These strawberry basil cupcakes have a light, basil infused cupcake base filled with homemade strawberry basil compote, then topped with lemon mascarpone frosting! They have a light, floral, and fruity flavor for the perfect summery cupcake!
Why You'll Love These Cupcakes!
- Filled with strawberry basil compote - The cupcakes are filled with homemade strawberry compote that's flavored with fresh basil! It's what gives the cupcakes their floral, fruity flavor!
- Basil infused sugar - Massaging fresh basil into the sugar helps release the oils and adds extra herbaceous flavor to the cupcakes!
- Lemon mascarpone frosting - The light, creamy flavor of mascarpone cheese pairs beautifully with the floral basil and strawberries!
- Super easy to decorate - All you need to make these cupcakes beautiful are some fresh strawberries and basil!
You only need a few ingredients to make these strawberry basil cupcakes!
Cake Flour - I always use cake flour in my cupcakes because it makes them super soft and tender, but all purpose flour also works great!
Milk - I use milk in my cakes to keep them nice and moist, but you could also substitute full-fat plain yogurt or sour cream!
Lemon Juice - I highly recommend using fresh lemon for the best flavor! But you can always substitute with a little bottled lemon juice if necessary.
Mascarpone Cheese - Mascarpone is an Italian cheese that's very similar to American cream cheese. It's smooth and soft but more neutral in flavor compared to tangy cream cheese. And in my opinion, that mild flavor makes it much more versatile! But you can also just substitute cream cheese if that's all you can find!
Strawberries - I prefer fresh strawberries, but frozen will also work well for the filling! You'll just want at least a few fresh strawberries to garnish.
Fresh Basil - I just love fresh basil and strawberries together, but you could also use fresh mint! Or just leave out the herbs all together.
The complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.
How to Make Strawberry Basil Compote
Making homemade strawberry basil compote is super easy and only requires a couple ingredients! Note: if using frozen strawberries, you might need to add in an extra teaspoon of cornstarch to help thicken the compote more.
Add the diced strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, fresh basil, lemon juice to a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow the to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently until thickened.
Transfer the compote to a glass jar and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in the fridge for up to a week.
I recommend making the compote the night before you want to make the cupcakes so that it has time to fully cool.
How to Make Basil Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup pan with cupcake liners.
Finely chop the fresh basil and add to the granulated sugar. Then use your fingers to gently massage the basil into the sugar. [This is optional, but helps infuse the oils into the sugar for more flavor.]
Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk the melted butter and flavored sugar.
Add in the eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice and whisk until fully combined.
Stir in about half of the flour mixture. Then stir in the milk and the rest of the flour mixture and mix until fully combined. The batter will be thick.
Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner (they should be about halfway full).
Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Remove from cupcake pan and let cool on wire rack. Let cupcakes cool completely before filling and frosting.
Use a cupcake corer to remove the center of each cupcake, then fill with about 2 teaspoons of the cooled strawberry basil compote.
Frost cooled strawberry basil cupcakes, then garnish with fresh strawberries and basil.
Tips for the Best Baked Goods
Use room temperature ingredients! Always make sure ingredients like butter, eggs, milk, yogurt, etc. are at room temperature before baking (unless the recipe indicates otherwise)! This ensures they'll incorporate into the batter more easily and leads to overall better texture. Remove all ingredients from the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before baking for best results.
Measure your flour correctly! It's most accurate to use a kitchen scale, but if you're measuring by volume you want to spoon and level! Fluff up the flour a bit with a spoon, and then spoon flour into the measuring cup. Once it's overflowing, use the back of a knife to level it off. Don't ever pack flour into the measuring cup or you'll end up with way too much! Improperly measured flour can lead to dry, dense baked goods. [Measure cocoa powder the same way!]
Use an oven thermometer! Just because your oven says it's 350, doesn't mean it is! If you oven hasn't been calibrated recently, it can be as much as 30 degrees off, which will negatively affect all baked goods from cakes to macarons! An oven thermometer is the easiest/cheapest way to ensure your oven is always at the proper temperature.
Make sure you baking powder is fresh! Baking powder is important for helping baked goods rise properly, but it has a relatively short shelf life once opened, so it's one of the few items I never buy in bulk! To test if your baking powder is still fresh, add a small amount to boiling water. If it bubbles it's still good to use, but if not it's time to toss it!
Cupcake Decorating Tips
Make sure you let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting!!
Use a cupcake corer to easily remove the center of your cupcakes before filling with strawberry basil compote.
For these big beautiful mascarpone frosting swirls on these strawberry basil cupcakes, I use the large round tip from this decorating kit. The tips are much larger than standard sizes and so fun for decorating cupcakes!
After frosting, garnish with fresh strawberries and basil if desired! I also added on some little chamomile flowers that I found at Trader Joe's.
These cupcakes will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. However, they taste best when served at room temperature! I like to let them sit at room temperature for about an hour before serving. I recommend waiting to top with fresh strawberries and basil until immediately before serving!
You can absolutely use frozen strawberries to make the filling! However, only garnish with fresh berries.
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Recipes You Might Like!
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Strawberry Basil Cupcakes
Strawberry Basil Compote
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, diced
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- pinch kosher salt
- fresh strawberries
- fresh basil
Strawberry Basil Compote
- Add the diced strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, fresh basil, lemon juice to a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow the to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently until thickened.
- Transfer the compote to a glass jar and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in the fridge for up to a week.
- I recommend making the compote the night before you want to make the cupcakes so that it has time to fully cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup pan with cupcake liners.
- Finely chop the fresh basil and add to the granulated sugar. Then use your fingers to gently massage the basil into the sugar. [This is optional, but helps infuse the oils into the sugar for more flavor.]
- Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the melted butter and flavored sugar.
- Add in the eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice and whisk until fully combined.
- Stir in about half of the flour mixture. Then stir in the milk and the rest of the flour mixture and mix until fully combined. The batter will be thick.
- Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner (they should be about halfway full).
- Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Remove from cupcake pan and let cool on wire rack. Let cupcakes cool completely before filling and frosting.
- Use a cupcake corer to remove the center of each cupcake, then fill with about 2 teaspoons of the cooled strawberry basil compote.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the softened butter and mascarpone cheese until completely smooth.
- Then add in the powdered sugar and beat on slow until combined.
- Add in the lemon juice and salt, then beat the frosting for 3-4 minutes on high speed until light and fluffy.
- Frost cooled strawberry basil cupcakes, then garnish with fresh strawberries and basil.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.