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Easy, simple, summery strawberry cupcake recipe to help you zip through your strawberry picking/farmer’s market haul! What’s great about this recipe is that it can be made from strawberry puree, so if you can puree some peak season strawberries right now, you can recreate the summery feeling whenever you feel like it!
The cupcakes get an extra lift with egg whites that are whipped separately and folded into the pretty pink cupcake batter at the last minute. To keep the recipe 1 bowl (ish), I like to whip the egg whites in my stand mixer work bowl, and transfer them into a smaller bowl or plate. Then I wipe down the bowl and make the batter in the same bowl. Start by beating the butter with vanilla extract and salt, then cream in the sugar and egg yolks. Then, add the dry ingredients (sifted together onto a sheet of parchment paper) and buttermilk in alternation, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Fold in the strawberry puree, and finally the egg whites. Bake until tops are dry and a tester comes out clean!
The frosting gets a boost from the strawberry puree as well, this time in a quick, stovetop jam format. The cream cheese cuts through the sweetness of the frosting and elevates the frosting to beyond your average buttercream. Because the strawberry puree is cooked down to almost a syrup, it doesn’t thin out the frosting as much as you’d think, helping it pipe like a dream.
As with any cream cheese frosting though, it benefits from a quick trip to the fridge before piping onto the cupcakes, especially if you are planning to really decorate the cupcakes with a fancy tip! If you are just planning to slather on the frosting for a more rustic look, then the frosting probably doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Regardless, its always easier to work with frosting that’s slightly on the cooler side (refrigerated and then brought back to almost-room-temperature), so as a general rule of thumb, its a good idea to chill your frosting!
Once the frosting is ready and cupcakes have cooled, go ahead and frost!
The cupcakes taste good slightly cold!
Strawberry cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting
Makes 30-32 frosted cupcakes
Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction and Dessert for Two
1 1/2 cups strawberry purée (from about 12-15 large strawberries or two dozen small strawberries)
2 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
4 egg whites (120 grams), at room temperature
4 cups (500 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (60 grams) cornstarch
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups (570 grams) granulated sugar
2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups strawberry puree (from about 12-15 large strawberries or two dozen small strawberries)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
16 tablespoons (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
16 ounces cream cheese (such as Philadelphia) (not cream cheese spread) at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups (600 grams) confectioners sugar
1-2 drops of red or pink food coloring, optional
Bake the cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 3 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. You will end up with 30-32 cupcakes!
With electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites (2 egg whites from the separated eggs, plus 4 egg whites, equals 6 egg whites total) on high speed in a medium bowl until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Carefully transfer egg whites to a plate or bowl and set aside. Wipe out stand mixer bowl with a paper towel and continue.
Sift the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder together into a large bowl or onto a large piece of parchment paper and set aside.
Using electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, vanilla extract and salt together on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes until creamed together.
Add the 2 egg yolks (from the separated eggs) and beat on medium-high speed until combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.
With the mixer on low speed (preferably in “Stir” mode), add the sifted dry ingredients and whole milk alternately in 4 additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Be careful to mix only until combined at each stage – do not over mix.
Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the strawberry puree, followed by the whipped egg whites.
Spoon batter into cupcake liners filling each tin about 3/4th of the way.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5-7 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Make the frosting
Combine the strawberry puree, sugar and a bit of water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Turn the heat to medium low, and cook while stirring every few minutes until the strawberries reduce to about 3/4 cup, about 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a shallow bowl or plate, and cool completely. This step can be done earlier in the day to make sure that the strawberry jam is cool enough to be added to the frosting. Be sure to cool at room temperature and not in the fridge, because the jam can become dry and form solid bits, which will not blend well into the frosting later! The jam should be smooth and free flowing with no hard bits.
Using electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract together until fluffy. Beat in the the strawberry mixture until combined.
Add 3 cups of the powdered sugar and beat on medium high speed until well incorporated. Then add the remaining sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating until frosting is creamy, smooth, and of the desired consistency. If too thick, add a splash of whole milk or cream. If too runny, add more confectioners sugar 1/4 cup at a time. Add 1-2 drops of food coloring, if using, to give the frosting a pinker hue.
Refrigerate frosting for 30-60 minutes or before decorating cupcakes as desired.