Cake, Cupcakes, Desserts

Strawberry Cupcakes (Doctored Cake Mix)

April 2, 2014

cake mix strawberry cupcakes

I know so many people that hate cupcakes. How on earth could you hate something that is so petite and tiny?! While I prefer to have an actual cake on my birthday, I love to make/bake cupcakes. They are quick and easy to decorate. No special skills required (only special piping tips)! My sister raves over the beauty in every cupcake batch I make. If only she knew how easy it really is… I’ll have to teach her and maybe write a tutorial or two… These strawberry cupcakes are high on the list of most requested but they have a secret…

cake mix strawberry cupcake recipe

These bad boys start from a box mix. INSERT **GASP** HERE. Seriously… I have tried so many Strawberry Cupcake Recipes but these seem to be the ones with the most flavor. It most likely has something to do with the Jell-O packet and pureed berries folded into the batter. I’ve tried that technique with other basic white cakes and was left with a gooey mess. But really… Doctored cake mix recipes are totally in. They are so simple to make and are almost fool proof.

cake mix strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

They puff perfectly and have a gorgeous red color. Top them with a simple strawberry cream cheese frosting and maybe a candied strawberry for presentation and you have yourself a gourmet style cake. This recipe comes from Paula Deen over on Food Network. I found it about two years ago to use for a wedding and got outstanding reviews. A few tweaks with the frosting recipe and I labeled this one a winner for the recipe books!

cake mix strawberry cupcakes easy recipe

Strawberry Cupcakes (Doctored Cake Mix)


  • 1 box white cake mix (I use Betty Crocker)
  • 1 (3oz) package strawberry Jell-O
  • 1 (15 oz) frozen strawberries, thawed and pureed in a blender. 1/4 cup reserved for the frosting.
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.
  2. Place all of your ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer. Blend on medium speed until smooth. Divide into you prepared cups filling 3/4 full. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooled.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup pureed strawberries
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream


  1. Cream together the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar. Add the pureed strawberries and mix until combined. Stir in the heavy cream a little at a time and whip until a thick consistency is formed.

strawberry cake mix hack cupcakes

Isn’t the pink color perfect for spring? The leftovers filled our house with a wonderful berry smell and had me craving cupcakes for days after! Try them out and let me know what you think!

If you liked this recipe you will LOVE these:

White Chocolate Cupcakes (from a cake mix)

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes


Comments (81)

  • Yvonne @ TriedandTasty Reply

    April 2, 2014 at 7:12 am

    They are so pretty and I bet they tasted pretty wonderful! Love the frosting. Mmm… Pinning!!

  • Amy | The Happy Scraps Reply

    April 2, 2014 at 7:21 am

    I’m not a huge cake lover, but cupcakes always sound and look more appetizing to me than cake does. I love that this sounds easy enough because it starts with a cake mix, and adding real strawberries! Genius! And lets not get started on the frosting! Strawberry Cream Cheese frosting. I would eat the whole bowl before it even got on the cupcakes. 🙂 Pinned!

  • Leanne Reply

    April 2, 2014 at 10:21 am

    I start with cake mixes a lot especially when I’m making anything gluten free. It’s so much easier than buying all the different types of flour. These look delicious and I love the frosting.

    • julie Reply

      April 9, 2015 at 7:06 am

      You doctor GF cake mixes successfully? Im always scared to because Im not sure what the difference in the flours will result in!

      • Jesseca Reply

        April 9, 2015 at 11:41 am

        I’m not super familiar with GF cake mixes so I’m not sure how it would turn out. I’m sorry I can’t help more!

  • Jonie @ Just Between Friends Reply

    April 2, 2014 at 10:32 am

    I love a good doctored cake mix. It makes me feel like I am making something awesome without having to spend too much time in the kitchen. thanks for the recipe. I will have to try it out sometime.

  • Becky @ Project Domestication Reply

    April 2, 2014 at 11:15 am

    I really liked the way you frosted/decorated these. 🙂

  • Aimee @ Like Mother Like Daughter Reply

    April 2, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    I am definitely not above using cake mixes when the time is right and these look like the perfect use of a cake mix. YUM!

  • Summer Reply

    April 2, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Oh Jesseca these look so delicious! I just love strawberry cake and these look like something I could make – yum!

  • Debra Reply

    April 3, 2014 at 11:01 am

    I LOVE doctoring cake mixes. This one looks incredible!

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    April 4, 2014 at 4:01 am

    […] did you all think of those Strawberry Cupcakes on Wednesday? I honesty never thought a cake mix could taste so good. That’s why I decided I […]

  • Lindsay @Artsy-Fartsy Mama Reply

    April 4, 2014 at 8:02 am

    These sound amazing!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Holly C. Reply

    April 6, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    I always choose chocolate when it come to cupcakes, but I LOVE strawberries and cream cheese. I’m going to have to give these a try. Beautiful pictures too!

  • Renee Reply

    April 24, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I made these today. ..AMAZING!! Thank you for sharing, I was the hit at the party:)

  • Chelsi Brashears Reply

    April 25, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Hi, I made these today exactly as the instructions specified, and for some reason when the cupcakes come out of the oven, they fell! I checked a couple of them with toothpicks, and they were definitely done, but sure enough they just sunk to the bottom. Any idea what could’ve caused this? They look delicious and I hope to try this recipe again!


    • Jesseca Reply

      April 29, 2014 at 6:54 pm

      I’ve never had that problem. I’ll post this on my social media and see if any of my readers have any suggestions as to why they sank.

      • Rachel Reply

        March 30, 2015 at 3:18 pm

        Do you need the jello?

    • Bre Reply

      June 24, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      I to am making these right now and so far 3 dozen have fallen in. I added a little flour to see if that would help so fingers crossed!

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  • Sugar and Spice Reply

    May 12, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Love the cupcakes … Just made them. Icing is delicious just need a little thicker consistency for the piping … Any suggestions ?

  • Karrie Reply

    May 13, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Sugsr and Spice, I had the same problem! The cupcakes were amazing but the frosting was thin and messy when piping. The flavor of the frosting was spot on though! I would love to make them again with a thicker frosting. Suggestions?

    • Jesseca Reply

      May 13, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      There are a couple things you can do to get a thicker consistency… You can reduce the amount of strawberry puree or add additional powdered sugar. Are you making sure you whip it well after you add the heavy cream?

  • huda Reply

    June 5, 2014 at 1:14 am

    I’m going to make these today ! i was wondering how many cupcakes does this recipe make?

    • Jesseca Reply

      June 5, 2014 at 9:29 am

      24 cupcakes. Maybe a few more depending on how full you fill your liners.

      • Alisa Reply

        June 11, 2014 at 9:17 am

        Did you still follow the directions for the cupcakes off the box or just used the mix?

  • Shawna Reply

    August 20, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Best strawberry cupcakes ever! Made a double batch of these for a co-worker’s baby shower and no one could eat just one!

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  • Cristina Reply

    September 27, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Made them for my granddaughter’s birthday and they came out PERFECT!!! it was a huge hit, and people couldn’t stop eating them. The icing was perfect as well. Definitely our” family recipe” now! 🙂 thank you so much for sharing!

  • JARI Reply

    December 31, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Want to make this today. Only have strawberry cake mix. Will it work?

    • Jesseca Reply

      January 3, 2015 at 9:23 am

      White cake mix is recommended over the strawberry flavored one. You start to get a more processed flavor if you substitute.

      • Terea Reply

        June 3, 2015 at 10:13 am

        Thanks for sharing this option of strawberry deliciousness. Can I substitute the white cake box mix for yellow cake box mix? I’m using the sugar free cake mix for a more diabetic friendly option (I like cake too lol) and unfortunately it’s only limited to yellow and chocolate.

  • 19 Wondrous Ways to Doctor a Cake Mix Reply

    January 30, 2015 at 12:21 pm

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  • Sasha Willard Reply

    February 4, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Makin these right now at midnight for my daughter’s fifth birthday and they are sinking terribly. So upset. Should’ve just left the box mix alone and made it as-is. Ugh!!!

  • Maggy Reply

    February 10, 2015 at 12:19 am

    Hi Jesseca, thanks for sharing this delicious recipe.
    I used this recipe to make cupcakes yesterday and followed the instructions, i baked them though for almost 18min and checked them with a toothpick and it came out clean, so the batter was fully cooked. The cupcakes taste amazing but I’m not sure if i got the right texture. The cupcakes were VERY moist and the top was very wet.. I stored them overnight in an airtight container and they got even more wet. Im gonna try the recipe again this weekend, but do you think i should cook them longer!? what about the storing, shall I store them uncovered so that the top dries out. Tnx

  • Tamah DePriest Reply

    February 10, 2015 at 5:44 am

    Since it’s nearly Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make a pretty pink cupcake for my daughter to take to her Girl Scout’s meeting. I found this recipe and followed it to the letter. They turned out perfect and were delicious! Thanks for a great recipe.

  • Sarah Robson Reply

    February 10, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Oh my goodness, that icing (or frosting) is the best! I could eat spoonfuls of it…in fact, I AM eating spoonfuls of it :). I made the cupcakes for my kids and hubby for Valentine’s day. We love the cupcakes–but we all agree the icing “takes the cake.”

    • Jesseca Reply

      February 10, 2015 at 11:32 am

      I agree! Isn’t that icing divine?!

  • Sara Reply

    February 12, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Do you follow instructions on the cake mix first? Or just dump the cake mix in and not follow their instructions?? Thanks

    • Jesseca Reply

      February 12, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Do not follow the instructions on the box. Use only the directions in the post.

  • Teresa Reply

    February 19, 2015 at 10:41 am

    This recipe looks delicious & it will be perfect addition to my daughter’s Hello Kitty party this weekend! My only question is the extra liquid from the frozen strawberries once thawed. Do I drain the access liquid before pureeing, or puree the liquid with the strawberries into the batter?
    Thanks so much!!

  • Ange Reply

    March 5, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Just made these. While the flavor of the cupcakes is good- mine also fell and I needed to cook them longer- approx 20 minutes. My icing is also a hot mess. Super thin- don’t think I can salvage it. So much for pink cupcakes for my daughter’s bday party. 🙁

    • Ellise Hunter Reply

      March 15, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      I’ve made the icing several times without fail. Maybe you didn’t beat it long enough? I think that’s the purpose of the 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream. It makes it thicker and holds together nicely when piped onto the cupcakes.

  • Ellise Hunter Reply

    March 15, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    I have made this recipe several times, and it’s the best strawberry cake/cupcake I’ve ever had! Everyone who has eaten these have loved them! Also, I have not had any of the problems with them that others have posted. They are exceptional, and I thank you for pinning them!

  • Rachel Reply

    March 30, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Do you need the jello?

    • Jesseca Reply

      March 30, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      I have never tried to make it without the jello, but don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Let us know if you try it out!

      • KaYla Reply

        September 27, 2015 at 2:23 pm

        I am making these for work and I could not find instant strawberry jello anywhere!!! Has anyone tried it with the regular cook and cool jello and if so did they turn out okay?

  • Rachel Reply

    April 2, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Does it need to be instant or cook and serve jello?

    • Jesseca Reply

      April 3, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      Instant jello. I’m not positive, but I don’t believe they have a cook and serve strawberry jello.

  • Helenavera Reply

    May 14, 2015 at 2:23 am

    Going to make for my hubby’s birthday but I can’t eat cream cheese. Wondering if I could substitute frosting for regular vanilla?

  • Yolanda Casso Reply

    May 21, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Can I use fresh strawberries instead of frozen?

    • Jesseca Reply

      May 22, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to.

    • Lexi Camacho Reply

      July 28, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      I’ve made its with fresh strawberries and puréed it and it came out so delicious!!! It works

  • Kari h Reply

    May 22, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Mine also fell. I followed the link that you posted and I’ve never had an issue with my oven temp being off. I haven’t made the frosting yet…I’m hoping it works and I can fill in the ‘divits’ with frosting!

  • Erin B. Reply

    August 3, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Does anyone know how much longer I should bake this recipe if I’m doing it as a cake instead of cupcakes, like the directions show?

    • Jesseca Reply

      August 3, 2015 at 10:40 pm

      I’d check it at 30 minutes and go from there. I’ve never made it as a cake before so I’m not sure how long it would need.

  • Lacy Acy Reply

    August 11, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Can I first just say THANK YOU for sharing this recipe!!! I have been baking, and baking, and baking and haven’t found a strawberry cupcake recipe yet that I liked until this one!!! All the others either baked away from the liners or weren’t strawberry enough. This one. THIS ONE was PERFECT! Mounds of pure perfection! The cupcakes didn’t sink and oozed of strawberry flavor. Hats off too ya, my dear!!!

    • Jesseca Reply

      August 13, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      I’m so glad you liked them!

  • Sereen Reply

    August 16, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    What brand of jello did you use?

    • Jesseca Reply

      August 21, 2015 at 10:07 am

      I used the Jell-O brand.

  • Vicky Reply

    August 24, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Could I use fresh strawberries and is the jello powder regular or the strawberry creme one? Thanks!

    • Jesseca Reply

      August 25, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      I’ve never used fresh strawberries but I’m assuming that you could. And we’ve tried both jell-o’s and prefer the regular.

  • Sereen Reply

    August 27, 2015 at 2:22 am

    These look delicious!!! Was looking at the frosting ingredients and saw the 6 cups of powdered sugar. Is that a typo??

    • Lexi Camacho Reply

      July 28, 2016 at 8:55 pm

      No it’s not. I used 4 cups because that’s all I had so I did and my frosting wasn’t as thick so I’m guessing if you put 6 cups it would make it thicker. But then when I put 4 cups it was already really sweet so it’s up to you. Already sweet and watery or Very sweet and thick.

  • Jeanette Reply

    October 28, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    I really enjoyed making these for someone’s bridal shower. Huge success! Made little tweeks and went with a buttercream icing. I am trying these again and making lemonade icing next time. Thank you!

  • Kim Reply

    February 19, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    Do you use frozen strawberries with or without sugar to make your purée?

    • Jesseca Reply

      February 20, 2016 at 9:52 am

      I’ve used both and prefer the ones without. Sometimes it’s hard to find though. Make sure the strawberries are thawed completely or your cupcakes will sink.

    • Lexi Camacho Reply

      July 28, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      You can do both but I’d prefer to put no sugar cause the icing is already really sweet. But if your talking about the cake then no still unless you want more of a sugary flavor and not really strawberry

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  • Liona Lopez Reply

    May 23, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    I want to make these, but only have yellow cake mix on hand. Does it change the flavor at all? Btw, these look amazing and I cannot wait to try it.

    • Jesseca Reply

      May 23, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      I have never actually tried to make them with yellow cake mix. It might alter the flavor a bit so I’m not sure how they will taste.

      • Liona Reply

        May 24, 2016 at 6:57 am

        Thank you for replying Jessica. I think I will try both just to see the difference 🙂

    • Lexi Camacho Reply

      July 28, 2016 at 9:00 pm

      White cake mix is better because white cake mix doesn’t have any flavor.

  • Amber Reply

    July 14, 2016 at 7:33 am

    Hello! I am about to tackle this recipe and realized I don’t have he heavy cream for the frosting. What can I substitute? Google wasn’t very helpful. Thank you!

    • Jesseca Reply

      July 14, 2016 at 10:30 am

      You can try milk but the end result might be slightly different.

  • Jessica Reply

    August 10, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    This recipe looks amazing! Would I be able to make this as mini cupcakes? If so should I make any adjustments with ingredients or cook time/temp?

    • Jesseca Reply

      August 11, 2016 at 8:09 am

      Yes! We’ve made it a few times in mini cupcake form. I’d just check them around 8-10 minutes and if a toothpick comes out clean you are all set!

  • Margaret Reply

    August 17, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    I wonder if some of these ladies whose cupcakes fell used strawberries in juice rather than individually frozen strawberries.

    • Jesseca Reply

      August 18, 2016 at 10:07 am

      That’s a great observation. Maybe something for everyone to consider before starting! Thanks Margaret.

  • Margaret Reply

    August 18, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    I wondered myself and haven’t actually tried this recipe yet. Saturday for a Sunday wedding! I’ll let you know. I did get the individual berries.

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