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Food & Recipes

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes Will Be Your New Favorite Summer Treat — Easy Shortcut Recipe

Add a lemony flavor to the batter in seconds using this frozen staple


Is there anything that tastes more like summer than strawberry lemonade? It takes the classic sip and gives it a berry-licious twist. We can’t get enough of those flavors, and that’s why we love strawberry lemonade cake and cupcakes so much. Talk about a sweet treat! They’re perfect for 4th of July or any summer gathering. And we’ve got a version that uses frozen lemonade concentrate, which infuses the cake with a lemony flavor — sans the excess grating and zesting. Even better, you can shorten the prep time by using a store-bought cake mix. Keep reading for tips on making this cake and our test kitchen’s cupcake recipe that bakes in 12 minutes!

What is strawberry lemonade cake?

This frosted cake marries the bright and sweet flavor of strawberries with the tartness of lemonade. It’s a match made in flavor heaven as it produces a delicious treat that’s not overly rich. Strawberry lemonade cake recipes vary, however, and some variations use frozen lemonade concentrate as a flavor shortcut.

The perks of using lemonade concentrate in cake

When you’re in a pinch, grating and zesting lemons to add zing to the batter and/or frosting can feel tedious. To the rescue: Frozen lemonade concentrate, which provides that bright and sweet taste with little elbow grease. This ingredient also adds enough liquid to the batter so it bakes up moist and delicious. But, don’t just take our word for it: Joanne Fluke, author of the Hannah Swensen Mystery series, uses it in the Pink Lemonade Cake recipe in her latest novel, Pink Lemonade Cake Murder. “I found that using the concentrate not only gave a pleasing color to the pink lemonade cream cheese frosting that I spread on my pink lemonade cake, but that it really intensified the lemon flavor without adding too much liquid — or abusing my knuckles grating lemon zest!” she says. For easy mixing, thaw the concentrate before combining it into the treat as directed in the recipe.

How to make strawberry lemonade cake

If you’re preparing this treat for a crowd, it’s worth making individual treats using our test kitchen’s recipe for Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes. It uses a boxed lemon cake mix for added citrus zing that complements the sweet freeze-dried strawberries. Yum! (Enjoy your cupcakes with actual lemonade like Milo’s Famous Lemonade as it’s made with all natural ingredients.)

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

A recipe Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes as part of a guide on making this cake


  • ¾ cup thawed frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 (15.25 oz.) package. lemon cake mix
  • ½ cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (1.25 oz.) package freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1½ cups butter, room temperature
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, such as Philadelphia, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Red liquid food coloring (optional)
  • Lemon slices, strawberries, mint sprigs and drinking straws (optional)


  • Active: 1 hr.
  • Total time: 2 hrs., 30 mins
  • Yield: 24 servings
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners. Stir enough water into lemonade concentrate to equal 1 cup. On low speed, beat cake mix, oil, eggs and lemonade mixture until just blended, 30 seconds; on medium speed, beat until fluffy, 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly among liners. Bake until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, 12 to 17 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Transfer from pans to racks; let cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, in food processor, pulse freeze-dried strawberries until finely ground and powdery, about 30 seconds. If necessary, press mixture through fine mesh strainer set over bowl to remove any large pieces.
  3. On medium speed, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. On low, gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and strawberry powder until blended, about 30 seconds. On medium-high speed, beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. If desired, tint pink with red food coloring. If desired, transfer frosting to pastry bag fitted with medium star tip. Pipe or spoon frosting over cupcakes. If desired, garnish with lemon slices, strawberries and mint, then cut straws into thirds and insert into frosting.

Want to enjoy the flavors in a full cake? Check out the tiered Strawberry Lemonade Cake from the Hip Foodie Mom food blog.

Continue reading for more fruit-filled sweet treats!

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