It's National Strawberry Day! Celebrate with these absolutely delicious fresh strawberry cupcakes (topped with real strawberry buttercream frosting too). I pull this recipe out of storage every time strawberries come back in season, and it's always a winner. The frosting is potent with strawberry flavor, and you can definitely taste it in the cupcake too (though it's a bit more subdued). If you don't have a huge sweet tooth, the cupcake alone is great; it has a slight crisp on the top and a moist, denser crumb. All in all, it's a great recipe to have around in during berry season.
Real Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream
For the cupcakes:
- 1/3 cup fresh strawberry puree*
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
*You'll need at least 5-6 strawberries to make enough puree for both the cupcakes and the frosting. You may need more if the strawberries are on the smaller side.
For the frosting:
- 1/2 cup fresh strawberry puree
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- more powdered sugar, sifted, for thickening
- Preheat the oven to 350. (Or wait until after you're about to combine the wet and dry ingredients, if you're slow like me).
- Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- Make your strawberry puree by tossing your washed, sliced berries into a food processor and blending thoroughly. Pour 1/3 cup of puree into a bowl and combine it with 1/4 cup of milk. Set it aside.
- Cream your butter and sugar together until light and fluffy in a medium-sized bowl. Add 1 whole egg and mix until combined. Then, add the egg whites one at a time, stirring between each one. Mix in 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
- Pour 1/3rd of the strawberry-milk into the egg mixture and stir. Then, add 1/3rd of the flour and mix thoroughly. Repeat in this pattern until both the milk and flour have been fully added.
- Fill your cupcake tin with liners and pour in enough batter so that the tin is about 3/4th of the way full. Lightly tap the cupcake tin on a counter once or twice to get the air bubbles out.
- Bake for 17 - 20 minutes, or until your cupcakes are lightly browned on top. (Now's a good time to start making the frosting!)
- Cool cupcakes completely on a wire rack before frosting.
For the frosting
- Transfer at least 1/2 a cup of the strawberry puree to a saucepan over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and let the mixture simmer, whisking it occasionally, until it's reduced to at least half it's original amount. This should take about 20 minutes. Once the strawberry puree reaches your desired potency, take the mixture off the heat and let it cool completely.
- Cream the butter in a bowl until it's light and fluffy.
- Sift a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar over the butter and blend it until just combined.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the strawberry puree and 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and mix.
- Repeat the pattern with powdered sugar and strawberry puree (no vanilla extract) until the mixture reaches your desired consistency, texture, and sweetness. *If you want a thicker frosting, without adding additional sugar, you can try adding 1/2 tsp at a time of finely sifted cornstarch.