additional strawberries and added them to the mix in place of water. That was the only change I made. I was able to fill 20 muffin cups with batter and they needed to bake 22-25 minutes before they were done. They were a lot less pink than the one in the photo and the strawberry "filling" was more like a mushy pit in the bottom (maybe because they were baked in a convection oven?) In spite of these things they were a big hit! I like the addition of lemon zest to the icing and plan to try it with other recipes. One tip: if you always keep a lemon in the freezer you can grate off whatever you need (for anything) and it lasts forever. Read More
(28)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
06/21/2014
Like many other reviewers i agree that the puree did end up a mushy pit at the bottom. The cupcakes still tasted great. Instead of 1/2 tsp. of lemon juice in the icing i used the juice from 1/2 of the lemon and in my opinion it was just the right amount. Next time I plan on mixing the puree into the batter and hopefully they wont be as mushy. Read More
(1)
30 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 13
  • 4 star values: 11
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 3
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 4 stars
04/03/2013
My daughter requested strawberry cupcakes for her birthday so I gave this recipe a try. I looked at two large grocery stores and neither one had strawberry cake mix so I used a "rainbow" mix instead. I puréed some additional strawberries and added them to the mix in place of water. That was the only change I made. I was able to fill 20 muffin cups with batter and they needed to bake 22-25 minutes before they were done. They were a lot less pink than the one in the photo and the strawberry "filling" was more like a mushy pit in the bottom (maybe because they were baked in a convection oven?) In spite of these things they were a big hit! I like the addition of lemon zest to the icing and plan to try it with other recipes. One tip: if you always keep a lemon in the freezer you can grate off whatever you need (for anything) and it lasts forever. Read More
(28)
Rating: 4 stars
04/03/2013
My daughter requested strawberry cupcakes for her birthday so I gave this recipe a try. I looked at two large grocery stores and neither one had strawberry cake mix so I used a "rainbow" mix instead. I puréed some additional strawberries and added them to the mix in place of water. That was the only change I made. I was able to fill 20 muffin cups with batter and they needed to bake 22-25 minutes before they were done. They were a lot less pink than the one in the photo and the strawberry "filling" was more like a mushy pit in the bottom (maybe because they were baked in a convection oven?) In spite of these things they were a big hit! I like the addition of lemon zest to the icing and plan to try it with other recipes. One tip: if you always keep a lemon in the freezer you can grate off whatever you need (for anything) and it lasts forever. Read More
(28)
Rating: 4 stars
05/01/2013
I agree with the other reviewer who said that the filling ended up more like a mushy pit at the bottom. It just didn't seem to work as I expected it to. Next time I would skip the filling and just add the pureed strawberries to the cake mix to amp up the strawberry flavor. Other than that the recipe was great. The cupcakes were super moist and I loved the addition of the lemon to the cream cheese frosting. Delicious! Read More
(22)
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Rating: 5 stars
02/25/2013
Thank you for the yummy recipe! I am used to baking cupcakes at a little higher temp. I like the results of a lower temp. The tops are flat instead of a rounded dome. These really melt in your mouth and the puree inside is a nice little surprise! Thanks again! Read More
(19)
Rating: 4 stars
07/18/2013
I just added my strawberry puree to the batter for extra strawberry-y cupcakes due to other reviews indicating the puree in the middle made the cupcakes mushy. I think you could do with about half the amount of puree if you choose to do it this way. I baked a couple extra minutes as they seemed very soft. I also added a little extra lemon juice to the frosting recipe... the result was delish! I'd call these Strawberry Lemonade cupcakes!! Read More
(9)
Rating: 5 stars
02/19/2015
First time trying this recipe. Worked perfectly and looked pretty. Wish I could help the other reviewers who said that their purée middles were mushy. Mine turned out exactly as expected - a little surprise of color and flavor. I will be making these again. Read More
(3)
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Rating: 4 stars
08/22/2013
Messy but delicious! I made these to the exact recipe instructions and I agree with other reviewers. I would reduce the puree and add to the batter next time for a hopefully more consistent and less mushy cupcake. I found the frosting a little runny - which I have never had a problem with other cream cheese frosting recipes in the past. I would definitely make again with the changes - awesome flavor! Read More
(3)
Rating: 4 stars
02/14/2016
We made a few slight changes but these were very good. The fruit does fall to the bottom if added to the batter. The secret is to bake them first then cut a small cone shape in the top and spoon in the fruit then replace the little piece. I just used strawberry preserves. The icing was very good. It was not too sweet. It also covers up the hole you cut in the top. My grandchildren loved these. Read More
(2)
Rating: 4 stars
08/14/2015
I came across this recipe when requested to make "strawberry cake" for a friend. I followed the directions exactly the results were well received. I didn't read the reviews first and as I watched them bake I was a little worried that they wouldn't "close up". Some did some didn't. I waited to frost them until the next morning being certain that the icing had a chance to firm up first. The cupcakes that didn't fully close up had divits in the top but filling the hole with frosting disguised the divit very well! After frosting I stored them in the fridge until about 15 minutes before serving. The result was a very moist cupcake with most of the puree soaked into the cake. This left a hollow spot that was somewhat amusing. I think I will make these again but might try an all fruit strawberry jam instead of the puree to see if it holds together a little better. Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
05/11/2017
I thought this recipe was incredible! It worked amazingly and I followed the instructions 1 by one and in came out incredible. Even my mum - who doesn't often like cupcakes - enjoyed these as much as I did I extremely recommend this!! Read More
(1)
Rating: 3 stars
06/21/2014
Like many other reviewers i agree that the puree did end up a mushy pit at the bottom. The cupcakes still tasted great. Instead of 1/2 tsp. of lemon juice in the icing i used the juice from 1/2 of the lemon and in my opinion it was just the right amount. Next time I plan on mixing the puree into the batter and hopefully they wont be as mushy. Read More
(1)