Strawberry Sundae Cupcakes

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These strawberry sundae cupcakes scream carefree summer days full of sun and ice cream. Moist vanilla cupcakes are topped with strawberry buttercream and finished with a drizzle of chocolate ganache, rainbow sprinkles, and cherries on top. A summery sundae in cupcake form!

Why You’ll Love These Strawberry Sundae Cupcakes

  • Moist, flavorful vanilla cupcakes. The vanilla cupcake in this recipe happens to be one of my favorites. It’s wonderfully moist (thanks to some vegetable oil) and has a richness to it from the butter in the batter. They aren’t overly sweet and have the perfect amount of vanilla in them.
  • Big fruit flavor. The strawberry really comes through in the frosting. Thanks freeze-dried strawberries! The flavor stands out beautifully against the wonderfully simple vanilla cupcake base.
  • Nostalgic appeal. These cupcakes remind me of a classic ice cream sundae. A little vanilla, a little strawberry, some chocolate sauce (or ganache in this case), and a cherry on top. Complete with rainbow sprinkles, they’re sure to remind even the most grown-up adults of summery days as a child.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Here’s a look at what you’ll need for these cupcakes and some notes on them, as well as some substitutions. For precise measurements, scroll to the recipe card below.

Ingredients for strawberry sundae cupcakes.
  • All-purpose flour – Be sure to measure your flour correctly using a food scale or the spoon and level method so that you don’t end up with dry cupcakes. Check out my tutorial on How to Measure Flour for details.
  • Eggs – Be sure to use large eggs, not medium or extra large.
  • Milk – Whole milk or 2% milk would be best.
  • Freeze-dried strawberries – I love the ease of using freeze-dried strawberries, but you could also use fresh strawberry puree. Check out my strawberry buttercream recipe to see how.
  • Powdered sugar – For a great piping consistency, I recommend using the amount listed in the recipe. However, you can reduce the amount if you’d like to. If you want to reduce it, I’d recommend reducing everything else as well, in equal parts.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips – Stick with semi-sweet chocolate for the correct consistency. Other types of chocolate will make the ganache thicker or thinner.
  • Additional decorations – Sprinkles and cherries. I used maraschino cherries but fresh pitted cherries or Amarena cherries would also be fun. Feel free to add your favorite sundae toppings!
A strawberry sundae cupcake with a bite taken out of it.

How To Make Strawberry Sundae Cupcakes

Time to start baking. Here’s a basic rundown of how to make these sweet treats. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card below for more thorough instructions.

Make the cupcakes

  • Prep. Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  • Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Combine the wet ingredients. Cream together the butter, sugar, oil, and vanilla until light in color and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time.
  • Put it all together. Mix half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Gradually mix in the milk followed by the remaining dry ingredients.
  • Bake. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 15-18 minutes.
  • Cool. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan set on a cooling rack.

Make the Buttercream and Frost Cupcakes

  • Powder the strawberries. Grind the strawberries to a powder in a food processor or blender.
  • Make the buttercream. Beat the butter until smooth and then mix in half of the powdered sugar along with the strawberry powder. Mix in 3 tablespoons of cream and the vanilla extract followed by the remaining powdered sugar. You can mix in more cream if the frosting is too thick.
  • Frost the cupcakes. Pipe the buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes.
  • Make the chocolate ganache. Bring the heavy whipping cream to a light boil and pour it over the chocolate chips. Let them sit for 1-2 minutes and then whisk until smooth. Cool for 3-5 minutes.
  • Decorate. Drizzle the ganache over the strawberry buttercream. Add sprinkles, a cherry, and any other ice cream sundae toppings you might like.
Overhead image of strawberry sundae cupcakes on a serving platter.

Tips for Success

  • Don’t skimp on creaming time. When creaming together the butter, sugar, oil, and vanilla, do so until the mixture has significantly lightened in color and become fluffy. This process introduces air into the batter, giving you lighter, fluffier cupcakes.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl. You want to make sure all of the ingredients make it into the cupcakes without any random lumps. So, when adding and mixing ingredients into the batter and the frosting, scrape down the sides of the bowl intermittently to ensure all of the ingredients are incorporated.
  • Don’t over-mix. Once you start adding the dry ingredients to the cupcake batter, mix just until everything is combined. Mixing past that point can cause the glutens in the flour to overdevelop, giving you tough cupcakes.
  • Get the frosting right. Add a little more heavy cream to the frosting if it is too thick. If it is too thin, mix in a bit more powdered sugar. Check out my tutorial on how to get the right frosting consistency for more information.
  • Frost like a pro. Have a look at my tutorial on How To Frost Cupcakes to learn how to make these the prettiest desserts ever.
  • Let the ganache cool a bit. Allow the ganache to cool for a few minutes before drizzling it over the frosting. If it is too hot, it won’t set on the frosting properly.
  • Squeeze bottle magic. I like using a squeeze bottle to drizzle the chocolate ganache over the frosted cupcakes. It allows for the most control.
Closeup image of strawberry sundae cupcakes on a serving platter.

How to Store These Cupcakes

Store the cupcakes in an airtight cupcake carrier or in a single layer in an airtight container tall enough to accommodate the frosting. You can store them at room temperature for up to 24 hours, in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. They are best enjoyed at room temperature so let them sit on the counter for a bit before biting in.

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Closeup image of strawberry sundae cupcakes on a serving platter.

Strawberry Sundae Cupcakes

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 12-14 Cupcakes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


These strawberry sundae cupcakes scream carefree summer days full of sun and ice cream. Moist vanilla cupcakes are topped with strawberry buttercream and finished with a drizzle of chocolate ganache, rainbow sprinkles, and cherries on top. A summery sundae in cupcake form!


Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups (163g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp (84g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (155g) sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (150ml) milk

Strawberry Buttercream

  • 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1 cup (224g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups (460g) powdered sugar
  • 34 tbsp (45-60ml) heavy cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache

  • 3 oz (85g | 1/2 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy whipping cream


  • Sprinkles
  • 1214 cherries


Make the cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the butter, sugar, oil and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
  4. Now it’s time to add the eggs. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
  6. Slowly add the milk and mix until well combined. The batter will look curdled, but that’s ok.
  7. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
  8. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full (47-48g) and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove cupcakes from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.

Make the buttercream

  1. When the cupcakes have cooled, make the buttercream. Add the freeze-dried strawberries to a food processor and grind them into a fine powder. Set aside.
  2. Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
  3. Add about half of the powdered sugar and all of the strawberry powder and beat until well combined and smooth.
  4. Add about 3 tablespoons of cream and the vanilla extract and beat until well combined and smooth.
  5. Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat until well combined and smooth.
  6. Add the additional tablespoon of cream, as needed, to get the right consistency of frosting.
  7. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes. I used Ateco tip 844.

Finish off the cupcakes

  1. To make the chocolate ganache, add the chocolate chips to a small bowl. Heat the heavy whipping cream just until it begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate chips. Let it sit for a minute or two, then whisk until smooth. Allow it to cool for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Drizzle the chocolate sauce over the strawberry buttercream. You can use a squeeze bottle or add it to a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 10 tip to have a little more control. You could also just use a spoon or a Ziplock bag with a corner trimmed off.
  3. Add sprinkles, a cherry and any other toppings you might like.
  4. Serve immediately or store in the fridge in an air-tight container. Best served at room temperature. Best if eaten within 3-4 days.


  • Serving Size: 1 Cupcake
  • Calories: 455
  • Sugar: 48.9 g
  • Sodium: 60.8 mg
  • Fat: 23.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 59.3 g
  • Protein: 3.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 78.9 mg


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  1. Laura

    I made these cupcakes this weekend for a summer BBQ, and they were both beautiful and delicious! Thanks for the great recipe.

    1. Lindsay

      I typically use salted butter when also using shortening. If you are going to use all butter though (and leave out the shortening), I’d use half salted, half unsalted. It’s more of a flavor preference, really.

  2. Ally

    Thank you for this recipe! I absolutely love it, and with my in progress baking business it was a huge hit! They are beautiful!

  3. Lindsey+@+American+Heritage+Cooking

    Ugh American is the worst. But you are right – cupcakes make everything, even flying, better!! These cupcakes are gorgeous! Perfect little cups of hot fudge topped joy! 🙂

  4. Jolena @TheRubyKitchen

    What a genius and fun way to make the frosting! These look so fun and bring back memories of going to the ice cream parlor with my sister when we were kids. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Michelle { A Latte Food }

    Bad flights are the worst! The absolute worst. But these cupcakes, on the other hand, look like the absolute best! That cake looks so light and fluffy–dying over how good they look!

  6. Dorothy+@+Crazy+for+Crust

    I cannot believe what you had to go through to get home! Stupid cross country flights!! Glad you made it safe and sound and I am in LOVE WITH THESE CUPCAKES!

  7. Julianne @ Beyond Frosting

    Oh my gosh, remember the time I suggested you go through Charlotte instead of Miami? Yeah, I don’t either. Glad you got home, eventually. 🙁


      Ha! It totally wasn’t your fault. I bet Miami had problems too. The east coast was just brutal from the storms. 🙂

  8. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life

    Wow! That is quite the flying experience! I can’t wait to hear more about the weekend away though! And these cupcakes are gorgeous! We love that strawberry Quik powder too…in fact I have a malt cake with a very similar frosting that will be posting next week 🙂

  9. Ashley+|+Spoonful+of+Flavor

    So sorry to hear about your horrible flight issues, but I am glad that you had a great time in California! I can’t wait to hear all about the trip. In the meantime, I will enjoy these incredibly beautiful and delicious strawberry sundae cupcakes! Love that you made them pink!

  10. Johlene@FlavoursandFrosting

    Love Sundae cupcakes – these are adorable and even better with strawberry Nesquick! Sorry about your delayed flight episode.. sounds awful!!

  11. Mir

    Girl, I boycotted American years ago. They screwed my travel plans one time too many! I’m sorry you had a hard time. I live on the east coast and so we were under a tornado watch. Just became violent storms in the end, though!
    These are SO pretty! They look like they belong in an ice cream shop, so mission accomplished!

  12. Annie @ Annie's Noms

    Oh my goodness, these are amazing!!!! Absolutely adore them. And I love Nesquik powder in frosting too, I know it’s like totally artificial, but it’s a guilty pleasure haha, can’t get enough of the strawberry one and it really does make amazing frosting!

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29