Birthday Cupcakes With Strawberry Frosting

birthday cupcakes with strawberry frosting

My birthday cupcakes with strawberry frosting are perfect for any spring or summer celebration ~ the fluffy yellow cupcakes are topped with the ultimate fresh strawberry cream cheese buttercream.

*I’ve teamed up with Camp Hollow to share their exquisite handmade cake toppers ~ I’m in love!

birthday cupcakes with strawberry frosting

birthday cupcakes with the perfect strawberry frosting

I’m in full spring mode today with fluffy yellow cupcakes and the best strawberry frosting I’ve ever tasted. They’ll fit in with any special occasion from showers and graduations to Mother’s Day and Easter brunches. But most of all, they’re the perfect birthday cupcakes! I’ve paired them up with special handmade candle holders I recently discovered ~ aren’t they adorable?

birthday cupcakes with strawberry buttercream and ceramic candle holders

Camp Hollow cake toppers are enchanting!

When I came across these stunning porcelain cake toppers from Camp Hollow I was beyond excited. I grew up with little animal candle holders on all my birthday cakes and I’ve been on the hunt for replacements for years. The whimsical Camp Hollow animal molds are hand sculpted in clay, then fired, painted, glazed, and fired again. 

Each animal has its own unique little party hat and lots of realistic detail, down to the individual hairs on the gorilla and plenty of personality in each ‘face.’ The whole effect on a cake or cupcake is just enchanting.

They are truly heirloom quality and a lot of fun to collect (and give.) I’m collecting for future grandchildren, but I wish I’d had these when my kids were young. Imagine the fun tradition of letting a child choose their special number of animals for their cake each year.

Camp Hollow candle holders

the perfect recipe for classic yellow cupcakes

I chose a classic yellow cake for my birthday cupcakes. It’s surprisingly hard to find a good cupcake recipe that comes out soft, moist, and flavorful, but this one is a winner. The cupcakes are super fluffy, and enriched with a generous amount of butter and eggs. You can flavor it with vanilla or almond extract. I found that the almond flavor paired great with the strawberry, just fyi.

Yellow cake will go with any frosting you love, but I think it’s especially nice with a pretty pink strawberry topping.

vanilla cupcakes with strawberry frosting

how to make a fresh tasting strawberry frosting

This frosting has a true fresh strawberry flavor, which is hard to achieve. There’s no food coloring or artificial flavors in this luscious buttercream ~ if you’re handy with a piping bag, great, but otherwise, just slather it on. Here’s how I make it:

  • I start with 2 pints of fresh strawberries, washed and hulled.
  • Puree the berries until smooth.
  • Cook the puree with a bit of lemon juice in a saucepan until it reduces to 1/2 cup. It will be like a tart fruit butter. Chill.
  • Beat the butter, cream cheese, and cooled puree together. Beat in the sugar.
  • If it’s a bit too thick add a little milk to thin it down. If the frosting is too thin, add a bit more sugar.
  • Pipe or slather it generously on your cooled cupcakes.
piping strawberry frosting onto birthday cupcakes

strawberry cupcake FAQs

Can I bake this as a layer cake or in a 9×13 pan instead?

Yes but this makes a lot of batter, so make sure not to fill your layer cake pans more than 2/3 full, whatever size pan you choose. It will fill a 9×13 pan nicely.

Do you have to use cake flour?

Cake flour makes an especially light and tender cupcake, but you can use all purpose flour if that’s all you have. You can also make your own cake flour substitute ~ for each cup of flour, remove 2 tablespoons. Then add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift the mixture twice to combine.

Can I use a boxed yellow cake mix?

You absolutely can, and if you’re pressed for time, it’s a great solution. The frosting is the star of this show, anyway. If you do buy a boxed mix, I recommend Duncan Hines.

What type and size piping tip do you use?

I use a large or extra large open star tip. Cupcakes can be piped with many different tips, so use what you have, but larger tips make quick work of the job.

Will the frosting recipe work with other berries?

Yes, it would be great with just about any berry you can think of. Just be sure to cook down your puree so it’s nice and thick. If your berries have seeds, like blackberries, you may need to strain your puree. I make a wonderful cranberry buttercream this way.

Can I make the frosting ahead?

Yes, you can make it up to a day ahead. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and then you may want to give it a fresh beating before using.

Do these cupcakes need to be refrigerated?

Because there is cream cheese in the frosting they do need to be refrigerated after a couple of hours.

birthday cupcakes with strawberry frosting piped on top

these yellow cupcakes with strawberry frosting will become a spring tradition

The traditions that center around food are so important to keep alive, but with each passing year it seems harder and harder to do. Birthday traditions are especially powerful, and I see these from-scratch cupcakes as delicious memory-makers. I can’t think of a birthday kid of any age that wouldn’t love this classic combo.

lighting birthday candles on cupcakes

These cupcakes are ideal for Easter, Mother’s Day, and weddings this spring. I’m going to make these candle holders my go-to baby shower and new baby gift going forward, too 🙂 To start your own collection of Camp Hollow cake toppers, you can find them here.

birthday cupcakes with gorilla candle

more birthday-worthy desserts

lit birthday candles on birthday cupcakes
strawberry frosted birthday candles
5 from 10 votes

Birthday Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

My birthday cupcakes with strawberry frosting are perfect for any spring or summer celebration ~ the fluffy yellow cupcakes are topped with the ultimate fresh strawberry cream cheese buttercream
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 36 cupcakes
Calories 440kcal
Author Sue Moran


for the strawberry puree

  • 2 pints fresh strawberries
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

for the cupcakes

  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp almond extract (feel free to substitute vanilla extract)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk

for the frosting (frosts 36 cupcakes generously)

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, unsalted, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 11 cups powdered sugar Note: don't freak! Powdered sugar is airy, and you'll need enough frosting to generously frost all your cupcakes.


make the strawberry puree

  • Trim the tops from the strawberries and slice them in half. Add them to a high speed blender like Vitamix, or a food processor. Blend until they're smoothly pureed. Put the puree and lemon juice in a medium sized heavy saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove. Turn the heat down to medium and let the puree boil for about 20-30 minutes until it is thickened to 1/2 cup. Watch carefully and stir often with a silicone spoon or spatula so it doesn't scorch. Scrape the thickened puree into a bowl and refrigerate until chilled. This is going to be the strawberry component of your frosting. Note: feel free to make this puree a day or two ahead.

for the cupcakes

  • Line 12-cup muffin tins with muffin tin liners and preheat your oven to 350F.
  • Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with electric mixers, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes)
  • Add the almond or vanilla extract, and then the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Be sure to beat thoroughly and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as you go to get everything incorporated. This is a lot of batter and and lot of eggs, so it needs to be well mixed at this stage.
  • On low speed, add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, in about 2-3 batches. Once the flour mixture has been added, don't over mix the batter! Just mix it enough so that there are no streaks of dry flour remaining.
  • Divide the batter into the muffin tins by filling each cup about 2/3 full. Bake for about 20-22 minutes until the cupcakes are risen, and the tops spring back when lightly touched. A toothpick inserted into the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it. Be careful not to over bake these.
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool for a few minutes in the pan, and then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely before frosting.

for the strawberry frosting

  • While the cupcakes are baking, make the frosting, I use my stand mixer again for this, but you can use electric beaters if you prefer.
  • Cream the butter, cream cheese, and strawberry puree (1/2 cup) together, then start adding the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often. You should end up with a creamy thick frosting. If it seems too thin, beat in a little more sugar. If it seems too thick, add a bit of milk or lemon juice.
  • When the cupcakes are completed cooled, pipe or spread generously with frosting.

Cook’s notes

*the yellow cupcakes are adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cake Perfection. The frosting is my own.


Calories: 440kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 130mg | Potassium: 128mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 55g | Vitamin A: 617IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    April 4, 2022 at 5:52 pm

    5 stars
    Sue, in your blog notes you indicate this recipe can be made in a 9″ x 13″ pan. Would you tell me how many minutes it would need to bake in a pan that size?

    • Reply
      April 20, 2022 at 7:49 pm

      5 stars
      Sue, did you ever see my question to you on April 4th?

      • Reply
        Sue Moran
        April 21, 2022 at 7:22 am

        Assume it will take anywhere from 30-45 minutes, so check it on the early side.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2022 at 8:35 pm

    5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe for strawberry frosting! Years ago Sara Lee had yellow cupcakes with different frostings(6) that were frozen. The strawberry and orange frostings were my favorites and of course they discontinued them. Now I can make my own. Do you happen to have a recipe for orange frosting? That would be wonderful! I adore getting your recipes and have tried several.

  • Reply
    April 2, 2022 at 8:15 am

    5 stars
    It’s my brother’s birthday today! We’re not celebrating unit next week but these cupcakes are going to be perfect to make!

  • Reply
    April 2, 2022 at 1:39 am

    5 stars
    Good timing for my birthday. I am so making [email protected]

  • Reply
    April 1, 2022 at 6:37 pm

    5 stars
    Love the fresh strawberries in these! So yummy!

  • Reply
    April 1, 2022 at 5:08 pm

    5 stars
    Such fun birthday cupcakes, especially with those candle holders! I love the sloth one! The flavors sound absolutely fantastic.

  • Reply
    April 1, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    5 stars
    These cupcakes are so sweet and the strawberry frosting is the perfect topping.

  • Reply
    April 1, 2022 at 2:28 pm

    Oh – I was so sad to see that the fox cupcake topper is sold out! I just had a new nephew born last month and his name is…Fox! This would be so perfect for his first birthday next year, especially since I make all of the birthday cakes for my 4 nieces and now my nephew! I’ve bookmarked the page and will check back for availability.

    • Reply
      April 1, 2022 at 2:31 pm

      Guess what? There were still a few foxes left in her Etsy store! Score! Thanks for this great find!

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