This strawberry cupcake recipe features light and fluffy cupcakes that are topped with homemade strawberry frosting. You’ll savor every strawberry-flavored bite!
There is plenty of fresh strawberry flavor — and then some! — in this strawberry cupcake recipe. Chopped fresh strawberries are reduced on the stove to make a thick puree, which is then used to flavor the actual cupcakes.
For the strawberry buttercream frosting, I found that freeze-dried strawberries work best. Fresh berries tend to make the frosting curdle and can thin it out too much. I’ve given suggestions on how to substitute the freeze-dried berries, if needed.
I don’t know about you, but I plan on making these cupcakes on repeat this spring and summer. They’re the perfect way to use up all those fresh berries!
I used a few special ingredients in this cupcake recipe, but I’ve given as many acceptable substitutions as possible in the section below. Let’s go over the ingredients list so you know what you’ll need for the cupcakes and frosting:
- Fresh strawberries: Ripe berries will deliver the sweetest, strongest flavor.
- Cake flour: Has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour, which results in lighter cupcakes. If you don’t keep cake flour on hand, you can easily make your own.
- Baking powder & baking soda: Help the cupcakes rise in the oven.
- Salt: You need a little salt to balance out the sweetness in the batter.
- Buttermilk: Real buttermilk is best, but you can make a substitute in about five minutes, if needed.
- Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract is always my preference.
- Red food coloring: Completely optional, but it will make the cupcakes a gorgeous shade of pink.
- Butter: You’ll want to use unsalted butter for these homemade strawberry cupcakes. The amount of salt in salted butters can vary between brands.
- Granulated sugar: Sweetens the batter without adding any flavor.
- Eggs: Should be at room temperature before making the recipe.
- Powdered sugar: Sweetens the frosting.
- Freeze-dried strawberries: Are blended into a fine powder using a food processor or blender. The freeze-dried berries add lots of strawberry flavor without thinning out the frosting.
- Cream or milk: Either work perfectly to thin out the frosting a touch.
How to Make Strawberry Cupcakes
Before making the cupcake batter, you’ll need to cook down the strawberries in a saucepan first. To do so, blend the berries in a food processor until smooth. Then, simmer on the stove until reduced (this process will take a good 30 minutes).
I recommend reducing the strawberry puree in a saucepan first, then letting it cool completely. Reducing the strawberries down allows you to remove any excess moisture and incorporate half of a pound of concentrated strawberry flavor into these cupcakes.
Next, you can move onto the batter. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, strawberry puree, vanilla, and food coloring.
In a third bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs to the bowl, one at a time, stopping to scrape it down in between additions. Add the dry ingredients and the wet to the butter mixture, alternating between the two until the batter comes together.
At this point, the batter is ready to be divided among 15 cupcake liners. Fill each about 2/3 full, but no more. Once the fresh strawberry cupcakes come out of the oven, let them cool completely before frosting.
The strawberry cupcake frosting comes together quickly. Beat the butter until smooth before mixing in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
I flavored the frosting with freeze-dried strawberries rather than fresh berries. I find that fresh strawberries can cause frosting to curdle and make it too thin. To solve this problem, I prefer to use freeze-dried strawberries in the frosting.
Once the strawberry powder, cream, and vanilla have been mixed into the frosting, you can get to piping it onto the cooled cupcakes.
Can I Make This Recipe Into a Cake?
Yes, you can use this recipe to make a one layer 9-inch cake! If you prefer a layered cake, I recommend using my strawberry cake recipe here.
Can I Use Frozen Strawberries?
I find that fresh strawberries taste sweeter than frozen, but frozen strawberries are fine too. Just be sure to let them thaw completely, then measure out 225 grams.
- If you don’t want to buy freeze-dried strawberries, use the raspberry frosting from my lemon cupcake recipe instead. Replace the raspberry jam called for in the recipe with strawberry jam.
- Let the strawberry puree cool completely before adding it into the buttermilk mixture.
- Both the strawberry frosting and the cupcakes can be made in advance and stored in either the fridge or freezer.
More Homemade Cupcake Recipes to Try!
- Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cupcakes
- Chocolate Cupcakes
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- Red Velvet Cupcakes
- Vanilla Cupcakes
- 1 ½ cups (225 grams) chopped fresh strawberries
- 1 ½ cups (175 grams) cake flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) buttermilk (at room temperature)
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 5 to 6 drops red food coloring (optional)
- ½ cup (115 grams) unsalted butter (softened)
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 cup (230 grams, 2 sticks) unsalted butter (softened)
- 3 cups (360 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 (0.8-ounce) bag freeze-dried strawberries
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) heavy whipping cream or milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- To make the reduced strawberry puree: Add the chopped strawberries to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, you should end up with a little over ¾ cup of strawberry puree.
- Pour the strawberry puree into a medium-sized saucepan and place it over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture has reduced to ⅓ cup (85 grams), stirring occasionally. This will take about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, scoop the reduced strawberry mixture into a heat-proof bowl, and set aside to cool completely.
- To make the strawberry cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two 12-count muffin pans with 15 cupcake liners and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk, reduced strawberry puree, vanilla extract, and red food coloring together until well combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes).
- Mix in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to stop and scrape around the bottom and sides of the bowl after each egg.
- Mix in the dry ingredients in two additions alternating with the buttermilk mixture (begin and end with the dry ingredients) on low speed. Mix in each addition until just combined, making sure not to over mix the batter.
- Evenly distribute the batter between the 15 cupcake liners, making sure to only fill each one about ⅔ of the way full.
- Bake for 16 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the strawberry frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth.
- Mix in the powdered sugar on low speed, one cup at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition.
- Add the freeze-dried strawberries to a blender or food processor and blend into a fine powder.
- Add the strawberry powder, heavy whipping cream, and vanilla extract and mix on low-medium speed until fully combined, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.