The BEST Gluten Free Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting and Filled with Fresh Strawberries

Due to overwhelming popular demand [seriously, I've been asked about these cupcakes constantly since I made them last month!], I had to share my recipe for these delectable confections. I really only like to bake for friends and family. I VERY rarely bake for myself. I need a proper excuse. Is it your birthday? Are you having a baby? Did you get a promotion at work? Having a bad day? In that case, I'll bake you these cupcakes.

I'd personally indulge in these year round, but they do perfectly embody the tastes of summer.  There's nothing like fresh strawberries at their peak ripeness. I can't believe I never thought to put them in a cupcake until now!  Last month it was my friend's birthday, and knowing he loves anything lemon flavored and seemed to fancy strawberries, I went for this combination.

Normally, I make cupcakes from scratch, but I discovered a gluten free box mix that's out of this world!  It's from King Arthur Flour [a really high quality brand of flour] and though I'm hesitant to buy gluten free baked goods, since they tend to have a sort of chalky consistency, I thought I'd give this mix a go.  Whether you're gluten free or not, I HIGHLY recommend trying this out.  They're the lightest, most flavorful cakes I've ever had. I know, a loaded statement, but try it for yourself and you'll understand my infatuation.

The combination of this cake mix, lemon curd, and fresh strawberries is divine, but what makes these truly addictive is their lemon buttercream frosting.  Many say cupcakes really are just a vehicle for a delectable frosting, and in this case, I have to agree. I made a double batch so I could load them up, but there was still a bit extra for a proper spoon-to-bowl moment. [the true litmus test for a good frosting!]

Gluten Free Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting and Fresh Strawberry Filling

  • 24 Yellow cupcakes baked and cooled [as I mentioned, I used this cake mix and LOVE it!]
  • 1/2 fresh strawberries hulled and diced
  • 1/4 cup lemon curd [I used Dickinson's from the grocery, but feel free to make your own!]

I'm not going to walk you through the cupcake baking process, since I did use a mix, but you can bake any standard yellow cupcake recipe. Be sure to allow them to come to room temperature on a rack before proceeding to the next step.

While waiting for your cakes to cool, dice about a half cup of strawberries [make sure to hull the strawberries first, aka: removing the green bit]. I'd rather have an excess of strawberries diced, because I find them so easy to use the following day [add them to yogurt, cereal or smoothies] so have at as many strawberries as you'd like!

Once the cakes have cooled, take a paring knife [or any small sharp knife] and carefully cut out about a 3/4"-1" wide cylinder in the center of the cupcake. Make sure the hole isn't too terribly deep- you don't want to hit the bottom of the cake. Depending on how high your cupcakes rise will determine how much you cut out. Save the cut out bits to the side so you can top off the hole once you've filled them. [though you actually don't have to do this since the frosting will cover things up just the same!]

Take the tiniest spoon you can find or the back of a really thin utensil and spoon a small amount of lemon curd into the hole. I used about a teaspoon per cupcake, but make sure not to overfill it. Save space for those gorgeous berries! 

Tuck in 3-4 diced bits of strawberry into the hole, leaving a bit of room at the top to press back some of the cut out cake. Cut about a 1/2" deep circle of the cake and press it back in. If some of the filling pops out, it's okay since the frosting will hide all manner of sin!

Top with the lemon frosting [recipe to follow] and an extra bit of two of strawberry [if you're extra fancy, add some candied lemon peel to the top too. I'll share my favorite recipe for these soon!].

Simple Fresh Lemon Frosting

[For 24 cupcakes, I recommend making a double batch]

  • 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter softened at room temperature [not melted!]
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice [fresh makes ALL the difference- takes 1-2 lemons, depending on how juicy they are!]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract [I use Nielsen Massey, but any good quality one will do!]

Using a mixer with a wire whisk attachment, whisk all the ingredients together until light and fluffy.  Have some extra sugar on hand, just in case you need to add more for the right consistency.