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Strawberries n’ Cream Cupcakes

March 21, 2011

Happy First (Full) Day of Spring!

Oh, and it’s snowing…welcome to New York.  I am thrilled at the prospect of warmer weather though, and fresh fruit and flowers and green grass and sunshine!  Unfortunately mother nature is on her own time schedule and doesn’t seem to care that I desperately need sunlight, so I’m creating my own version of spring.  Strawberries n’ Cream Cupcakes 🙂  With icing roses of course since my tulips are currently covered in icky white stuff.

Now <insert eye roll here-I’m about to revisit my childhood, again.> I grew up on boxed cake mixes but there was always home made icing, french icing to be exact.  It was our favorite; creamy, vanilla-ey (that’s not a word, is it) and not too sweet, it was perfect for most cakes but I loved it on the strawberry cake.  I’m a complete girly-girl and I loved all things pink and sweet which is exactly what that cake delivered.  And when topped with that creamy, oh-so-yummy frosting, it was just heaven 🙂

I’ve been on a rather lackadaisical search for fresh strawberry cupcakes since then.  They had to be moist, fluffy, pink but most of all, deliver a fresh punch of strawberry flavor.  I’ve poured over what seems like every recipe on the web and I’ve been really disappointed by how many of them include strawberry gelatin mix in the batter.  Finally I came across three that peaked my interest, and this recipe is my own adaptation of the three.  It delivers everything I wanted in a strawberry cupcake and provides a small hint of spring in my rather bleak day.

You do need to use super ripe berries, preferably local ones to get the best strawberry flavor.

start with the most important part…lots of fresh, sweet berries

Puree them and then strain

Cream the butter

Add in sifted flour and strawberry puree

all pink and ready to bake

while the cupcakes are baking, start the icing by whisking milk and flour together

heat the milk and flour until thick

beat the milk and flour base with butter

Mix in vanilla and sugar and then beat until it’s white and creamy

Frost generously and eat!

Strawberries n’ Cream Cupcakes
Yields about 20 cupcakes


2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup fresh strawberry puree (about 1-1 1/2 lbs of strawberries, rinsed, tops cut off and cut into chunks for puree)
pink food coloring (optional)
2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).  Line 2 cupcake pans with liners.

For the Cupcakes: Place, rinsed, chunked strawberries in a blender and puree.  You will probably have to do them in two batches.  Strain the pureed strawberries through a medium sieve to remove seeds and pulp.  Sprinkle the lemon zest over the strained puree and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In another large bowl (or standing mixer), cream the butter 3-5 minutes.  Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well.  Add vanilla.  Beat in the flour in three parts, alternating with the strawberry puree and starting and ending with flour.  If you would like the cupcakes more pink you can add a bit of pink gel food coloring.  Place the baking soda in a cup or small bowl and pour the vinegar over it (it will fizz and bubble), pour into cake batter and fold in until completely combined.

3. Fill the cupcake liners half way and bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.

4. For the frosting: Place milk in a small saucepan.  Sprinkle the flour over the milk, 1/4 cup at a time and whisk until smooth.  Place the saucepan over low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes thick and pulls into a ball.  Remove from the heat and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the mixture and tuck around it to make sure there are no exposed parts.  Refrigerate until cooled to room temperature or colder (at least 30 minutes).

In a large bowl, cream the butter.  Add the cooled flour milk mixture and beat until well blended.  Mix in the vanilla.  With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add the sugar and then continue to beat the icing for an additional 10-12 minutes until noticeably whiter and creamy.  Pipe onto the the cupcakes, if it gets to soft too pipe pop it in the freezer for a minute or so.  Serve immediately or store the cupcakes covered in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before eating.

*the baking powder measurement has been updated as of 5/2/12 and I have to update the inside picture below, the addition of the vinegar and baking soda makes these a much fluffier cupcake 🙂

Enjoy!  and Happy Spring!

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Gabrielle permalink
    March 21, 2011 11:00 am

    Mmm….! I’ve been waiting for this recipe since you told me you were going to post it! French icing is so unique and delicious…by far my most favorite frosting, ever! Your cupcakes look beautiful! 🙂

  2. March 21, 2011 4:25 pm

    My daughter would love these. She is a huge strawberry lover. Thank you

  3. March 21, 2011 8:21 pm

    Very Pretty!

  4. Angelica permalink
    June 1, 2011 3:31 pm

    I can say that I tasted this cake, you made it for my friends birthday(twin sisters) and the cake was amazing! Full of flavor and just a burst of strawberris, you are an amazing baker very creative…we must get together sometime…

    God bless

    • June 1, 2011 4:12 pm

      thank you angelica! I’m glad you enjoyed 🙂 and yes, I need to meet everyone-my sister is always telling me how sweet you all are! God bless

  5. YolandaJade permalink
    October 18, 2011 6:54 am

    Icing sugar or granulated?


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