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Strawberry Lemon Drop Cupcakes

Strawberry Lemon Drop Cupcakes

A lemon drop is a cocktail that is made with vodka, lemon juice and sugar. They are bright and refreshing, and since the acidity of the lemon takes the edge off of the vodka, they’re very easy to drink. These cupcakes are inspired in part by lemon drop cocktails and in part by summer strawberries – making them a sort of adult strawberry lemonade cupcake. There are lots of fresh strawberries in the cupcakes and quite a bit of vodka, too. I really like these as a bit of a grown-up alternative to classic cupcakes and cocktail-inspired cupcakes are usually a big hit at parties.

The cupcakes themselves are very moist and fairly sturdy, as cupcakes go. This means that the strawberries remain suspended in the cupcake batter and don’t all sink to the bottom. The cakes actually look gorgeous when they’re unfrosted and you can see bits of berry sticking out all over. The cupcakes are also not too sweet, thanks to the fact that they don’t include an excessive amount of sugar and because the vodka doesn’t lend any additional sweetness. This gives the berries another chance to stand out. Only a bit of lemon zest is included in the cupcakes and it doesn’t make a big impression on its own, although it does allow the cupcakes to tie in very well with the frosting.

The buttercream frosting has lemon zest, lemon juice and a bit of vodka. I’d say that you can get a hint of the vodka even with the lemon in the frosting, but it is very subtle. In fact, you don’t get more than a hint of the vodka in the cupcakes themselves even though there is about a 1/2 cup in the recipe. If it is necessary for you to leave it out, you can replace it with milk if you have to, but I don’t think that anyone at the party will get tipsy from these, even if they eat the whole batch. I used Ciroc vodka for these cupcakes, but feel free to use any brand that you like.

 Strawberry Lemon Drop Cupcakes

Strawberry Lemon Drop Cupcakes
(adapted slightly from Ciroc Vodka)
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp lemon zest
3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk (any kind)
1/2 cup vodka
2 cups fresh, chopped strawberries

Preheat oven to 350F and line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and lemon zest.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a measuring cup, combine the milk and vodka.
Working in three or four additions, alternate adding the flour mixture and the vodka/milk mixture, ending with an addition of dry ingredients. Only mix until no streaks of flour remain visible. Stir in strawberries by hand.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin tins.
Bake for 16-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool cupcakes on a wire rack before frosting.

Lemon Drop Frosting
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vodka
2 tsp lemon zest
approx 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
sliced strawberries, for garnish

In a medium bowl, cream together butter, lemon juice, vodka, lemon zest and about 2 cups confectioners’ sugar. With the mixer at medium-high speed, add in additional confectioners’ sugar (using even more than 3 total cups, if necessary) until frosting is thick , fluffy and spreadable.
Spread onto the tops of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with strawberry slices, if desired.

Makes 18 cupcakes

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  • harpreet
    August 7, 2009


    I was wondering if this would work with a flavored vodka like maybe green apple and what other fruit might go better with that…peaches maybe?

  • Nutmeg Nanny
    August 7, 2009

    Mmmmmmm how delicious do these look! These are great summer cupcakes:)

  • snooky doodle
    August 8, 2009

    these look delicious. Ideal for summer 🙂

  • peabody
    August 8, 2009

    Now that’s the way to enjoy a cocktail!

  • Chaya
    August 9, 2009

    These are delightful looking. I think I will make them for my grandchildren.

  • Hope
    August 9, 2009

    I made them with lemon vodka and made mini-cupcakes instead of full sized ones. They were ok, a little dense.

  • Trish
    August 9, 2009

    These looks seriously wicked! My goodness! I would never have dreamed!

  • fluin
    August 9, 2009

    Ummmmm so yummy. Strawberry and lemon taste just right to me. Must try it.

  • Julie
    August 10, 2009

    I absolutly adore this site!!
    Keep up the good work 🙂
    Hugs from Norway

  • Jen
    August 13, 2009

    Just made these and all I can say is YUM! The frosting is delicious. Thanks for the great recipe

  • Liz
    August 14, 2009

    Like Hope, I made these as mini-cupcakes (and also used lemon vodka!), and they were a HUGE hit. Absolutely AMAZING.

  • Kim
    August 18, 2009

    My daughter (over 21) and I made these this weekend and they were delicious. We followed the recipe exactly. My question is: these came out very dense. Is that the way they should be because of the fruit? Thanks for any tips.

  • Margaret
    August 21, 2009

    These cupcakes were delicious! I made them for breakfast for the office on a Friday without the icing…you know, to get us through the day…and they were wonderful. I’m gonna serve them a birthday cupcakes this afternoon and I’m pretty sure this summer time treat will be an equal success.

  • holly
    August 23, 2009

    i made these, they are awesome!

  • Shra
    April 4, 2010

    Made these for Easter without the vodka to make it more kid-friendly and they were a hit! I actually ran out of white flour so 1/4 cup of it was with wheat flour. It still came out wonderfully cakey and moist.

  • jdmk20
    April 14, 2010

    Wow these look very intersting.

  • I made them with lemon vodka and made mini-cupcakes instead of full sized ones. They were ok, a little dense.

  • JillS.
    August 23, 2010

    I made these for an after-work get together…they turned out great – everyone loved them (and looked a little sad when they were gone). I also used the lemon vodka.

  • Grace
    August 23, 2010

    Wow! These look absolutely delicious. I have been hunting for a really good strawberry cupcake recipe. I love the way the icing covers the top, looks so creamy.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • nikki
    August 30, 2010

    I made these and they were Great!!! My friends loved them..I used Red Berry Ciroc…Love it:-)

  • Longtimecoming
    July 1, 2011

    Can I use buttermilk in this recipe?

  • Renee
    July 31, 2011

    I made these and they turned out a little cakey. Help?! Will they turn out the same way if I made them in a cake pan?

  • Nicole
    July 31, 2011

    Renee – I’m not sure what you’re looking for. They’re cupcakes – they’re supposed to be cakey! They are also somewhat sturdier that some other cupcake recipes because the batter needs to be thick enough to support the weight of the strawberries.

  • Linda
    January 8, 2012

    Hey, these look great. I’m just wondering about the three cups of flour…sounds like a lot of flour for 1 cup of sugar. At any rate, I will be giving these a try and use 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1/2 tsp of baking powder. thanks for the recipe

  • cathy
    March 9, 2012

    Can the cakes sit overnight? or will the alchol make them soggy?

  • Johanna
    July 16, 2012

    I’ve made these before and they came out great! The icing was a little running, but I think I might have added a bit extra vodka 😉 I used a cake batter vodka and it was delicious! I was wondering, can this recipe but used as it to make a full sized cake instead? I am going to try it with a chocolate Baileys icing for that chocolate covered strawberry feel with vanilla vodka.

  • Anisha
    June 13, 2013

    I made these using peach vodka and soaking the strawberries in the vodka. I also added a little vanilla pudding to reduce the density of the cupcake and add an additional flavor note. The result, DELICIOUS!

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