It is hard to find a strawberry cake recipe that doesn’t start with a strawberry cake mix or include strawberry jello. These cupcakes are made entirely from scratch and include REAL STRAWBERRIES, if you can imagine that, and they are wonderful!
Most recipes that I share here are recipes that I have been making for years or that I have made many times. Today’s recipe breaks the rules. I have only made it one other time before today. I could tell just by looking at the recipe that it was going to be a good one; I was so confident in it that I made the recipe for someone who ordered cupcakes from me even though I had never made them before. The cupcakes were fabulous and got rave reviews! The recipe is from Sally’s Baking Addiction, which is quickly becoming a favorite blog of mine. These might be the best cupcakes I have made, though I make some ganache-filled chocolate cupcakes that get pretty high reviews too. I need to post those sometime…
These cupcakes (and swoon-worthy strawberry buttercream) are wonderful, but you need to know that they do require quite a bit more effort and dirty dishes than a boxed mix. I think they are worth every bit of time and clean up. These would be a particularly good choice for a bridal shower, baby shower, or other spring special occasions.
Go try them soon. Strawberries are in season right now and usually on sale. You will be so happy you did. If nothing else, make some box mix cupcakes and make THIS FROSTING. It is amazing strawberry heaven!
Real Strawberry Cupcakes and Strawberry Buttercream
**Baking at altitude, I increased the flour slightly (10 grams) and went a little scant on my sugar measurement.
*If you don’t have one already, I recommend getting a scale to weigh your ingredients, especially flour.
Yield: 19-24 cupcakes (I got 24 cupcakes using standard cupcake liners; I got 19 when I splurged on fancy cupcake wrappers that are a little oversized.)
For the cupcakes
- 8-9 large strawberries (*enough berries to get 1/3 cup chunky puree + additional to chop fine)
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour + 1/4 cup (30 grams) cornstarch sifted together OR 2 and 1/3 cups (268 grams) cake flour
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (180 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups (300 grams) white sugar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
For the strawberry buttercream
- 1 heaping cup freeze-dried strawberries, ground into crumbs
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 cups (480 grams) powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons or more heavy cream (you can substitute milk, but frosting will be slightly less creamy)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- (optional: Garnish with strawberry slices, sprinkles, chocolate drizzle, etc.)
- Complete some pre-baking steps first. Set out your butter, milk, and separated eggs to warm to room temperature. Wash strawberries and let dry on a paper towel. Use a blender or food processor to grind the freeze-dried strawberries (a buttercream ingredient) and set them aside. (Tip: Even though you won’t be making the buttercream until later, I recommend grinding the freeze-dried strawberries first as a time and dirty dish saving technique. If you do them first, you can then puree the strawberries in the same blender or food processor without having to wash it first. The first time I made this recipe, I pureed the strawberries for the cupcakes first and then had to wash and dry my food processor before I could grind the freeze-dried strawberries.) Cut 4-5 of the cleaned strawberries in half and then puree them in a food processor or blender until still a little chunky. You need 1/3 cup of chunky strawberry puree. Set aside. Finely chop the remaining 3-4 strawberries and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners. See my note above about the yield of the recipe.
- With a handheld mixer in a small-medium bowl, beat the three egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
- In a medium-large bowl, stir together the cake flour (or all-purpose flour and corn starch mix), baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment to beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes until well creamed. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula again as needed.
- With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until just barely combined. Add 1/2 the milk, mixing until just combined. Repeat with 1/3 flour and the other 1/2 of the milk. Finish by adding the last 1/3 of flour. Again, mix until just combined. Do not overmix. (Tip: I poured my flour mixture through a fine mesh sieve as I added it to the mixing bowl to ensure a nice and light mix.)
- Fold in the reserved whipped egg whites, chunky strawberry puree, and finely chopped strawberries until just combined. The batter will be thick.
- Spoon batter into cupcake liners, filling about halfway. Bake for 20-24 minutes until the tops of cupcakes spring back when touched lightly and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Make the frosting. With a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. With the mixer on low, slowly add the powdered sugar until combined. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the reserved crushed freeze-dried strawberries, cream, vanilla, and salt. Increase speed to high and beat for 3 minutes until ingredients are fully mixed and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and if the frosting is too thick, add a bit more cream to desired consistency. If the frosting is too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar to desired consistency. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired. (I used a Wilton tip #1M.)
*I have not tried it yet, but this recipe can be used to make a 9 inch layer cake. Pour batter into two greased and lightly floured 9-inch cake pans and bake for 27-35 minutes.
Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction