Easy Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

One of the most common questions that shows up in my inbox has to do with my Doctored Up Cake Mix Recipe for chocolate cupcakes. It yields a batch of pretty stellar cupcakes, so people are always curious if they can adapt the recipe with different flavor combinations. To which I respond, why not? To me, baking is all about playing around in the kitchen, sometimes I get it right and sometimes, I get it wrong – way wrong.

However, a lot of my readers come here for recipes that have been tested in my kitchen and aren’t too keen on me advising them to head into the realm of recipe development and testing. And that’s okay too. I’ll get responses like, Well, have you tried it? What pudding did you use? What brand of cake works best? Can I use less oil? The list goes on and on.

I love hearing from you guys, and really what’s the point of this blog if people aren’t making the recipes – so I try to answer each question, even if it takes me weeks and weeks and weeks.

My point is, a lot of what I do here on MBA is trial and error and it’s okay to make mistakes and get frustrated and cuss out your cupcakes. But, I promise you that with each error, you’ll learn something. Even if that something is not to bite into a hot Rolo Cookie because it will burn your lip and leave a weird purple mark – not that I did that or anything.

When my BFF, Brittani, told me that she made Strawberry Cupcakes using the boxed mix recipe, I immediately started asking her questions to which she had very few answers. I thought her idea would be the perfect way to show you that playing around with a simple idea can have great results and there’s really nothing to be afraid of.

Boxed vanilla cake mix combines with Greek strawberry yogurt and fresh strawberries to create simple, moist cupcakes that are bursting with strawberry flavor. Add on a swirl of strawberry buttercream and you’ve got one stellar summery cupcake with minimal fuss. The world is your oyster here, folks. Try it with Peach Greek yogurt and fresh peaches, or Blueberry yogurt and fresh blueberries. I’d love to hear the combinations you come up with, and how they worked for you.

Easy Strawberry Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 18-22 minutes

Total Time: 42 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes

  • 1 (15.25 ounce) package French Vanilla cake mix (see note below)
  • 1/2 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup Greek strawberry yogurt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup diced fresh strawberries (about 10 medium berries)

For the Strawberry Buttercream

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1.5 pounds (24 ounces or about 5.5 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • about 8 medium fresh strawberries, pureed (you'll need 4-5 tablespoons of puree)

Directions:

For the Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, Greek yogurt, oil, water, eggs and vanilla. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined. Fold in diced strawberries
  3. Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes. The cupcakes may develop a slight divot in the center as they cool, but no worries, you'll cover that with delicious frosting.
  5. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare your frosting.

For the Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes.
  2. Turn the mixer down to low speed and gradually add in the confectioners' sugar until it is completely incorporated. Add in vanilla and 3 tablespoons of the strawberry puree, mix until incorporated. Turn off the mixer and check the buttercream for taste and texture. Gradually add in the last 2 tablespoons of strawberry puree until you reach the desired level of strawberry flavor. Please note that adding more than the recommended 5 tablespoons could result in a thinner frosting. Turn the mixer back up to medium-high speed and beat the mixture for about 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  3. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and if desired, garnish with fresh strawberries.

Notes:

  • My favorite French Vanilla Cake is made by Betty Crocker - Pudding in the mix.
  • I used Chobani Greek Yogurt
  • Polka Dot liners from Shop Sweet Lulu

185 Responses to “Easy Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream”

  1. Cassie — August 3, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    This is wonderful, Jamie! I love the addition of Greek yogurt…I can’t imagine how moist it is. These are right up my alley!

    Reply

  2. BC — August 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Cant wait, these look awesome!

    Reply

  3. Yum, yum, yum! I like taking a box mix and fancying it up. Great stuff! :)

    Reply

  4. NinNH — August 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Do you still add more pudding even though there’s pudding in the cake mix?

    Reply

    • Jamie — August 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      NinNH-
      Yes, check out the notes section of the recipe for info on the brand that I use. Thanks for stopping by.
      -Jamie

  5. Jen @ Savory Simple — August 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    These are gorgeous!

    Reply

  6. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — August 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    These are so perfect looking. Love it!

    Reply

  7. Mary Jo Zilveti — August 3, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Hi, I really love your recipes and they’re very helpful in my kitchen, even your hints about measures and how to use ice cream spoons to spread the batter in the cupcake lines.
    Well my problem is that I live abroad and I don’t have packages of French Vanilla cake mix. Actually, we have similars, but they’re not good. Which one of your recipes in MBA do you think would be better to replace the one above?

    Reply

  8. Barbara | Creative Culinary — August 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    The basics of this recipe has been around for longer than I care to admit (OK I know for at least 30 years) and you are so right Jamie…it’s imminently pliable. I’ve seen it used for pistachio cake (vanilla cake mix and pistachio pudding), Kahlua cake (chocolate cake and Kahlua liqueur) and my own personal favorite I make for every Christmas, rum cake (french vanilla cake and french vanilla pudding with a butter/rum glaze poured into holes you poke into the cake). I revised that recipe a couple of years ago to also come up with what I call Manhattan Cake (yellow cake mix and vanilla pudding with a bourbon/butter glaze and maraschino cherries).

    I mentioned to a friend two years ago that maybe I should develop a full recipe; you know…scuttle the box cake mix. She was adamant that I not and she is right; sometimes there is nothing wrong with an easier method…especially if the end result is good.

    Well, these look gorgeous…I already know they taste that way too! I think the variations are endless and that’s part of the fun isn’t it?

    Reply

  9. NY Baker Debbie — August 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Great recipe – can’t wait to try it – but with peaches instead of strawberries. My question: how to change the buttercream from strawberry to peach… would it work to substitute the same amount of pureed peaches?

    Thanks – and happy baking!

    Reply

  10. Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana — August 3, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Mmm…I love the idea of customizing the cake to your taste! Your frosting looks so yummy, how do you pipe it on like that?

    Reply

  11. Ann P. — August 3, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    oh my yum…. LOVE strawberry cupcakes, and these look especially awesome. So pretty. Perfect fresh fruit baked treat for summer :)

    Reply

  12. Jill — August 3, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Looks good! I like the addition of strawberry greek yogurt. Delish!

    Reply

  13. Teresa Ambra — August 3, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    I nominated your wonderful blog for the Lovely Blog Award. You have probably been nominated many times but I thought I would do it again. If you are interested in participating you can access this link:
    http://cantstayoutofthekitchen.com/2012/08/03/one-lovely-blog-award/

    Reply

  14. I made a cake like this today using the almost same ingredients, just in the chocolate taste direction. Like yours, too.

    Reply

  15. Stephanie — August 3, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    I always have a mix in my pantry for a quick easy sweet tooth fix. This sounds like a great idea!

    Reply

  16. Urban Wife — August 3, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Gosh, I love strawberries and cupcakes. These look amazing!!

    p.s. Love the white ceramic(?) fruit basket….where did you find it?

    Reply

  17. Poornima — August 4, 2012 at 1:55 am

    The cupcakes look stunning, love the colors!

    Reply

  18. cupcakes nottingham — August 4, 2012 at 6:33 am

    These sure do look good!

    Reply

  19. cupcakes nottingham — August 4, 2012 at 6:34 am

    I cant wait to try these out!

    Reply

  20. Casey@Good. Food. Stories. — August 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I have a lot of friends who are deathly afraid to deviate even 1/4 teaspoon from a recipe – when I suggest substitutions, they look at me like I told them they had 12 hours left to live! So glad you’re inspiring others to branch out in the kitchen – you’re so right, trial and error is the best way to learn. (Not that I also have a burn mark on my lip from testing hot sugar the other day. Nope.)

    Reply

  21. Michelle H. — August 4, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Hi Jamie :), it says ” 1/2 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix”.. would that be half the package of the 3.4 ounce.. or is it half of something else? (like tablespoon/teaspoons, etc)

    Reply

    • Jamie — August 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      Michelle-
      Yes, half of the 3.4 ounce package. I just eyeballed it and saved the rest to use at a later date. Thanks for stopping by!
      -Jamie

  22. Amanda — August 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    What a great idea using the strawberry yogurt! These turned out just beautiful :)

    Reply

  23. Rachel — August 4, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Hi Jamie- I love your blog so much! Isn’t 1.5 lbs of powdered sugar 24 ounces?

    Reply

    • Jamie — August 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm

      Rachel-
      Ha! Yikes, yes, yes it is. I’ll make the change now, thanks for catching that! Math is clearly not my strength.
      -Jamie

  24. Paula B. — August 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Well, I’m on a strawberry tear this summer and have just discovered the wonder that is Greek strawberry yogurt so, “Hello, cupcakes”! I think we come to your blog for inspiration and guidance, definitely appreciate all you present here. And, you have made me a braver baker. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Jamie — August 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      Paula-
      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words, I’m thrilled that MBA has made you a braver baker! Have a great day.
      -Jamie

  25. Jennifer — August 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Hi – first post -I adore your website; I have a quick question -the icing associated with your cupcake recipes seems like a lot – do you think I could get away with halving it and if I only do one layer of icing? I am going to give it a shot but was just wondering your thoughts. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Jamie — August 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm

      Jennifer-
      We are guilty of loving A LOT of frosting. You can certainly half the recipe and lessen the amount that you top each cupcake with. Thanks for stopping by.
      -Jamie

  26. gloria — August 4, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    What beautiful and perfect look these cupcakes:)

    Reply

  27. Lori @ Intoxicology101 — August 5, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Making these TONIGHT!

    Reply

    • Jamie — August 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      Lori-
      I hope you enjoy them as much as we did! Have a great day.
      -Jamie

  28. marla — August 5, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Such beautiful little cupcakes ~ I love the one perched on the basket!

    Reply

  29. Mary@athomeonthebay — August 5, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Jamie – I just made these for my family today and everyone LOVED them . Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    Mary

    Reply

  30. Nichelle — August 6, 2012 at 5:41 am

    Jamie, I love your blog; it is one of the things I look forward to reading when I turn my pc on in the mornings….and coffee.

    In Australia our boxed cake mixed come with frosting mix in the box and we can buy instant pudding, you whip it with cold milk to make a mousse like dessert, once refrigerated it becomes thicker. Is this what you mean when you are talking about pudding or are you referring to the frosting mixture in the box? Guess I could try both and test it out for myself.

    I regularly try recipes from your site and usually have great success, will load some pictures sometime.
    Happy Baking!
    Nichelle

    Reply

    • Jamie — August 6, 2012 at 11:56 am

      Nichelle-
      Definitely the one that creates a mousse-like dessert. That should be perfect. I hope this helps.
      -Jamie

  31. I’ve always been strawberry lover! Especially with cupcakes! Adorable ! Really excellent recipe! Congratulation!

    Reply

  32. Tracy — August 6, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Love this recipe and how easy it is to adapt! One of my favorite things to do is play around with a recipe and see what else I can turn it into. :-)

    Reply

  33. Wow, Jamie.. these cupcakes look incredible. Literally perfect. I think I would want to put that strawberry frosting on just about any treat!

    Reply

  34. Brian @ A Thought For Food — August 6, 2012 at 11:07 am

    These are adorable! Love it!

    Reply

  35. Amber {Sprinkled With Flour} — August 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Yum! These cupcakes look amazing, and I bet they taste it too!

    Reply

  36. Maria — August 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    I found this on accident while browsing… they looked so good I made them right away! I used strawberry cake mix (didn’t have vanilla) and swapped in vanilla greek yogurt… I figured I’d get a similar result. They came out great and I used your frosting recipe (yum!) and imitated your presentation with a fresh strawberry on top. WOW!! Thanks for sharing and I will be bookmarking your blog now so I can check out your other recipes!

    Reply

  37. Aimee @ Simple Bites — August 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Sooo perfect for summer, Jamie. Love this pretty switch-up from chocolate.

    Reply

  38. megan @ whatmegansmaking — August 7, 2012 at 8:36 am

    oh wow do these look good! Perfect for summer. I tend to love all your cupcake recipes and I’m sure these are no exception :)

    Reply

  39. Carla @ Carlas Confections — August 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Such beautiful cupcakes and pictures. I love all the suggestions you give too. It is so helpful! Thank you!

    Reply

  40. leslie — August 7, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    love a good kicked up cupcake recipe!!!

    Reply

  41. rebekah — August 8, 2012 at 6:09 am

    I tried these last night with fresh peaches instead of strawberries as I had some ripe peaches to use up. Turned out SOooooo good. Moist, fresh, and delicious. Definitely doing these again. I would like to find an icing that isn’t so sweet though. My hubby prefers less sweet icing, me…I could eat buttercream on all desserts!

    Reply

    • Jamie — August 8, 2012 at 9:31 am

      Rebekah-
      That sounds fantastic – thanks for sharing your idea with us!
      -Jamie

  42. Joan — August 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I used to always just bake from scratch until I found Anne Byrn’s “The Cake mix Doctor”. Her Fresh Orange Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting is so good. My friends never ate orange cake before and I love it. I have never had strawberry cupcakes myself, but they look delicious and I love the variations in your recipe by adding extra pudding and the Greek yogurt. I will be making this soon. Just recently discovered your Blog (I must have been living under a rock) and am addicted. Lots to look at and so many recipes to try….

    Reply

  43. Hannemann — August 13, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    these were so amazing my whole family enjoyed them they cant wait for more!! They wont stop bugging me!! THANKS SO MUCH!!!!

    Reply

  44. nicole — August 13, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Hi I Was just wondering about the instand pudding and french vanilla cake mix. as i live in australia and wouldnt even know where to buy them.

    Reply

    • Jamie — August 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm

      Nicole-
      Unfortunately, I don’t have a substitute for boxed cake mix. My best advice would be to use your favorite yellow cake recipe and add in fresh strawberries. I hope this helps!
      -Jamie

  45. cunfineness — August 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Jamie,
    I’m a beginner with know change recipe experience…how do I know how much of anything I can substitute without changing the batter to the point that the cake doesn’t reuse? How do I know what’s the right measurements?
    Is there a basic 101 formula?

    Reply

    • Jamie — August 25, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      With boxed mixes, you can keep the core ingredient (eggs, oil, etc.) amounts the same, but simply play around with flavor combinations. I hope this makes sense. Have a great day.
      Jamie

    • Kristie — September 20, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      Did you add the yogurt to the mix? How did that work out?

  46. Julie — August 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks for the great recipe! Made these for my mom’s birthday and everyone loved them and I mean loved them. Brought the rest to work and I’m getting complimented left and right. The frosting I could eat with a spoon…thank you, thank you!

    Reply

    • Jamie — August 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Julie-
      I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks so much for taking the time to report back on your experience with the recipe.
      -Jamie

  47. Sara — August 26, 2012 at 11:31 am

    I made these! Should the baked cupcake be a bit ‘mushy’ inside because of the strawberries in the batter? At first I though the batter wasn’t baked through but found it was the strawberries that were soft and made the cupcake mushy inside?

    Reply

    • Jamie — August 28, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      Sara-
      I am so sorry to hear yours were mushy. I didn’t have this issue at all, the strawberries definitely soften up due to the baking process, but definitely weren’t mushy. If you baked them completely through, I am kind of perplexed as to what the issue was. Sorry I am not more of a help.
      -Jamie

    • sara — January 14, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      It’s very possible I underbaked them, or the strawberries had too much juice in them, so to speak. I’m going to try again regardless, once strawberry season hits again :) thanks for your response!

    • Ruthie — January 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      Sara, I had the same problem sort of. I think I was surprised at how moist they were so I baked them a little longer. They came out like what I’d call ‘Strawberry Cobbler’ consistency. I also changed the ingredients a bit because I used a different cake mix. I really enjoyed them and my co-workers did too. Thank you for sharing the recipe Jamie.

    • Amy — February 7, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      Hey fellow bakers! :-)
      My cupcakes are doing the same thing – mushy and caved in. I just noticed that it said “1/2” box of pudding so i am going for a 3rd attempt. :-) They look too good to quit trying. :-) Any suggestions? Im using Pillsbury cake mix with pudding already in it……

  48. Heather — August 29, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Please tell me what size tip you use for frosting and maybe a how-to-frost tutorial please!! LOVE YOUR SITE!

    Reply

    • Jamie — August 31, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      Heather-
      I used a large star tip for this frosting. I hope this helps. Have a great day.
      Jamie

    • Jamie — August 31, 2012 at 6:58 pm

      Heather-
      You can view a piping tutorial here: http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/snickers-cupcakes/ scroll down towards the bottom. I filmed it a couple of years ago. Have a great day.
      -Jamie

  49. Vanessa — September 21, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    In the country where I live we don’t have Greek Yogurt, can I substitute it with regular one or simply leave it out of the recipe?

    Thanks :)

    Reply

    • Jamie — September 23, 2012 at 7:15 pm

      Vanessa-
      Sour cream would work well too! I hope this helps.
      -Jamie

  50. Michelle — September 22, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Can you substitute frozen strawberries for the fresh?

    Reply

    • Angela — December 13, 2012 at 9:59 am

      i need to know this too Michelle

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