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.