The perfect balance of tart and sweet, these strawberry limeade cupcakes are a refreshing treat for just about any occasion.
I made these cupcakes for a baby shower I attended recently. Actually, it was more like a baby sprinkle, and it was partly mine. We had a small faculty and staff gathering to celebrate the sweet baby girls another teacher and I will be welcoming soon. Because I never turn down an opportunity to bake, I volunteered to make cupcakes.
I knew right away I wanted to make a cupcake with strawberry frosting. I made some last year for B’s birthday and it was to die for. The recipe never made it to the blog, though, so I decided to recreate it. It wasn’t until the last minute I decided to step the whole thing up a level and make strawberry limeade cupcakes.
I did cheat and use a box mix. Sometimes I make cakes from scratch, but when I’m pressed for time, I’ll opt for homemade frosting over homemade cake every day of the week. To me, there’s just no comparison. I went with a regular yellow cake mix, because that’s what I had and because I’m really not a fan of the flavored cake mixes, like key lime or strawberry. I prefer to use a basic mix and add the flavors myself. It makes the final result taste much more fresh and homemade.
As it turns out, the shower wasn’t actually for four more days. So I just brought these beauties to school and left them in the office, where my coworkers were kind of enough to polish them off for me. Can you say pregnancy brain?
To achieve the limeade cupcakes, I added a half cup of lime juice and a tablespoon of zest to the batter. When the cupcakes were hot from the oven I brushed more lime juice over the top of each for an extra touch of tartness. The strawberry buttercream gets it’s berry flavor from fresh berries that are simmered on the stove and pureed into a sweet sauce; it’s a variation of my homemade strawberry sauce.
The final result is refreshing strawberry limeade cupcakes with a sweet berry frosting and a perfect tangy citrus finish. The soft pink frosting is ideal for a baby shower or other spring gathering, but the flavors are bold enough for any occasion.
Psst…how adorable are these cupcake liners? I couldn’t find the exact ones on Amazon, but I did find some precious paisley patterns.
Strawberry Limeade Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
1 box yellow or white cake mix
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. + 1 tbs lime juice, divided
1 tbs lime zest
For the Frosting
1 c. strawberries, diced
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. butter, room temperature
7-8 c. powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all the cupcake ingredients, minus the tablespoon of lime juice. Whisk the cake batter until there are no lumps. Spoon the batter into muffin tins prepared with cupcake liners, until cups are half to three-quarters full.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out dry. While cupcakes are hot, use a pastry brush to brush the top of each with the remaining lime juice.
While the cupcakes are cooking and cooling, combine the first twp frosting ingredients- strawberries and vanilla- in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook for three to five minutes, stirring constantly, until the berries are beginning to break down and a there’s liquid in the pan. Allow the berry sauce to cool and then puree it- I use a Magic Bullet or a hand blender.
To make the frosting, beat butter until light and fluffy. Mix in powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Add the strawberry sauce- it should be about three-quarters of a cup- and mix until incorporated.
Generously frost cooled cupcakes. Garnish with a strawberry slice, if desired.
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