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Strawberry Cupcakes

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These rosy-hued Homemade Strawberry Cupcakes are irresistibly soft and fluffy, filled with the flavor of real fresh strawberries! They’re the best summer dessert topped with swirls of strawberry buttercream frosting. 

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

These fluffy strawberry cupcakes were one of the first desserts I made as soon as strawberry season arrived. And they’re absolutely irresistible! It’s easy to become addicted to the fresh strawberry flavor and moist, tender crumb.

This is the cupcake version of my fresh strawberry cake recipe, with an easy variation on the frosting. My homemade strawberry cupcakes are the ultimate summertime dessert, made with real strawberry puree and a few “secret” ingredients that really bring a whole new level of bright, sweet flavor. I can’t wait for you to try them.

And don’t even get me started on the lush, creamy strawberry buttercream frosting. Just wait until you sink your teeth into these soft frosted cupcakes!

An unwrapped, frosted strawberry cupcake cut in half.

Why You’ll Love These Easy Cupcakes

This recipe is almost guaranteed to become one of your new favorite summer desserts. These strawberry-licious cupcakes are:

  • Full of strawberry flavor. I flavor these easy cupcakes with a combination of real strawberry puree, powdered freeze-dried strawberries, and strawberry jam for the utmost berry flavor. Every bite is bursting with strawberry sweetness.
  • Easy to make. This is a straightforward recipe for absolutely bakery-worthy cupcakes! You’ll be in awe of your own baking skills. I include all my tricks for cupcakes that come out super moist, tender, and delicious every time.
  • Perfect for summer parties. Your spring and summer calendar needs these strawberry cupcakes! They’re filled with bright seasonal berries and perfect for BBQs, picnics, and any other summer get-togethers. I can’t wait to make a batch for our Fourth of July celebrations!
The ingredients for homemade strawberry cupcakes and strawberry frosting.

Key Ingredients for Strawberry Cupcake

This recipe makes enough batter for 24 cupcakes. Along with your baking essentials like flour, sugar, milk, eggs, etc., there are a handful of key ingredients you’ll need to make the perfect strawberry cupcakes (and frosting). I summarize these below, with the full recipe details available in the recipe card below the post.

  • Fresh Strawberries – You’ll need one pound (or about 2 cups) of ripe fresh strawberries to reduce for an easy homemade puree. Make sure to choose strawberries that are fully red with fresh, green leaves, as these will be the freshest. I also amp up the flavor of these cupcakes with the addition of freeze-dried strawberries, see below).
  • Oil and Butter – The combination of oil and butter provides both taste and texture for a spongy cake.
  • Sour Cream – Along with oil, sour cream is my second “secret” ingredient to ultra-moist cupcakes and cakes. You don’t notice the flavor and it really makes a difference in terms of texture!
  • Food Coloring – To really play up the rosy pink color of these cupcakes, I add a smidge of pink gel food dye to the batter. I use Ameri Color Fuchsia.

Strawberry Buttercream Ingredients

For the cupcakes, I opted for a buttercream frosting instead of a strawberry whipped cream, so that is these warmer summer months you don’t have to take up space in the refrigerator with cupcakes. Besides the obvious, powdered sugar and butter (unsalted butter always!), there are a couple of ingredients needed to make the best buttercream.

  • Freeze-dried Strawberries – You’ll need a second bag of freeze-dried strawberries to blend up to make your strawberry frosting. I go into detail on why freeze-dried strawberries are the best choice to use in buttercream in my Strawberry Frosting recipe.
  • Strawberry Jam – Optional, but adding a couple of spoonfuls of strawberry preserves helps to boost the strawberry flavor.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream – For the fluffiest, creamiest buttercream, stick with full-fat heavy whipping cream. Alternatively, you can use milk.

How to Make Strawberry Cupcakes

Before you start on the cupcake batter itself, you’ll prepare a quick strawberry reduction. Reducing your pureed berries is a must to ensure that your cupcake batter doesn’t come out watery. Here’s how to do it:

Puree the strawberries. First, pulse the rinsed and hauled strawberries in a blender or food processor until smooth. Aim for around 2 cups of puree, so you’ll have enough left after it’s reduced.

Reduce. Add the puree to a saucepan and bring it to a slow boil. Let it cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until it’s reduced by half (about 1 cup of puree). Afterward, transfer the reduction to a bowl and let it cool completely.

Prep. While the oven preheats to 350ºF, line your cupcake pan and add your freeze-dried strawberries to your blender. Pulse until you reach a fine powder.  

Combine the wet ingredients. Now, beat together the wet ingredients in a large bowl, and cream in the sugar. Add your strawberry reduction, freeze-dried strawberry powder, and a drop or two of food dye. Beat until the batter is smooth and uniform in color. 

Add the dry ingredients. First, whisk together your dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then alternate adding them to your wet batter along with the milk. Use a spatula to mix the batter from bottom to top, being mindful that you don’t over-mix.

Bake. Divide the batter evenly between the lined wells of your cupcake pan. A large cookie scoop works great for this. Finally, bake your strawberry cupcakes at 350ºF for 15-18 minutes. Allow the finished cupcakes to cool completely before you frost them.

Three unfrosted strawberry cupcakes stacked on top of one another.

How to Make Strawberry Buttercream

Once your cupcakes are cooled to room temperature, they’re ready for frosting.

Prepare the strawberries. You’ll need to pulverize additional freeze-dried strawberries to use in your strawberry buttercream. I highly recommend sifting the powder through a fine mesh sieve this time, so that your frosting comes out smooth.

A mesh sieve with powdered freeze-dried strawberries

Beat the butter. Begin by cutting your cold butter into cubes, then whip it for a few minutes to get it lighter in color. It takes a bit of extra effort to whip chilled butter, but it’s totally worth it!

Combine. Next, mix in about one-third of the powdered sugar, followed by the vanilla. Gradually add your freeze-dried strawberries, more powdered sugar, and heavy cream. Lastly, you’ll beat in the strawberry jam with the last of the powdered sugar, and salt.

Whip. To really work additional air into the frosting, give your mixed ingredients one last, final whip for 2-3 minutes until you reach your desired consistency.

Assorted strawberry cupcakes with swirls of strawberry frosting garnished with fresh strawberries.

Frosting Consistency

Adding jam to the frosting does change the initial consistency of the frosting to make it softer, less stiff. The reason this ingredient is optional is because you may like the flavor of the frosting without the jam and decide not to add it. Here’s are a few ways you can change adjust the consistency.

My frosting is too thin: One way to fix this is to add more powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until you reach the right consistency. You can also try refrigerating the frosting for 30 minutes and then rewhipping to see if that helps.

My frosting is too thick: Before adding additional liquid ingredients, try separating out about half of the frosting into another bowl and beating only half at a time to get a whipped and smooth consistency.

Helpful Baking Tips

Here are some additional tips for making the best strawberry frosting from scratch:

  • You’ll need two 1oz bags of freeze-dried strawberries. A one-ounce bag yields about 1 ½ cups of berries, so you’ll have leftovers from the first bag after making the cupcake batter. No worries – simply chuck the extra strawberries into the blender with your second bag when making your frosting.
  • Sift the powdered strawberries to use in the frosting. This separates out any larger pieces, for a smoother, less grainy frosting consistency. It’s not necessary to sift the powder for the cupcakes.
  • Frozen Strawberries. You can use frozen strawberries for the puree, but you’ll want to thaw them first and then cook them down to reduce the liquid. You may need to puree the berries after they have cooked down a bit.
  • Add strawberry jam to enhance the flavor. This is my trick for extra strawberry-filled frosting, but it’s optional. If you do wish to add preserves to your frosting, make sure to choose one with a smooth consistency (and not chunky), and add it a little at a time.
  • Prepare the puree ahead. The strawberry puree that you use to make these cupcakes can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Store the puree airtight in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. See below for details on storing your finished cupcakes. 
  • Alternative frosting recipes. These would also pair nicely with a simple vanilla buttercream, but for chocolate, I’d recommend a fudge frosting which is made with melted chocolate.
Three strawberry cupcakes with strawberry frosting on a light pink cake stand, garnished with fresh strawberries and surrounded by more cupcakes.

Decorating Ideas

There are so many ways to decorate these strawberry cupcakes with your freshly made strawberry frosting! Pipe beautiful swirls and rosettes over top (I have easy tutorials on How to Use a Piping Bag and How to Use Piping Tips to set you up for success). And, if you want to go all-out, try filling these cupcakes with my homemade Strawberry Filling, it’s very similar to the puree that you add to the cupcake batter.

I love garnishing my frosted cupcakes with fresh strawberries. They’d also be just as perfect topped with white or dark chocolate shavings, sprinkles, or a drizzle of chocolate ganache.

Assorted strawberry cupcakes with swirls of strawberry frosting garnished with fresh strawberries.

How to Store Homemade Cupcakes

Store your frosted strawberry cupcakes in an airtight container. These cupcakes are at their best when served within 48 hours. Otherwise, refrigerate them airtight and bring them to room temperature before serving. 

Can I Freeze Strawberry Cupcakes?

Yes! I prefer to freeze unfrosted cupcakes, but the frosting can also be frozen. Prepare the cupcakes as directed, and allow the cupcakes to cool completely to room temperature. Freeze them in an airtight container for up to one month. 

Print
Three strawberry cupcakes with strawberry frosting on a light pink cake stand, garnished with a strawberry and surrounded by more cupcakes.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 16 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 16 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cupcakes

Description

These rosy homemade Strawberry Cupcakes are moist, tender, and filled with the flavor of real fresh strawberries! It’s the ultimate summer dessert topped with swirls of creamy strawberry buttercream frosting.

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces (1lb) strawberries, reduced to 1 cup of puree
  • 1 cup (20g) freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (96g) sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (285g) granulated sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups (330g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (7.5g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) milk
  • Pink food coloring (optional)

Frosting

  • 1 oz bag of freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cups (339g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 6 cups (780 g) powdered sugar
  • 23 tablespoons strawberry jam (optional, see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream or milk
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. To make the strawberry reduction, rinse the berries and pulse them in a food processor or blender until pureed. You should have about 2 cups of puree.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan cook the puree over medium-low heat. Stir frequently and allow the mixture to come to a slow rolling boil. Continue cooking until it has thickened and reduced to 1 cup. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature, refrigerate if necessary.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  4. Pulse the freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor to a fine powder.
  5. In a large mixing bowl combine the wet ingredients: oil, butter, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Beat until very well combined.
  6. Next, beat in the sugar until it’s been well mixed. Then add the strawberry puree, freeze-dried strawberries, and a couple of drops of pink food coloring and beat until well combined.
  7. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients. Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the milk, half at a time, and beat just until combined. Then stir the batter with a spatula to ensure it’s well mixed.
  8. Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full. Bake at 350°F for 15-18 minutes. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool Completely.

For the Frosting

  1. Pulse the freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor to a fine powder. Sift the powder through a fine mesh sieve to remove any larger granules.
  2. Cut the butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally, and beating until the butter looks light in color.
  3. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and the vanilla extract and mix on low speed until incorporated, then increase the speed to high, and beat for approximately 60 seconds or until well combined.
  4. Next, add the freeze-dried strawberries, 2 cups of powdered sugar, and the heavy cream and beat on low speed until incorporated, then increase speed to high and beat for 3 minutes. Then add 2 tablespoons of strawberry preserves, mixing to combine.
  5. Add the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and salt. Beat on low until the ingredients start to mix together. Increase speed to high and beat for another 2-3 minutes until it reaches desired consistency.

Notes

  • Freeze-dried strawberries: You’ll need two 1oz/30g bags for this recipe. A one-ounce bag is about 1 ½ cups. 1 cup of freeze-dried strawberries yields about 1/4 cup of the powder for the cupcakes. For the frosting, you’ll use an entire bag, plus what’s left over from the first bag.
  • Strawberry preserves: You’ll want to opt for a smooth consistency without chunks of fruit, as those can affect the consistency of the frosting. Add strawberry jam enhances the strawberry flavor. The frosting is still good without it if you don’t have any on hand, then you can skip it. I recommend starting with 2 tablespoons and then adjusting to taste. Adding too much will thin out the frosting, and you may need to add additional powdered sugar. Strawberry
  • Gel colors: Adding food coloring to the cupcake is optional but does give it a brighter pink color. I used Americolor Fuchsia Pink.
  • How to store: Frosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature unless it’s hot or humid, in which case they should be refrigerated. These cupcakes are at their best when served within 48 hours. Otherwise, refrigerate them airtight and bring them to room temperature before serving. 
Nutrition Information:
1 Cupcake
414
45.3 g
45.4 mg
19.2 g
59 g
1.1 g
3.2 g
60.1 mg
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: strawberry cupcakes, strawberry cupcake recipe, strawberry frosting, strawberry desserts

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