Strawberry lemonade elephant cupcakes



Don’t let these little elephant cookie toppers deceive you. These cupcakes are a mouth-watering combination of sweet lemon and fresh strawberries made baby shower-appropriate with light blue sugar cookies. I first tried this cupcake out on my research group a few weeks ago; when I’m testing a new recipe, I use them as my guinea pigs. “Research group” makes it sound like I have a focus group dedicated to taste-testing my sweet confections. Really they’re a cool group of graduate students getting together to discuss STEM education issues, but I kind of like the sound of having my own personal baking test subjects. I should bake for them more often. I tested this particular recipe out with two future purposes in mind: 1) as a potential wedding cupcake contender, and 2) for my friend Corey’s baby shower I threw the following weekend. There was no denying that I’d found a winning recipe and also a fantastic way to use up the overflowing meyer lemon tree in our backyard.

The shower where I served this elephant-donned batch was a huge success, thanks in part to Lucas’s 3am cutting skills. My loyal fiancé spent hours cutting out the various game printables I designed for the shower, all the while insisting, “I would get fired from a manufacturing plant for my lack of scissor skills…it seems I didn’t pass my 1st grade cut-a-straight-line test!” The next day we ordered a paper-cutter. The shower went off without a hitch thanks also in large part to the mama-to-be’s countless friends who worked hard in the hours leading up to the party, including her very own husband who was up on a ladder hanging paper pom poms at the 11th hour. And finally, I shouldn’t overlook the power of these strawberry lemonade elephant cupcakes to woo the guests over.


On take-two of this recipe, I put the first batch in the oven around 11pm the night before the event. When trying to bake 4 dozen cupcakes after spending an entire day at a conference, you’re bound to make a few errors. And when you make a blunder, what should you do? Make lemonade out of lemons, of course. Or lemonade cupcakes. Here’s what happened: I had a plan to double to recipe that I used when baking for my research group. I carefully measured all the ingredients. Lined everything up just so. But when I looked at all the flour spilling over in my mixing bowl, I realized there was no way I could fit it all in my stand mixer at once and decided to split it up into two batches. I couldn’t bake more than 2 dozen at a time anyway.

Life was good, I was on a roll. Until I’d divided all the cupcakes among the cupcake liners and realized that I’d thrown the entire measured amount of lemon juice and zest into the first batch, doubling the time-tested amount. I learned that doubling the lemon zest was a brilliantly sweet idea; it added to the lemon-y goodness of each bite. I also learned that doubling the lemon JUICE meant that the cupcakes were so moist that they would start to fall apart if you just looked at them the wrong way. They were still delicious. Messy. Deliciously messy. When I slathered lemon cream cheese frosting and plopped a baby-blue  elephant sugar cookie on top, no one could even tell the potential disaster these cupcakes had hiding beneath. Instead, they were mesmerized by the sweet lemon and fresh juicy strawberries in every fluffy bite.


I’m sure you’re over there screaming “SARAH! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! These are not gluten-free!” Believe me, I know. The massive headache I woke up with the next day made me quite aware. But the single cupcake I ate was SO WORTH IT. I had to give the rest to neighbors before my week passed by with one headache after another. Maybe I’ll test the recipe out with some of the gluten-free flour I just used to make homemade pasta.


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  1. Those elphies are very cute!

    • SnixyKitchen says:

      Hehe – thank you! Can’t wait to make more elephants with my new cookie cutter! Elephants, cats, and…hippos. I’ve sure got a strange zoo of cookie cutters! (Did you notice the pretty cake stand in the first photo??:)

      • Colette says:

        Yes, sweetheart. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the cake stand.
        It was my first & best giveaway! We Armenians believe the colour blue brings good luck.
        PS- I’ve got a cookbook giveaway going now. Entry is on my latest post. xo

  2. Sher says:

    Nothing’s better than a frosted sugar cookie on top of a frosted cupcake! Two of my favorite things!

  3. i can see why these were so successful! they are so cute!

  4. Veronica says:

    Such pretty little cupcakes. I love the idea of the cookies decorating the cupcake. Clever title for your cupcake recipe. Love the photos!

  5. Carrie says:

    Such a fun idea for a baby shower. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Sounds great for summer cupcakes.

    Carrie of Bella Cupcake Couture

    • SnixyKitchen says:

      Thank you! Strawberry season is revving up and I am so excited…

      • Exciting! Would you like some cupcake wrappers complimentary to decorate your next creation? We’d love to partner with you if you’re interested. You make adorable cupcakes! Carrie

        • SnixyKitchen says:

          Oh wow! That would be so cool! I’ve never actually used the cupcake wrappers like you have on your site, but they make cupcakes look great and I’ve always wanted to try them. I have a batch of cupcakes on my mind that I’m going to make sometime soon (I need to test out the liners for my wedding:). Why don’t you send me an e-mail at and we can talk about a mutual partnership and what you’ve got in mind. What fun!

  6. Jackie says:


    I was wondering if I could cut this recipe, would it affect the outcome.

    • SnixyKitchen says:

      Not at all! I’ve made many variations on these cupcakes and they always turn out yummy (in fact right now, I’m baking 1/3 of a batch).

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