fresh-strawberry-buttercream-cupcakes

Cakes & Cupcakes

Fresh Strawberry Buttercream Cupcakes

April 30, 2020

Soft and fluffy vanilla cupcakes topped with fresh strawberry buttercream made from real strawberries. As delicious as they are pretty, […]

Soft and fluffy vanilla cupcakes topped with fresh strawberry buttercream made from real strawberries. As delicious as they are pretty, these quick and easy cupcakes are sure to be everyone’s favorite!

During this time of social distancing, I’m doing my best to balance the heavy weight of our current reality with things that bring me joy. Calling a friend, playing UNO with my girls, walking the dog around the block at sunset. I’ve been writing notes to friends, organizing messy drawers, making cookies for neighbors, and doing lots and lots of dis-trac-ti-bak-ing. Yes, that’s a thing and it seems everyone is doing it. I hope we are all learning that whatever is on our list of things that spark joy during this time when we are all doing a little less is worthy of our attention long after this is all over. It’s the little things that are going to get us through these strange times. Having the space to slow down and appreciate the small but meaningful things is what I’m loving most about these quieter days.

Since we are all more focused on the present moment, the here and now, and finding little things that bring us lots of happy, it seems fitting to share a small batch recipe that incorporates springtime’s most popular berry. These fresh strawberry buttercream cupcakes are as pretty as they are delicious and with strawberry season upon us they are right on time. The recipe makes just twelve cupcakes to share with your favorite homebodies so you won’t have two dozen frosted cupcakes lingering around well into next week. This half batch recipe is perfect for this time when we are doing less sharing but more baking.

WHY ARE THESE CUPCAKES SO GOOD?

These cutie pie strawberry frosted cupcakes have a long list of things going for them, but here’s the short and sweet of it in case you need any convincing.

They’re easy to make. This recipe uses just a handful of pantry staples and only a half a cup of fresh, ruby red strawberries to make that pretty pink swirl on top. From start to finish you can have a dozen of these cupcakes sitting pretty on your kitchen counter in under an hour.

Who doesn’t love pink frosting? Kids big and small will love these cupcakes for their soft and fluffy crumb and that mile high swirl of fresh strawberry buttercream. No funky food coloring here…just pure, all natural strawberry flavor.

Substitutions are welcome. These cupcakes are a dream because the recipe is easily adaptable to the ingredients you have on hand. Don’t have sour cream? No problem. Sub greek yogurt. Can’t find fresh strawberries at the market? No biggie…use frozen berries instead. Want to make these gluten free? Go for it. Just sub a gluten free 1-to-1 baking flour for the cake flour and it’s all good!

They freeze beautifully. These cupcakes not only bake up perfectly every time, but they are super freezer friendly. Just wrap the cooled, unfrosted cupcakes tightly in two layers of plastic wrap and freeze until the craving strikes. Then defrost on the kitchen counter for 30-45 minutes before frosting. Your freezer stash never looked so good!

TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST CUPCAKES

Go easy on the batter. I think you know this already, but it’s worth repeating. If you want the lightest, fluffiest crumb texture in your cupcakes, do not over mix your batter. Once you have incorporated the flour into the wet ingredients, use a large spatula or wooden spoon to fold the mixture together until a few streaks of flour remain. Over mixing will lead to a dry, dense cupcake so keep the less is more motto in mind as you mix your batter.

Cake flour makes all the difference. Cake flour is naturally lighter than all purpose flour and it makes perfectly soft and fluffy cupcakes. You can find cake flour in a box next to regular flour in the baking aisle but if you are in a hurry and don’t want to bother with another trip to the market, try this cake flour substitute.

Don’t over fill the cupcake liners. For best results, fill the cupcake liners until about 2/3 full. If you fill them to the top you risk the batter overflowing and spreading onto the pan while baking. I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to divide the batter evenly amongst a 12 cup cupcake pan.

Do not over bake. Every oven runs differently so use the bake time as a guide. The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs remaining. If you press lightly on the top of the cupcake, it should spring back and the tops will be just slightly golden brown.

Cool completely before frosting. I love a warm, fresh from the oven cupcake just was much as the next girl but for pretty swirls that stay in place, cool the cupcakes completely before frosting. If you’re in a hurry, pop the cupcakes in the fridge for 10 minutes for a quick cool down.

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM

This fresh strawberry buttercream is one dreamy frosting that my kids declared was the best buttercream they’ve ever tasted. Seeing as I make dozens and dozens of cupcakes all year long like it’s my job, I’m pretty sure my girls know a thing or two about frosting. Follow the tips below for the very best buttercream and grab two spoons because it’s totally irresistible!

Use cold {ish} butter. Rock hard butter doesn’t cut it when it comes to making buttercream but for this recipe we want the butter to be on the cold side. We’re breaking all the rules here since I usually tell you to soften the butter to room temperature for buttercream frosting. This time, cube cold butter into squares and let it sit out for about 15- 20 minutes. The slighty chilled butter will mix smoothly with the confectioner’s sugar and will whip into a thick, fluffy frosting that is perfect for piping.

Sift your sugar. I’ll be the first to admit that I can be a lazy baker but this is one step I won’t skip. Sifting the confectioner’s sugar before incorporating it into the butter ensures that your frosting is smooth and creamy and free of any lumps and bumps. It takes just 60 extra seconds and it’s well worth it.

It’s all about the berries. For the very best, naturally flavored strawberry frosting, cherry pick the best strawberries of the bunch. Fresh is best but if you can’t find fresh berries, use frozen. Simply defrost the berries first and then pulse them together in a food processor or blender until they become liquid. If you love strawbs as much as I do, feel free to add an extra tablespoon or two of the juice to your buttercream. Your sweet tooth will thank you.

These fresh strawberry buttercream cupcakes are bringing me all kinds of joy these days. I think I may even love them more than chocolate which is saying a lot. There’s just so much to love about these pretty little cupcakes….they’re delish, super easy to make and sooooo super soft and tender thanks to the sour cream and cake flour combo. And who doesn’t love pink frosting? I hope you’ll give this easy recipe a whirl and let me know what you think. Or bookmark it for another day when you can double the batch and tote these beauties along to a birthday bash or backyard bbq.

Sending love from six feet away. Happy baking friends!

If you like these fresh strawberry buttercream cupcakes, you may also like:

Lemon Cake with Raspberry Glaze & Fresh Cherries

Gluten Free Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

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Fresh Strawberry Buttercream Cupcakes

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  • Author: Browned Butter Blondie
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Cakes

Description

Soft and fluffy vanilla cupcakes topped with fresh strawberry buttercream made from real strawberries. As delicious as they are pretty, these quick and easy cupcakes are sure to be everyone’s favorite!


Ingredients

Scale

For Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (can sub all purpose flour or make your own cake flour, see notes)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 4 TBSP (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (or any neutral oil)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream (or plain full fat Greek yogurt), room temperature

For Strawberry Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly cold
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup whole strawberries, pureed
  • 1 TBSP heavy cream

Instructions

For Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a 12 cup cupcake pan with liners and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine well. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and oil together on medium speed until well combined. There should be no lumps and the mixture will be light in color and smooth. This takes about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the granulated sugar slowly, increasing the speed to high. Mix for 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stop the mixer to scrape down the sides after each addition, being sure to run the spatula along the bottom of the bowl.
  7. Add the vanilla and beat on high speed for 3 more minutes. The mixture will be light and airy.
  8. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, alternating with the sour cream in 3 additions. Begin and end with the flour mixture.
  9. Before the flour is fully mixed in to the batter, remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish combing the mixture. Do not over mix.
  10. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to divide the batter evenly among the 12 cupcake liners, filling 2/3 full.
  11. Tap the cupcake pan firmly on the counter two times to release any air bubbles.
  12. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the cupcakes are a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs remaining.
  13. Remove the pan from the oven and cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5-10 minutes.
  14. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

For Strawberry Buttercream

  1. Wash and remove stems from the strawberries. Pulse in a food processor or blender until pureed. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the chilled butter and salt on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
  4. Once incorporated, add the vanilla and whip on medium speed for 1-2 minutes more. Buttercream will be thick but smooth.
  5. Add the strawberry puree and continue to whip on medium speed until combined.
  6. Add the heavy cream, beating on medium low speed until fully combined.
  7. If frosting is too thin, add more confectioner’s sugar. If too thick, add more heavy cream or strawberry puree. Buttercream should be slightly thick for piping swirls on to cupcakes.
  8. Top each cupcake with a generous swirl of buttercream.
  9. Serve fresh.

Notes

Store frosted cupcakes in refrigerator, covered.
Unfrosted cupcakes may be frozen.
To make cake flour from regular, all purpose flour, measure one cup all purpose flour and remove 2 tablespoons. Add in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift together to combine.

 

  • Reply
    Angela
    January 31, 2023 at 3:47 am

    My buttercream came out a bit strange when I added the purées strawberries. It went from a thick fluffy buttercream to almost chunky and watery, like the liquid from the strawberries messed it up. Do you know how to fix this?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      February 3, 2023 at 8:35 pm

      Hi Angela, it sounds like your butter may have been too soft and then the liquid from the puree made the buttercream too runny. Make sure your butter is not too warm and try adding the strawberry puree slowly.

  • Reply
    Strawberry Lemon Loaf Cake - Browned Butter Blondie
    June 10, 2021 at 2:06 pm

    […] Fresh Strawberry Buttercream Cupcakes […]

  • Reply
    Janie A.
    September 13, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    I don’t see vanilla listed as one of the ingredients in the frosting section. How much vanilla do it put in the frosting?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      September 13, 2020 at 10:08 pm

      oops!Thanks for catching that!! 1 teaspoon will do it. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Kristine
    July 30, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    These look great! Do you think this one would work well as a standard-size cake? Would the recipe need to be doubled?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      July 31, 2020 at 7:29 am

      Hi Kristine, you could try this in a 9 x 13 inch sheet cake version. I haven’t made this recipe as a cake before but it should work. You’ll of course need to adjust the baking time.

  • Reply
    Melissa
    June 6, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    These look divine! Wondering which size cupcake pan and liner you use? Mine look puny!

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      June 8, 2020 at 7:25 pm

      Hi! I use a standard 12 cup cupcake pan from Sur la Table. With standard liners.

  • Reply
    Manal
    May 31, 2020 at 9:23 am

    Hi If I want to make 6 cupcakes How will the measurement change for the ingredients ?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      June 1, 2020 at 9:45 pm

      The original recipe makes 12 cupcakes so you can halve the recipe. Or bake them all and freeze some for a later date. Enjoy!

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