My other blog turned 5 last week, and I decided to bake some cake to celebrate. Sure, I’ll take any excuse to make a cake – but I truly did feel like a celebration was in order. I started the other blog as a place to pen critical commentary and personal musings. It’s been such a gift over the years, and I love writing for it. If you’ve never checked it out, please do! But first: make these strawberry cupcakes.
I’d originally planned to make a snickerdoodle cake and headed out to buy some missing ingredients. But when I saw strawberries were on a buy one, get one free offer, I just couldn’t resist. Between Pinterest and a very organized Google doc, I keep a long list of recipes to try. As soon as I saw the strawberry promo, I remembered a strawberry cupcake recipe I’d saved last year. Clearly the sale was a sign that it was finally time to make this recipe!
These cupcakes were so fluffy, so moist, so delicious. There is strawberry puree in the actual cake batter, adding a subtle fruitiness. The cake texture is really light, thanks to cake flour and extra egg whites. Next time, I’d add more chopped strawberries to the batter, and use the flour trick to coat my berries so they don’t sink to the bottom of each cupcake.
The original recipe included frosting made with freeze-dried strawberries. I decided to swap in a different frosting using fresh strawberries instead so I could use more of my newly-obtained berries. I really loved the frosting I used and suggest using it for your cupcakes, too.
I highly recommend reading through this whole thing before you start baking. Which, technically, I always recommend doing with recipes – but it’s really important this time, since there are a number of elements you prep and set aside, use later, etc.
Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream
Yield: 24 cupcakes (original recipe claimed it made ~17 but I got 24!)
Suggested equipment: Mixer, either stand or hand-held
Total Time: ~2 hours
Cook Time: ~25 minutes
- 15 strawberries (Berry size varies so much it’s hard to use as a descriptor, but you’ll want enough berries for the puree + berry pieces to fold into the batter. You can adjust berry quantity when you get to the final fold-in step)
- 1 large egg, room temperature, separated into the whites and the yolk
- 2 additional egg whites, room temperature and separated out from the yolks (you won’t use the 2 yolks from these eggs)
- 2 1/3 cups cake flour (I highly recommend buying cake flour vs. using regular flour)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temp
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk, at room temp
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- pinch of salt
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 tablespoons strawberry puree
Step by Step Directions
Make your cupcakes
- Preheat your oven to 350F
- Slice 8 strawberries and place them in a food processor or blender. Pulse until strawberries are a chunky puree, and then set it aside for now. Chop up the rest of your strawberries into small pieces
- Beat your egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form – it will take about 2-3 minutes but you need to keep a close eye on it. You’ll want to use a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for this step. This handy tutorial shows what your egg whites should look like when you’re done. Set the whites aside
- Sift your cake flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Set this bowl aside, too!
- Then, using your mixer, beat the butter on high until smooth and creamy
- Add sugar to the mixer bowl, and cream the ingredients on high speed for 3-4 minutes until they’re very well creamed
- Add your egg yolk and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until combined
- Switch your mixer to low speed. Start adding the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the whole milk. You should start and end this cycle with the dry ingredients. Between each addition, mix the batter until it is just incorporated. Don’t overmix!
- Decide how many strawberries you want to add into the batter, and chop up as many berries as you need to get there
- Measure out 1/3 cup of your strawberry puree. Refrigerate the rest for now – you’ll want it for the frosting
- Fold in the egg whites, strawberry puree and strawberry pieces. This is the time to adjust your berry ratio if you want fewer/more berry pieces!
- Once your batter is properly incorporated, pour batter into cupcake liners. I filled mine 2/3 of the way, even though the original recipe suggested to fill halfway
- Bake for 20-24 minutes, until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched, and a toothpick in the middle comes out clean. Mine baked for 21 minutes but you should always start checking at the minimum time to see how your treats are faring
- Cool cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then move them to a rack to cool completely. Make sure the cakes are fully cooled before you start to frost them!
Make your frosting and assemble
- Beat your butter until it’s light and fluffy
- Add the salt, powdered sugar and vanilla, then mix to combine so it’s nice and smooth
- Add in your puree and beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy. Make sure the puree is well integrated before you stop beating the frosting – some bits of puree may be hiding on the bottom!
- Frost your cupcakes, and enjoy
A note on storage: These keep well in storage containers for a couple days. I actually froze a few, too, and they defrosted beautifully. Lots of bakers hesitate to freeze frosting but I sometimes do it out of necessity – in this case, because I wanted to save a couple cupcakes for friends. The cupcakes defrosted nicely and tasted great!