Fluffy, yet moist strawberry cupcakes made with real strawberries and packed with real strawberry flavor! Naturally pink and all-around gorgeous.
Why you'll love it
Not only are these strawberry cupcakes bursting with strawberry flavor, they are fluffy, tender, and moist. They're perfect for capturing that sweet spring and summer flavor any time.
Just like my strawberry sheet cake, there are no artificial flavors or colors. Instead, we use a mix of fresh and freeze-dried strawberries. Every single bit is packed full of fresh flavor.
- Strawberries - You need a mix of fresh strawberries and freeze-dried strawberries. You can usually find freeze-dried strawberries in the same aisle you find nut mixes in the grocery store. Frozen strawberries also work in place of fresh strawberries.
- Butter - Use unsalted butter to control the amount of salt in the cupcakes. You need to use softened butter.
- Sour cream - Sour cream adds tenderness and a slight tang that works well with the strawberries to bring out their flavor. You can also use Greek yogurt.
- Buttermilk - Buttermilk also adds tenderness to the cupcakes. If you don't have any, there are plenty of ways to substitute buttermilk in a cupcake recipe.
- Cake flour - Cake flour keeps the cupcakes light and fluffy. You can make a substitute cake flour by using all-purpose flour and then replacing a tablespoon of the flour with cornstarch.
How to Pack in Real Strawberry Flavor
I really struggled with how to get the most strawberry flavor in these cupcakes. I didn't want any artificial flavor because it always has a bad aftertaste, in my opinion.
A mix of strawberry puree and freeze-dried strawberries were the key after a lot of research and experimentation.
Usually, I like to reduce flavors into syrups or flavor concentrates to add a punch of flavor. The issue here is I didn't want to add more sugar to the cupcakes, so creating a strawberry syrup wouldn't work.
A flavor concentrate might work, so I started there. By reducing strawberries, we take out the excess moisture and leave just the flavor behind. It gives a really nice subtle strawberry flavor, but not enough to hold up against flavored frosting.
A few tablespoons of freeze-dried strawberries doesn't affect the end texture, but takes the flavor over the edge and really makes it shine brighter.
So for the best strawberry flavor, you need concentrated strawberry puree + powdered freeze-dried strawberries.
Expert baking tips
Make sure you are measuring your flour correctly. It is the number one most common mistake in baking. Give your flour a little fluff with a spoon and then spoon the flour gently into your measuring cup. Sweep off the excess. If you want to be entirely accurate, you can use a kitchen scale.
Check that all your ingredients are at room temperature. This is how you ensure all the ingredients mix together well and doesn't separate. If you want to quickly bring your eggs to room temperature, place them in warm water for five minutes.
Make the strawberry puree way in advance, either in the morning, or even the day before. That way it has plenty of time to cool down before putting it into your batter.
What Frosting to Use with Strawberry Cupcakes
The possibilities are pretty endless here. Anything that pairs well with strawberries would work. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Lemon Frosting
- Vanilla Frosting
- Chocolate Frosting
- Nutella Frosting
- Strawberry Frosting
- Cream Cheese Frosting
For these cupcakes, I used a mix of Nutella and strawberry frosting. My swirling was not very good here as I overestimated the power of the Nutella which blended too much with the strawberry. You can definitely taste both in the frosting.
Creativity is key. You can do just about anything to decorate your cupcakes. Dip fresh strawberries in white or regular chocolate. Add sprinkles or candies. Marshmallows, pretzels, and even potato chips would be fun additions. Even the way you frost your cupcakes can be done in so many different ways. I've always been a fan of simple decorations, but you push your creativity in any and all directions. There are no wrong answers!
How to Store Your Cupcakes
The best part about these strawberry cupcakes is how fluffy and moist they are. We don't want to ruin that by allowing them to dry out. The wrapper and frosting do a lot to protect them, but to ensure they are at their best, you want to keep them in an airtight container.
You can place your airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. They will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week, just allow it to come to room temperature before consuming. You can also freeze the cupcakes for up to a month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then bring to room temperature.
Absolutely! Unfrosted cupcakes freeze very well. When stored in an airtight they will last in the freezer for a month. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.
These cupcakes will last for three days in an airtight container at room temperature. They will last for a week in the refrigerator.
Looking for More Cupcakes?
You will find a lot of great recipes in our archives. I really recommend trying my snickers cupcakes or my pavlova cupcakes. You might also enjoy my cookies and cream cupcakes or my blueberry lemon cupcakes. These blackberry lime cupcakes are a reader favorite. Strawberry rose cupcakes are perfect for a special occasion. If you want something smaller batch, these chocolate cupcakes with Nutella and raspberry are perfect.
- 1 ½ cups sliced strawberries
- ⅓ cup freeze-dried strawberries
- 1 ½ cups cake flour*
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup buttermilk room temperature
- ¼ cup sour cream room temperature
Strawberry Nutella Frosting
- ⅓ cup freeze-dried strawberries
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 - 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- ⅓ cup Nutella
- Add the strawberries to a small saucepan. Heat on medium-low and mash the strawberries as you cook. Continue to cook the strawberries until it is cooked down to about ¼ cup. Allow to cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Link baking sheets with cupcake liners - remember this recipe makes 14 cupcakes.
- Add the freeze-dried strawberries to a food processor or blender and process until it is a fine powder.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda salt, and strawberry powder together and stir well. Set aside.
- Add the butter, cooled strawberry puree and sugar together. Beat well until well-combined.
- Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat well for about 4 minutes.
- Mix together the buttermilk and sour cream in a small bowl.
- Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until just combined. Add in half the buttermilk mixture and stir until just combined. Add half the remaining flour, then the remaining buttermilk and stir until just combined. Add the remaining flour and mix until just combined.
- Fill the cupcake liners ⅔ full, then bake the cupcakes for 16 - 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool, and while they are cooling, make the frosting.
- Process the freeze-dried strawberries until they are a powder set aside.
- Beat the butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, the mixture may seem crumbly, this is normal. Beat int he salt, and a tablespoon of heavy cream.
- Separate half the frosting mixture.
- In one half, mix in the freeze-dried strawberries. Add more heavy cream as needed.
- In the other half, add the Nutella, and heavy cream as needed.
- Fill a piping bag with the strawberry frosting and Nutella frosting.
- Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.