These Very Strawberry Cupcakes are adorned with a tangy and delicious strawberry cream cheese frosting. They are packed full of strawberry flavor from both fresh and freeze dried strawberry, without any artificial flavor nor food coloring added.
I remember my first time making strawberry cupcakes years ago before I even knew freeze dried strawberry existed. I used a strawberry flavoring that ended up giving the cupcakes a pretty nasty after taste. Let’s just say I know better now, and I’m not going to lead you down the wrong path with these beauties. These cupcakes are all natural, in both flavor and color.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m quite obsessed with freeze dried strawberry. As they say, the proof is in the truffles and the cookies. Once I discovered this magical thing called freeze dried strawberry, I couldn’t wait to bake it into everything, including these strawberry cupcakes. The cupcake batter gets a dose of fresh and freeze dried strawberry, while the frosting gets the flavor, the color and the tang from just freeze dried strawberry. And together, they make some very strawberry cupcakes for lack of a better word!
How to Make Strawberry Cupcakes
First step, you’ll need to pulverize the freeze dried strawberry into a powder using a food processor or a good blender. I usually drape a kitchen tower over the food processor so the powder doesn’t puff up everywhere. Once done, let it settle for a bit before opening the lid. I usually buy freeze dried strawberry at Target; they come in 1 oz bags, which is what this recipe requires.
Use just half of the strawberry powder for the cupcake batter and reserve half for the frosting. Mix this together with flour, sugar and the rest of the dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl to ensure even distribution.
Once you transfer the rest of the strawberry powder to a bowl or container, you can use the same food processor to puree the fresh strawberry needed for the cupcake batter. The strawberry puree gets mixed with the rest of the wet ingredient to make a pretty pink liquid mixture.
Now add the flour mixture prepared earlier into the liquid mixture and fold with a spatula until the batter is just combined. You could very well use an electric mixer to make the cupcake batter. But it’s quite easily done by hand, and most of the time I won’t use anything fancier than a wire whisk. But for the frosting, I always turn to my trusty old or stand mixer.
To divide the batter into the cupcake pan, I always use a large ice cream/cookie scoop (about 2 oz). It makes the process quick and clean, a whole lot less drips. It’s a real cheap investment that you’ll end up using over and over again for all kind of cupcakes and cookies. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, perhaps with just a few crumbs attached.
How to Make the Strawberry Frosting
I wrote a post for Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting with step by step photos and detailed instructions earlier this week. But in summary, simply beat together softened cream cheese, butter and vanilla until combined. Then add powder sugar and strawberry powder. Mix at low speed to incorporate and then beat at higher speed until all ingredients are thoroughly combined to yield a fluffy frosting. Frost the cooled cupcakes however you desire.
How to Frost Strawberry Cupcakes
For these cupcakes, I used an open star piping tip inside a pastry bag. Hold the bag straight up above the cupcake and push out a dollop of frosting and let go. Repeat the process to add frosting, one dollop at a time, in a circle on top of the cupcake, about 5 – 6 dollops, finish with one in the middle for the first layer. Then add the second layer the same way but in between the outer circle and the center. The second layer will be a smaller circle, maybe about 3 – 4 dollops. Then add one last one at the top to finish. Garnish with white sugar pearls for a girly touch.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!
Very Strawberry Cupcakes
- ¼ cup freeze dried strawberry powder (½ oz)
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup pureed strawberry (4 oz)
- ⅓ cup buttermilk (room temperature)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Prepare the strawberry powder
- Add 1 oz of freeze dried strawberry to a food processor and process until a powder forms. Keep a kitchen towel draped over the food processor while it’s working to prevent the strawberry powder to escape and fly everywhere.
- This should yield ½ cup. Use ¼ cup for the cupcake batter and the remaining ¼ cup for the strawberry cream cheese frosting.
Make the cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
- Add ¼ cup of strawberry powder to a small mixing bowl along with flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix with a whisk to distribute evenly. Set aside.
- In the same food processor used previously for the freeze dried strawberry, add the fresh strawberry and puree. Add strawberry puree in a medium mixing bowl along with buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla extract. Beat together with a whisk until smooth.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredient mixture and fold until just combined.
- Use a large ice cream scoop to divide batter into the previously prepared muffin pan. One flat scoop of batter for each cupcake cavity, or about ¼ cup of batter each.
- Bake in the middle oven rack for 16 - 17 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to the touch, remove cupcakes from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the frosting
- Allow the cream cheese and butter to come to room temperature and softened before you get started. It can speed up the process to cut them into small cubes.
- In the stand mixer bowl, add softened butter and cream cheese along with the pure vanilla extract, mix with the whisk attachment at medium low speed and gradually increase speed to medium high and beat until thoroughly combined.
- Stop the mixer to add powder sugar and the remaining ¼ cup of strawberry powder, mix at low speed to incorporate the powder mixture into the cream mixture, then gradually increase speed to medium high and beat until thoroughly combined and fluffy.
- Add a piping tip of your choice to a pastry bag, fill with the frosting and add frosting to the cooled cupcakes.
- 1 package of freeze dried strawberry I buy from Target is typically 1 oz.
- These cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they are made, but they can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow them to come to room temperature before serving.
- Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature overnight, then add frosting in the morning, if desired. Frosted cupcakes should be refrigerated if not eaten right away.
Shop The Recipe Tools
- Food Processor
- Stand Mixer
- Large Ice Cream/Cookie Scoop
- Pastry Bags
- Open Star Piping Tip
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
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