Strawberry Basil Cupcakes with Basil Buttercream

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Strawberry Basil Cupcakes

Strawberry desserts fall into two categories: those that taste like freshly picked strawberries, like local hand-churned strawberry ice cream, and those that have an intensely sweet strawberry flavor, like strawberry lollipops or the strawberry syrup drizzled over diner strawberry cheesecake. I’m a huge fan of the former. Pile too much sugar into strawberry desserts and you lose that berry patch simplicity.

These strawberry basil cupcakes fit comfortably into the first category. They are made with food-processed fresh strawberries, and basil sugar is used instead of plain sugar to give the cupcakes a more vibrant taste.  Instead of hiding the cake’s flavor behind a sweeter strawberry frosting, the basil buttercream complements the strawberry and brings out its flavor even more. These are the cupcakes I’ll reach for again and again in the dog days of summer when no fake flavor will do and the earth is ripe for picking.

What You’ll Need to Make Strawberry Basil Cupcakes

Basil Sugar

To make strawberry basil cupcakes, you’ll need basil sugar and basil powdered sugar. See the second recipe below for those.

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Strawberry Basil Cupcakes
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4 from 4 votes

Strawberry Basil Cupcakes with Basil Buttercream

Strawberry and basil are a classic pairing, and these cupcakes are no exception.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 16 cupcakes
Calories 386kcal
Author Stefani


Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1 cup basil sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour not self-rising
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup pureed fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup whole milk

Basil Buttercream Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 cups basil powdered sugar
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix basil sugar, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add butter and mix until fully combined.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, oil, and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add egg mixture to flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Mix in strawberries until just combined.
  • Mix in milk until just combined.
  • Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.

Basil Buttercream Instructions

  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on high speed.
  • Mix in basil powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
  • Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
  • Mix in salt.
  • Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.


Calories: 386kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 193mg | Potassium: 82mg | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 480IU | Vitamin C: 3.5mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 0.3mg
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Basil Sugar
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5 from 1 vote

Basil Sugar

Once you make the basil sugar, simply replace some or all of the sugar in your baked goods with the basil sugar to add a whole new complexity to your desserts.
Course Condiments
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Calories 48kcal
Author Stefani


  • 1 large handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup sugar


  • Rinse basil leaves and gently pat dry with a towel.
  • Pulse basil leaves in a food processor until they are as small as you can get them. Don't worry if there are still some big pieces since you'll process them further in a bit. You should end up with about one packed tablespoon of chopped up basil. Add more basil or remove some if you are too far off.
  • Place processed basil and sugar in a small bowl and use a spoon to mix well, pressing the basil into the sugar.
  • Place the basil sugar in the food processor and pulse to fully combine.
  • If not using within three days, store in the freezer until ready to use.
  • If basil sugar starts to get clumpy, pulse again in a food processor just before using.


You can follow these same instructions with powdered sugar for use in basil frosting!
Yield 1 cup


Calories: 48kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Sugar: 12g
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Strawberry Basil Cupcakes with Basil Buttercream

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Recipe Rating

9 comments on “Strawberry Basil Cupcakes with Basil Buttercream”

  1. Jennifersays:

    5 stars
    I just mades these and I have to say, they are possibly the best cupcakes I have ever eaten! So freaking good!

  2. Feliciasays:

    These were so awesome! I loved how the entire set of flavors came together once I frosted the cakes….even better than I expected!

    I wrote these up on my blog today. Thanks for the creative recipe!

  3. Jamiesays:

    Made these today and they are amazing! Thank you!

  4. Caitlin L.says:

    Would this work well for a full size cake?

  5. Susan Esays:

    OK, I made the bail sugar, but do you make the basil powdered sugar the same way?

  6. Junesays:

    The flavor combination sounds both strange and wonderful! I have a question, one you’ve probably answered elsewhere but I’ll ask anyways…how do you get the cupcakes to be so perfectly cylindrical? What kind of pan do you use? I just love the aesthetics.

  7. Amysays:

    Strawberries and basil is one of my favorite combinations, especially because basil is my favorite herb. I’ll eat it on just about anything — pasta, pizza, tomatoes, eggs, etc — but I haven’t tried it in sugar or cupcakes yet! Another one of your creative and brilliant ideas; I love it! :)

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