Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


These sweet and tangy Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting pair juicy, fresh berries with vibrantly colored and concentrated freeze-dried strawberries for the ultimate summer treat. Processing the dried strawberries with a touch of sugar helps to keep them from clumping together so they evenly disperse in the batter. A simple, not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting keeps these moist and tender cakes well-balanced and beautifully decorated.

three strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Photo: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins



  • 1 ½ cups freeze-dried strawberry slices (see Note)

  • .66666 cup, plus 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

  • ½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons fresh juice (from 1 lemon)

  • 1 ½ cups (about 6 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ cup whole buttermilk

  • ¾ cup chopped fresh strawberries (about 6 strawberries), plus halves for garnish


  • 1 (8-ounce) pkg. cream cheese, softened

  • ½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 ½ cups (about 10 ounces) powdered sugar


Prepare the Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Process freeze-dried strawberries and 4 tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor until mixture forms a fine powder, about 1 minute. Reserve 1/4 cup powdered strawberry mixture for frosting. Set aside remaining 1/3 cup powdered strawberry mixture.

  2. Beat butter and remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and 1/3 cup powdered strawberry mixture in a medium bowl. Gradually add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, in 3 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until blended after each addition. Gently fold in chopped strawberries. Place 12 paper liners in a 12-well standard-size muffin pan. Divide batter evenly among wells (about 1/3 cup each).

  4. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 5 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Prepare the Frosting

  1. Beat cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and gradually beat in vanilla, powdered sugar, and reserved 1/4 cup powdered strawberry mixture. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until well combined and fluffy, about 1 minute. Transfer frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch closed star tip. Pipe frosting evenly over cupcakes. Garnish with strawberry halves. Serve immediately, or store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Find freeze-dried strawberry slices on

Make Ahead

Store baked and decorated cupcakes covered, in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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