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Every bite of these moist Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes is a taste of sweet summer-ripe strawberries in from-scratch homemade cupcake with a light strawberry buttercream frosting swirled on top. It handily beats the pants off a strawberry cake mix any day, without any artificial strawberry flavor!
When it comes to strawberry season, these cupcakes are always at the top of my list, but there are so many other fabulous desserts to choose from! My Fresh Strawberry Pie is one of my most popular recipes, but you should also check out my Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream, and Strawberry Shortcake!
Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes
Making fresh strawberry cupcakes from scratch might seem imposing in the face of a convenient box cake mix. But let me tell you, a strawberry cake mix can’t come close to replicating these light and fluffy strawberry cupcakes made with real strawberry flavor in the form of a reduced strawberry puree and diced fresh strawberries swirled into the batter.
I have been making this strawberry cupcake recipe for years and they are always fun to take to social gathering because they garner ooh’s and ahh’s from others who love the perfectly pale pink color (all natural unless you opt to add some food coloring ) and the real fresh strawberry taste. Garnish each cupcake with half a sliced strawberry for the prettiest, simplest decoration imaginable and you’re all set to impress!
Making cupcakes with domed tops like my vanilla cupcakes and moist chocolate cupcakes is slightly more difficult when fresh fruit is added to the mix. Fruit adds moisture content to baked goods and can have a tendency to weigh things down a bit.
Some bakers resort to powdered freeze-dried strawberries to flavor their cupcakes or frosting. But in my recipe testing, nothing beats fresh strawberries in terms of ease and availability. And if you reduce a strawberry puree a bit to concentrate the flavor and get rid of some of the excess moisture, you can still have beautiful, fluffy domed cupcake tops!
This is a great recipe for using up strawberries that are a little past their prime. We eat lots and lots of strawberries when they are in season, but every now and then my family reaches a point where they are a little berried-out and I have a container of strawberries that starts to wilt a bit or some are on the border of going moldy. I just cut off the bad parts and the strawberries that my family wouldn’t want get a new life in baked goods, much like overripe bananas and banana bread!
Ingredients in strawberry cupcakes
- Strawberries: I have only made these with fresh strawberries, but I imagine that thawed frozen strawberries will work as well. We use two forms in the cupcakes and frosting – a puree that is reduced on the stove, and diced bits of strawberry that add moist little pockets of juicy berry flavor to the cupcakes.
- Sugar: Just the right amount of granulated sugar gives these cupcakes their sweet flavor and moist texture.
- Butter: I use salted butter in both the cupcake base and the frosting.
- Vegetable oil: You could use all butter in place of the oil, but oil helps keep these cupcakes extra moist.
- Buttermilk: I love buttermilk in baked goods and cake recipes. It adds a little tang and reacts with the baking soda to provide lift. Plus it helps keep the cupcakes moist. You can substitute regular milk though if you don’t have buttermilk on hand.
- Eggs: These should be at room temperature. If you forget to pull them out in advance, just fill a bowl with hot tap water and let the eggs sit in there for 10 minutes to take the chill off.
- Vanilla: For flavor that doesn’t overpower but complements the strawberries.
- Cake flour: All-purpose flour will suffice in a pinch, but cake flour does make cupcakes lighter and more like the texture you expect from a cake mix. You can make a good cake flour substitute for this recipe though by using 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup cornstarch.
- Baking powder & baking soda: For leavening.
- Salt: A little salt brings out the other flavors and keeps things from tasting bland.
How to make strawberry cupcakes
- Make the strawberry puree: In a food processor or blender, process 1 pound of washed strawberries until they’re pureed. Then transfer the puree to a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until they are reduced by half (usually about 15-20 minutes). Make sure to stir frequently to avoid burning. Between the cupcake batter and the frosting, you will need 3/4 cup of reduced pureed strawberries. Let the puree cool completely before adding to the recipe.
- Prep the oven and baking pan: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and fill 12-14 muffin cups in a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
- Combine the wet ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, melted butter, oil, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and 1/2 cup of the reduced pureed strawberries together until they are combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and diced strawberries: Add the flour and sprinkle the baking soda, baking powder and salt over the top. Stir just until combined, then stir in the finely diced strawberries.
- Fill and bake: Divide the batter evenly between 12-14 cupcakes liners, filling each cup only 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 19-22 minutes or just until the tops bounce back when you touch them or a toothpick can be inserted into the center and come out clean. Let them cool completely before frosting.
How to make strawberry buttercream frosting
- Beat the butter and powdered sugar until creamy: Use an electric mixer and really beat until the butter is smooth. Add in the powdered sugar, and beat again.
- Add the strawberries and vanilla: Be sure the strawberry puree has been reduced before adding or there will be too much liquid and the frosting will be too runny to hold its shape when piped onto the cupcakes.
- Frosting cupcakes: Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip and use to decorate the cupcakes. Finish each cupcake with half a sliced strawberry on top for a pretty presentation.
Do strawberry cupcakes need to be refrigerated?
Because these cupcakes and the buttercream frosting are both made with fresh strawberries, it’s probably best to keep them stored in the fridge in an airtight container. But I’ve left them at room temperature overnight and they are just fine for a day or two.
Can I make strawberry frosting with frozen strawberries?
If fresh strawberries aren’t available you can use frozen strawberries to make the strawberry puree that is used in both the cupcakes as well as the strawberry buttercream frosting. I recommend having them thawed a bit before pureeing to make it easier, but because of the added liquid and moisture, it might take a little longer to reduce them on the stove.
Tips for strawberry cupcakes
- Freezing: Most cupcakes freeze really well before you frost them and these strawberry cupcakes are no exception. I like to put them on a baking sheet to freeze first, then transfer them to a ziploc bag for longer storage up to 2 months.
- Doubling: I have doubled the recipe when I needed two dozen cupcakes, but that’s too many for just our family so I typically only make 12 at a time.
- Flavor variations: You may want to switch out the frosting for a different flavor to create an entirely new dessert. Cream cheese frosting would be excellent or try using my favorite chocolate buttercream frosting for a chocolate covered strawberry cupcake! Also, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of coconut or almond extract to the cake butter for another
More berry recipes you’ll love!
- Strawberry Pretzel Icebox Pie
- Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
- Raspberry Streusel Muffins
- Blackberry Lemonade
- Spring Salad with Strawberry Balsalmic Vinaigrette
- Raspberry Pretzel Salad
- Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake
- Homemade Strawberry Milk
- Blueberry Sour Cream Custard Pie
- Blackberry Turnovers
- Strawberry Pineapple Coconut Swirl Popsicles
- Cranberry Orange Pull Apart Monkey Bread
- 1/2 cup reduced strawberry puree (from 1 pound strawberries)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup salted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup diced strawberries
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup salted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons reduced strawberry puree
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- In food processor or blender, process 1 pound of strawberries with stems and hulls removed until pureed. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat the strawberry puree over medium heat. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until reduced by about 1/2. Cool completely in the fridge before proceeding.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the reduced strawberry puree, sugar, melted butter, oil, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla until combined.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring just until combined. Stir in finely diced strawberries.
- Divide the batter between 12-14 cupcake liners, filling only 2/3 full. Bake for 19-22 minutes or until the tops bounce back at a touch or a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting, beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and beat again. Add the reduced strawberry puree and vanilla, mixing again until combined. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip and use to decorate the cooled cupcakes. Garnish with a half a sliced strawberry, if desired.
- If you don't have cake flour on hand, you can substitute 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour sifted with 1/4 cup cornstarch instead.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 788Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 288mgCarbohydrates: 142gFiber: 1gSugar: 125gProtein: 3g