These strawberry cupcakes are moist, flavorful, and loaded with fresh strawberries! Frost them with whichever strawberry frosting you like: strawberry buttercream, strawberry cream cheese frosting, or strawberry whipped cream.
Leave them as-is or decorate with strawberries or conversation hearts to create perfect Valentine’s Day cupcakes!
To make these strawberry cupcakes, I adapted my vanilla cupcake recipe (which has been extensively tested and is a favorite for thousands of readers). The resulting strawberry cupcakes are light and airy and packed with fresh strawberries.
I use fresh berries in all of my strawberry desserts – like my strawberry banana bread and strawberry pavlova and any of my berry cupcakes (see my raspberry cupcakes for another example). I wouldn’t have it any other way!
This recipe is made from scratch and does not use a cake mix. I’m a big proponent of from-scratch baking.
Tip: If you prefer using cake mixes, try mixing fresh strawberries into any yellow cake mix batter and top the cupcakes with strawberry frosting to create your own version of these cupcakes.
What Makes These Strawberry Cupcakes the Best?
Using fresh strawberries is the secret to perfect strawberry cupcakes. Finely chop the strawberries and add them directly to the batter.
Plus, the addition of strawberry frosting gives these cupcakes an even stronger strawberry flavor!
Top with fresh or macerated strawberries for even more berry goodness!
How to Make Strawberry Cupcakes
If you’ve never made cupcakes before, start by reading my post on how to make cupcakes, then read on below.
Whisk together eggs, sour cream, and vanilla until smooth and soupy.
Mix the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest, and sugar with butter in a separate bowl. You can do this with an electric mixer or by hand. If you use an electric mixer, start on low speed and then increase to high until the ingredients are fully combined.
Tip: You can use all-purpose flour in this recipe instead of cake flour. The results won’t be dramatically different. The cake will just be a little more dense.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients a little at a time.
If necessary, pause and scrape down the side of the bowl during mixing.
Tip: If you use a beater blade like the one shown in my photos, the blade will scrape the side of the bowl for you.
Mix in the milk to lighten up the batter. Be careful not to overmix. Mix until just combined.
Tip: Overmixing batter can make the cupcakes gummy. Read more in my post on overmixing cake batter.
Stir in the chopped strawberries by hand. Stirring them in by hand ensures that the mixer doesn’t break up the strawberries. Doing this also helps keep you from accidentally overmixing the batter.
Tip: Frozen strawberries have much more moisture than fresh strawberries. I don’t recommend substituting frozen strawberries in this recipe.
Fill cupcake liners about halfway full. Use an ice cream scoop/disher to easily transfer the batter to the cupcake liners.
Tip: These cupcakes rise quite a bit during the bake. If you overfill the liners, they won’t bake up as nicely. If you aren’t sure about how high to fill the cupcakes, try baking a single cupcake first to see how it rises. Then, adjust the other cupcakes accordingly.
You’ll know the cupcakes are done when a toothpick comes out clean.
Take the hot cupcakes out of the cupcake tin immediately and set them on the counter or a cooling rack to cool to room temperature before frosting.
Which Frosting To Use?
I always suggest strawberry frosting for strawberry cupcakes. But, which strawberry frosting you pick depends on your preference. In the recipe below, I use strawberry buttercream. Strawberry buttercream is the most popular choice as it is an extremely versatile frosting that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
If you are a cream cheese frosting lover, try frosting these cupcakes with my strawberry cream cheese frosting. This frosting uses freeze dried strawberry powder to create an intense strawberry flavor.
Finally, you can’t go wrong with strawberry whipped cream. It is light and luscious and made with fresh strawberries.
If strawberry frosting is too much for you, try frosting strawberry cupcakes with:
- vanilla frosting
- chocolate cream cheese frosting
- brown sugar frosting (I like brown sugar frosting on everything!)
How to Decorate Strawberry Cupcakes
I use a drop flower tip (Wilton 2D) to pipe the strawberry frosting onto these cupcakes. I spiral from the outside edge of the cupcake in toward the center.
Place fresh strawberries on top of the cupcakes or decorate with some conversation hearts and share with someone you love.
Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 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 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest zest from 1 small lemon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 cup finely chopped strawberries about 5 large strawberries washed and with the tops cut off
Strawberry Frosting Ingredients
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/4 cup strawberry puree about 5 large strawberries food processed until they are a thick seedy liquid
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, and vanilla until smooth.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, lemon zest, and butter on high speed until fully combined.
- Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients a little bit at a time until just combined.
- Mix in milk until just combined.
- Use a spatula to fold in chopped strawberries.
- Fill cupcake liners halfway full.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
- Remove cupcakes from cupcake tin immediately and set on the counter to cool.
Strawberry Frosting Instructions
- Beat butter for three minutes (or until light and fluffy) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Mix in strawberry puree and salt.
- Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
- Spread or pipe on cooled cupcakes.
- You can use all-purpose flour in this recipe instead of cake flour. The results won't be dramatically different. The cake will just be a little more dense.
- Yogurt can be substituted 1:1 for the sour cream.
- Be careful not to overmix to keep your cupcakes from getting gummy.
- Only fill your cupcake liners halfway. To be completely certain that you are filling the right amount, bake a single test cupcake before baking the rest of the batch.
- Make sure the cupcakes are completely cool before frosting so that the frosting doesn't melt.
- Be sure to beat the butter for at least three minutes so it is light and fluffy.
- Use less ripe strawberries. Riper strawberries tend to be more moist and could end up making the frosting too wet.
- Add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time and always start on low speed to keep it from making a mess in your kitchen.
- If your strawberries were frozen, be sure to defrost them and drain off any excess liquid before using them.