Lemon Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Centers

juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
7 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
12 small to medium sized strawberries

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour or line 12 wells in a cupcake pan. In a large bowl, cream the butter, zest and sugar. Add the lemon juice and the eggs. Beat to combine. The mixture may look a little curdled but that is okay. Mix in the buttermilk. Continue to mix and slowly add in the flour. Beat the batter an additional 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Pour an even amount into each cupcake well, filling about 3/4 of the way. Place a whole strawberry, point side down in the middle of each cupcake. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted on the outside of the strawberry comes out clean. Cool in pan briefly, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Ice*.

Icing suggestion: make a basic buttercream and substitute lemon juice for any liquid and add some lemon zest. I actually made a cream cheese icing: 8 0z cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and some lemon zest.

My thoughts:

A reader, Jenn, wrote to me yesterday wanting to know if I had any suggestions or a recipe for a lemon cupcake with a strawberry inside. I had never done that before, but I gave her some suggestions and decided to try it out for myself. This might be my new favorite cupcake for Spring, lots of tangy lemon and a juicy, sweet strawberry sunk in the middle. I also made a few plain and they were excellent as well, but if you have access to good strawberries, use them! They are a great and tasty surprise.

Update: check out Jenn’s post about the cupcakes she made using this recipe.


  1. That looks delectable!
    It’s also a pefect way for me to eat more fruit. Mind you I do enjoy strawberries, so nobody has to sugar coat them or surround them in frosting but what the heck – I’m game:)

  2. I’ve never seen anything like that! I’m going to add this to the strawberry recipe round-up I posted last week 🙂

  3. They are positively beautiful! I can’t wait to make them!

    I’ll post my results as well.

  4. How neat they look!
    I can’t eat strawberries, but maybe a small dollop of blueberries inside would be a good pairing too – not as visually pretty, but hopefully tasty.

  5. What a beautiful cupcake!

  6. I just did a post- a couple posts back on lemon poppyseed muffins with strawberries inside. Did your tops explode? I can’t tell because they are covered with frosting!

  7. No, the tops didn’t explode. I left out baking soda/powder and just really mixed the batter until fluffy so they didn’t rise too much. I also didn’t cover the top of the strawberry with batter, the batter just went up to their “shoulders”.

  8. Wow that looks awesome! I’ll have to try this sometime. Do you think the recipe will still work with frozen strawberries?

  9. Heather Anne Hogan

    Yum. Just looking at that picture makes my mouth water.

  10. Oh my god. I just made them and am in LOVE! They are my new favorite. Thank you.

    (with lemony buttercream frosting… mmmm).

  11. These look SOOOO much fun and delicious. I just love strawberries!

  12. What a lovely surprise in the middle! I love it!

  13. Posthip: I am glad you liked them! I made some cream cheese frosting w/lemon for mine.

    Amy: I am not sure about frozen strawberries, they might give off too much liquid. It’s worth a try though.

  14. Lovely! What a great center to bite into. That’s a cupcake I would gobble up in a sec!

  15. oh no you did NOT just bake a sweet little strawberry inside cupcakes! !BRAVO!

  16. I just posted my results to my [a href= jennaddenda.blogspot.com/]blog [/a]and they were absolutely fantastic. Took them to a cookout and I haven’t got a single one left!

  17. Wow, how amazing. Can’t wait to try those delicious looking treats! What a great idea!!!

  18. You have got to be kidding me? Oh my those look incredible!

  19. these look FANTASTIC!
    love it!

  20. Holy YUMoly!! I don’t know when I’ll have time to make these (maybe Sunday), they look terrific and are a great idea!!

    I just found your blog this morning (up since 4, thanks jet lag!), and think it’s lovely!

  21. wow, a whole strawberry right in the middle… how fantastic

  22. Oh, wow! That looks positively delightful!

  23. Connected and United

    That looks delicious! Lemon and strawberries are my absolute favorite. Your recipe gave me a great idea…I have a family recipe for strawberry cake made with fresh strawberry puree. I normally use a fresh strawberry frosting but I think I’ll try a lemon frosting instead!!

  24. I always love looking at your blog and have made several recipes. I just made these lemon strawberry cupcakes for a picnic and they were perfect! I had no time to make frosting, so I just plopped a bit of batter on top of the strawberries (otherwise they sink in the cake a bit) and even though the finished cupcakes did still have sunken tops, they tasted so good and are perfect without frosting too. What a sweet and great idea!

  25. That’s great, Faith! The strawberries I used were so big, the tip hit the bottom of the pan and the tops were at the top of the cupcake, so I didn’t have the floating/sinking problem.

  26. Very yummy but I took it one step further and placed 1/2 an oreo cookie on the bottom of the cupcake liner

  27. these were *amazing* took them to a cookout this weekend and everyone was knocking people down to get one — and the recipe. thanks!!

  28. I baked these and loved their bright flavor! I frosted them with a white chocolate/cream cheese frosting (from your recipe, but substituting white chips for the chocolate) and was pleased with the flavor combo 🙂 But I was wondering: how much leavening would you put in, if you were to put in some? I prefer the fluffier texture, and since I made them sans strawberries, no danger of exploding tops… Your thoughts?

  29. Em: I’d put in about 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

  30. I made these this weekend and they were delicious. My strawberries were so big I had to cut them in half. I didn’t have cream cheese for the frosting but I DID have some top shelf margarita mix. A few drops of that, powdered sugar, and fresh lemon juice made a lovely glaze. Thanks!

  31. I made these for a bridal shower I was hosting and they got rave reviews and were so so yummy! I put a pink fondant flower over the top as well and they were so cute..pics on my blog if your interested!

  32. Great recipe! Looks and tastes wonderful.

  33. I love these cupcakes!They are officially my all time favorite & very yummy!!! My sister & I made about 60 with the lemon cheese cream frosting, for a baby shower. They were so popular that people came in for seconds and some sneaked of with 3rds.

  34. I made these for a little kid’s birthday party this past weekend (mom needed extra dessert) and they were a huge hit! My husband, who doesn’t like cake normally, said I could make these any time! Thanks, Rachel! 🙂

  35. Hi, the cupcake looks great!
    I want to make these too. But most of our local strawberry are sour. Do u think it’s good idea if I mix small amount of sugar to the strawberries before put them in the batter?
    Please advice
    Thanks a lot!

  36. I made these the other day and they were amazing! I frosted them with cream cheese icing which I flavoured with orange oil . . . it was sooo good 😀