Strawberry Cupcakes

It seems like every morning I wake up, look out the window, and fall in love with California all over again. Where else do you get sunny, seventy degree days in the middle of January and a summer and fall free of hurricanes or tornadoes? Yes, we miss out on the seasons a little bit, but there was definitely no doubt that it was winter a few weeks ago, when it was 50 and pouring for an entire week straight.

My first winter here, I remember being shocked to see fresh, local strawberries in the farmers market in early February. In Oregon, the strawberry season was painfully short so the idea of being able to get strawberries that had not spent weeks in transit completely blew my mind.

If you happen to be in a place where there’s snow on the ground and no strawberry plants for thousands of miles, these cupcakes are here to put a smile on your face and bring you a little bit of summer…all you need to do is pick up some frozen strawberries at the grocery store. (And in all honesty, I think these may actually be better made with frozen strawberries!)

Some of the comments on the recipe indicated that the strawberry flavor wasn’t strong enough in the icing, so I took the advice of one commenter and boiled the puree to reduce it and concentrate the flavor. It not only gave the frosting a beautiful pink color, it definitely made the strawberry flavor nice and strong. I only made 6 cupcakes because I was baking a few other desserts the same day, but the recipe is easy to double.

(adapted from Martha Stewart, originally from Candace Nelson at Sprinkles Cupcakes)

3 tablespoons strawberry puree (just puree fresh or thawed frozen strawberries in a food processor)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
2 tbsp whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg

1/4 cup soft butter
1/2 cup thawed frozen (or fresh) strawberries, pureed and simmered until reduced by half
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla

To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Put paper liners in 6 cupcake tins.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt onto a piece of wax paper. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree.
Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, and add the sugar. Beat for a few minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix on low until combined.
Add half the flour mixture and mix briefly on low. Scrape down the bowl and add the milk mixture, mixing just until combined. Scrape down the bowl and add the remaining flour mixture. Mix on low, then divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting:
Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the strawberry puree a teaspoon or two at a time until the frosting is smooth and spreadable.


34 Responses to “Strawberry Cupcakes”

  1. 1 life and kitchen February 2, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Yum, those look great! Especially that frosting!

  2. 2 Stephanie February 2, 2010 at 8:15 am

    These are so cute! I bet they taste so fresh and delicious! I love the pink for valentine’s too!

  3. 3 ashley February 2, 2010 at 8:29 am

    oh yum! these look fabulous and fresh! great photo!

  4. 4 Siri February 2, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Super pretty. These would be THE valentine’s cupcakes!

  5. 5 deana@lostpastremembered February 2, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I’m making cupcakes all week… kudos for yours! They look and sound delicious and they are an inspiration!

  6. 6 Lisa February 2, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    These are so pretty!! I’m so jealous that you can find fresh strawberries in February. I can’t WAIT for spring on the east coast!

  7. 8 Jessica February 3, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Not to offend and it could have been me, but I made these cupcakes and I do not like them! Very weird considering I haven’t met a cupcake I don’t like. I was really excited about using the fresh strawberries but it leaves the cupcake flavorless. Maybe I should try them again!

    • 9 Cate February 3, 2010 at 7:06 pm

      Jessica – I think they might actually be better with frozen strawberries, since they’re probably frozen when they’re very ripe. I know a lot of the fresh strawberries this early in the season are pretty flavorless.

  8. 10 Michelle February 4, 2010 at 9:25 am

    I was just looking at this recipe on yesterday. I plan to make them for Valentine’s Day so I’m glad to read that you did boil down the puree for the frosting and were pleased with it. I love the pink color. I had read that and wasn’t sure whether I’d do it or not. I will for sure now. : )

  9. 11 hungry dog February 4, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Wow, these are so pretty! I love that pink color and was expecting it to be food coloring…what a sweet surprise that they are all natural!

  10. 12 Colleen February 10, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    As I look at the blizzard conditions outside my window right now, I am jealous of your strawberry cupcakes!

  11. 13 Wendy April 4, 2010 at 6:31 am

    These cupcakes were wonderful – I made them last night, and I used fresh chopped strawberries and mashed them with a fork with some sugar (since I didn’t have any puree) – and I added a couple extra tablespoons of my strawberries – then I used heavy cream instead of the whole milk. YUM!! (I used a different icing recipe and made Easter Chicks) Thanks for sharing!

  12. 14 Anjali April 13, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I made the cupcakes for my 3 yr old yesterday ….. they were yummy . I just had 4 strawberries and half a stick of butter at home and your measurements were perfect for me 🙂
    I will definitely make them again…. thanks for sharing the recipe .

  13. 15 jen July 2, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    My icing always comes out in a weird consistency and does not hold, what am i doing wrong!? 😦

    • 16 Cate July 3, 2011 at 5:07 pm

      Jen – I’m not sure why your icing isn’t working, but it helps to make sure the strawberry puree is completely cool, cream the butter until it’s fluffy, and add the liquid just a little bit at a time, stopping when it’s spreadable. Hope that helps!

  14. 17 Jan July 6, 2011 at 6:51 am

    I love the look of the cupcakes, they look soo yummy!!!

  15. 18 Nikki July 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I’ve tried to make mini cupcake versions of these, but I’m finding the middle sinks once it comes out. None of my other cakes do this – just these? Any suggestion?

  16. 20 Ellie August 29, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I made these and the blueberry cupcakes for my husband’s birthday, and they were a big hit! Here’s how they turned out:

  17. 21 Mary's Pastry Lab January 6, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    the frosting looks awesomely sweet. 🙂 gonna try this!

  18. 22 ZShort March 26, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    I made these cupcakes tonight and being a professional chef I have to say that I felt there was definitely flavor lacking in the cupcake itself. I don’t like to cheat my customers with a cover up icing and no flavor in the cake. My rule of thumb is that the cake needs to taste great alone as well as the icing. I will say that the icing is pretty good. Will be working the recipe to add more strawberry flavor to the cupcake itself.

    • 23 Cate March 27, 2012 at 4:45 am

      I think adding strawberry extract (if it exists) would probably help. I’ve tried a few fruit cupcakes and aside from banana, it’s kind of hard to get the flavor to be strong in the cupcake as well as the frosting.

  19. 24 Tim April 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Hi, Do you know the servings for this recipe?

  20. 26 Maria June 10, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    These cupcakes are beautiful and so yummy. Thank you for sharing.

  21. 27 Cupcakegirl May 30, 2013 at 8:13 am

    I have to ask, what size piping tip did you use?

    I usually use a Wilton 1M star tip and it almost looks like that’s what you used here but mine never look like that.

    Great job! Can’t wait to try them

  22. 28 angela valentine June 12, 2013 at 8:52 am

    ooh those look fabulous i made them and ill give mine a 10%10

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