Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

I’m a sucker for fruit in the summer.  These Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes are delicious by themselves, but with this strawberry frosting (naturally colored and flavored) this cupcake is simply heavenly.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Mix Cupcakes

Stunned by the bright pink frosting that’s naturally colored? Find out my secret!

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcake with Strawberry Frosting

The Story:

“It’s dirty.”

I used to think that poppy seeds were just little pieces of dirt that accidentally got mixed into the batter.  Why would anyone want a bunch of black dots in their food?  Why not use sprinkles instead? At least they’re colorful, I thought….

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting


Lemon Poppy Seed Cake:
1 box white cake mix
zest of 2 large lemons
3 eggs
1/3 C. oil
1/2 C. milk
1 C. sour cream or plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. Poppy Seeds
Strawberry Frosting:
1 C. butter, softened
1.2 oz. freeze dried strawberries, finely crushed in bender and sifted (I get mine from Trader Joe's)
3-4 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. milk, if needed
Fresh Berries for decoration


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcakes liners.
2. Sift cake mix into a small bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine lemon zest, eggs, oil, milk and sour cream until smooth.
4. Add cake mix and stir until smooth.
5. Add in poppy seeds and stir again. (NOTE: You can replace milk for fresh lemon juice, but it will effect how the cupcakes rise)
6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
7. Let cool.
8. Strawberry Frosting: Beat butter for 2 minutes. Add in crushed freeze-dried strawberries and slowly add in powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Add in vanilla extract. If it becomes too thick, add milk to thin out!
9. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with a fresh strawberry!

I’m really obsessed with using Trader Joe’s freeze-dried fruits for frostings because you get SO much flavor and color naturally!  If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s around you, other stores sometimes carry similar products or you can always search on Amazon for them!

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Strawberry Butterream

Here’s my fun little photo set up! I used a white tabletop I had made for photos, a little reflector board off to the right to bound light from the window back onto the cupcakes, and then a little color from the pink hand towel!

How to take food photos at home

Beautiful yellow greaseproof liners from Sweets & Treats!

Lemon Poppy Seed Strawberry Cupcakes

11 thoughts on “Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

  1. 1
    Rebecca W says:

    What does sifted mean for the berries?

  2. 2
    Ciel Murri says:

    These are beautiful!!! Simply beautiful! Chanelle just brought me 3 bags of TJ freeze dried fruits so that I can play with this method of natural color and flavor. Such a great idea. Thanks!

  3. 3
    Jackie Gibson says:

    Magical photograph: they look “good enough to eat!!”

  4. 4

    Thanks so much for sharing not only your recipes, but your photo tips! These are so beautiful!

  5. 5
    Hannah says:

    Hi Lizzy! I am in love with your website and recipes! I’ve always wanted my cupcakes to have the same-looking piping, so I was wondering what tip you use? (for this recipe/cupcake).

  6. 6
    christine says:

    Wondering if the recipe calls for 1 2oz bag or 1.2 oz of strawberries?

  7. 7
    Scarlet says:

    Can I use egg whites, almond or soy milk and coconut oil substitute?

  8. 8
    casey says:

    how many cupcakes does this recipe make? 🙂 I’ve made them before and am going to make a BUNCH for my friend’s wedding on Saturday and need to know how much stuff I need to buy 🙂

  9. 9
    Leslie says:

    I used blueberries instead of strawberries. Even after sifting the frosting was gritty and they are crunchy. I pureed fresh blueberries to mix with it for the color and hopefully to mask the dried berries. Any advice for next time?

  10. 10
    karina s. says:

    dear lizzy

    when I grow up I want to hire you some day ,but I’m still in high school I was wondering that mabe you feel ok with that , I was planning to draw a building to have my own building for children to buy I hope you respond my mail.

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