White Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

Adapted from vanilla cupcakes and strawberry cake, these white chocolate strawberry cupcakes combine creamy white chocolate, real strawberries, and fluffy cupcakes. Reduced strawberry puree and freeze-dried strawberries are the secrets to real strawberry flavor.

Delicious REAL STRAWBERRY cupcakes made from reduced strawberry puree. Pure strawberry, no artificial flavors. Topped with white chocolate strawberry frosting made from freeze-dried strawberries! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

From-scratch strawberry cake has left me defeated for 2 main reasons:

  1. The strawberry flavor is usually lackluster.
  2. The texture is too wet from the strawberries.

Strawberry cakes typically rely on artificial flavors. My goal was to produce a soft and moist strawberry cake made from real strawberries. I finally accomplished my baking goal with my strawberry cake. You tried the recipe and loved it too. After baking it in your own kitchen, you told me the cake is “unbelievable” and “phenomenal” and “as if someone had taken Breyers strawberry ice cream and put it into a cake.” 🙂

It’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever made and now it’s time to transform the recipe into cupcakes.

Delicious REAL STRAWBERRY cupcakes made from reduced strawberry puree. Pure strawberry, no artificial flavors. Topped with white chocolate strawberry frosting made from freeze-dried strawberries! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Delicious REAL STRAWBERRY cupcakes made from reduced strawberry puree. Pure strawberry, no artificial flavors. Topped with white chocolate strawberry frosting made from freeze-dried strawberries! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

To make the strawberry cupcakes extra special, top them with white chocolate strawberry frosting made from pure white chocolate and freeze-dried strawberries. I admit that the cupcakes don’t have a super strong strawberry flavor– you’ll taste it, but it’s truly brought out when paired with our strawberry frosting.

But before we get to the frosting, let’s walk through the cupcakes.

Reduced strawberry puree for strawberry cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Reduced Strawberry Puree is the Secret

The secret to packing real strawberry flavor into cake batter without adding too much liquid is to reduce the strawberries down. This little trick is a complete game changer and vastly improves both the flavor and texture of strawberry cake. Today we’re doing the same exact thing, but in cupcake form.

Grab fresh strawberries, puree them into a liquid, then reduce the puree down on the stove for about 20 minutes. Do you see the photo above? That is heavily concentrated pure strawberry flavor, about 1/4 cup of reduced strawberry puree. After making the strawberry cake, readers have said it’s helpful to make the reduced strawberry puree the night before so it has time to cool down.

As a refresher: If we added the strawberry puree without reducing it down first, it would completely ruin the texture of the cupcake and the strawberry flavor would be almost absent. Reducing it is the secret.

Strawberry cupcake batter on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to Make White Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

This recipe is adapted from my strawberry cake, vanilla cupcakes, and fresh strawberry cupcakes. The ingredients are carefully formulated; each serves a crucial purpose. For example, cake flour produces fluffy cupcakes, egg whites provide structure without weighing the crumb down, and sour cream adds moisture. Milk thins the batter, creamed butter and sugar create a buttery and cake-y base, and the reduced strawberry puree adds flavor.

Beat the strawberry cupcake batter together with a mixer. The cupcake batter is smooth, creamy, and moderately thick. The reduced strawberry puree tints it pale pastel pink. For a more vibrant color, I suggest adding a drop or 2 of pink or red food coloring. I added 1 drop of “dusty rose” gel food coloring.

Fill the cupcake liners only about 2/3 full to avoid overflowing.

Strawberry cupcakes made from real strawberries on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Strawberry cupcakes made from real strawberries on sallysbakingaddiction.com

White Chocolate Strawberry Frosting

White chocolate strawberry cupcakes require the best frosting! And if that frosting is as bubble gum pink as Barbie’s corvette… well, that’s even better! This white chocolate strawberry frosting is adapted from my plain strawberry frosting. It’s creamy, lush, and completely packed with real strawberry flavor. We’re using two special ingredients:

  1. Freeze-dried strawberries: Like strawberry cake, strawberry frosting used to leave me disappointed because (1) the strawberry frosting curdled from the added moisture and (2) no amount of fresh strawberries could get me the strawberry flavor I craved. The solution is freeze-dried strawberries. Grind them into a powder and use in place of some of the confectioners’ sugar. You can find freeze-dried strawberries at stores like Wegmans, Giant, Trader Joe’s, Target, and many other major grocery stores, too. Keep your eyes peeled because they’re more commonly found that you think.
  2. White chocolate: For an indulgently creamy and velvety strawberry buttercream, let’s add pure white chocolate. Grab a white chocolate baking bar from the baking aisle. Two, actually. Most are sold as 4 ounce bars and you’ll need 6 ounces for the frosting. (Hold onto the extra 2 ounces for garnish.) Chop up and melt down. Let it cool for a few minutes, then mix directly into the strawberry frosting.

Freeze-dried strawberries ground into powder

White chocolate for white chocolate frosting

Creamy strawberry white chocolate frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Remember the extra 2 ounces of white chocolate? Melt it down and coat some fresh strawberries for the perfect finishing touch to our white chocolate strawberry cupcakes. So beautiful, so simple, so strawberry!

White chocolate covered strawberries on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Delicious REAL STRAWBERRY cupcakes made from reduced strawberry puree. Pure strawberry, no artificial flavors. Topped with white chocolate strawberry frosting made from freeze-dried strawberries! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I used piping tip Wilton 8B for the frosting. Start in the center of the cupcake and swirl upward. Love this piping tip! Do you follow the Canadian bakery Jenna Rae Cakes on Instagram? I got the cupcake decoration inspiration from them!

This cupcake recipe definitely requires some effort, but the good news is that you can get started on almost everything ahead of time. And the great news is that the result of your hard work is pretty pink cupcakes!

Delicious REAL STRAWBERRY cupcakes made from reduced strawberry puree. Pure strawberry, no artificial flavors. Topped with white chocolate strawberry frosting made from freeze-dried strawberries! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

More Strawberry Recipes

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Delicious REAL STRAWBERRY cupcakes made from reduced strawberry puree. Pure strawberry, no artificial flavors. Topped with white chocolate strawberry frosting made from freeze-dried strawberries! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

White Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 14-15 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Strawberry cupcakes made with REAL strawberries and ZERO artificial flavor topped with white chocolate strawberry buttercream!


Ingredients

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (200g) cake flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup reduced strawberry puree (see note)*

White Chocolate Strawberry Frosting

  • 1 cup (10-12g) freeze-dried strawberries*
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups (240g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 ounces (170g) white chocolate, melted and slightly cooled (see note)*
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream, half-and-half, or milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • optional: fresh strawberries coated with 2 ounces melted white chocolate

Instructions

  1. Make the reduced strawberry puree and allow it to cool completely. See note for instruction.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2-3 liners – this recipe makes 14-15 cupcakes. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  4. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the egg whites on high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour and mix in the milk *just* until combined. Do not overmix. Whisk in 1/4 cup of reduced strawberry puree, making sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. Batter will be slightly thick.
  5. Pour/spoon the batter into the liners. Fill only 2/3 full to avoid baking over the sides. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 35 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature.
  6. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. Time saving tip: When the cupcakes are almost finished cooling, melt the white chocolate used for the frosting. You can melt it in a double boiler or use the microwave. I melt it in the microwave in 20 second increments, stopping and stirring after each. Let it cool down for 15 minutes before using in the frosting in the next step.
  7. Make the frosting: Using a blender or food processor, process the freeze-dried strawberries into a powdery crumb. You should have around 1/2 cup. Set aside. In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on high speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, strawberry powder, melted and cooled white chocolate, 2 Tablespoons heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt and beat on medium-high speed until combined and creamy. Add 2 more Tablespoons of heavy cream to slightly thin out, if desired. Taste, then add another pinch of salt if desired.
  8. Frost cooled cupcakes and serve. I used Wilton 8B piping tip and nestled a white chocolate covered strawberry in the center.
  9. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: I recommend making the reduced strawberry puree, as directed in the recipe note, 1 day ahead of time so it can cool down. Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Special Tools: Glass Mixing Bowls | Ninja Food Processor | Pyrex 2-cup Glass Measuring Cup | Americolor Pastel Gel Food Coloring | Cupcake Liners | Cupcake Pan | Wilton 8B Icing Tip | Icing Bags | Cooling Rack | Wooden Cake Stand
  3. Cake Flour: If you can’t get your hands on cake flour, you can make this homemade cake flour substitute. I suggest doing this twice, mixing it all up in 1 bowl then removing 1/4 cup since you need 1 and 3/4 cups in this recipe.
  4. Reduced Strawberry Puree: puree 1/2 lb of strawberries. You should have a little over 1/2 cup. Stirring occasionally, simmer the puree over low-medium heat for 20 minutes OR until you’re left with 1/4 cup or a little over 1/4 cup. Allow to cool completely before using in cake batter. It can be refrigerated to speed up the cooling process. I recommend making the reduced puree the day before so it has plenty of time to cool down. I cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. Use 1/4 cup in the cupcake. Discard any leftovers or spoon on ice cream/yogurt/add to smoothie. Readers have used thawed frozen strawberries with luck, but I personally have not tried it. I always use fresh. Report back if you try it!
  5. White Chocolate: For best taste and texture, I strongly recommend using pure white chocolate. It’s usually sold in 4 ounce bars in the baking aisle. I love Ghirardelli, Bakers, or Nestle brands. You only need 6 ounces for the frosting, but save the extra 2 ounces for coating fresh strawberries as garnish!
  6. Where to Buy Freeze-Dried Strawberries? I always find them in my regular grocery store in the dried fruit aisle. Wegmans, Giant, Trader Joe’s and Target carries them. Keep your eyes peeled– they’re more commonly found that you think! Do not use the chewy/gummy dried strawberries. You need FREEZE-dried strawberries which grind into a powder. If you can’t find them anywhere, just leave them out of the frosting and add another 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar.
  7. Food Coloring: If desired, add a drop or 2 of pink or red food coloring to brighten the color of the cupcakes and/or frosting. I added 1 drop of “dusty rose” gel food coloring to the cupcake batter and to the frosting.
  8. Why is Everything at Room Temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information.
  9. What to Do with Leftover Egg Yolks? Here are recipes using egg yolks.
  10. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

144 Comments

  1. Hi Sally,

    I made these cupcakes – they are delicious! I tried to be careful but I think I overmixed the batter, the cupcakes were tasty but a little dense…would overmixing do that? It was moist, but is the texture of these supposed to be a little dense? Or like cake mix type texture?

    Love your recipes!

    Thanks

    1. Hi Beth, They shouldn’t be very dense. Overmixing could be the culprit but take a look at this post I wrote last year that can help you troubleshoot: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2017/09/08/10-tips-for-baking-cupcakes/

  2. Hi Sally,
    I made these cupcakes and they are delicious. However, my cupcakes always flatten out once I take them out of the oven even though I only fill the cups 2/3 full. How do I get a more domed cupcake?

    1. Hi Jodie! My cupcakes are typically as well. But are yours flat and caved in? For cupcakes, you typically want a nice flat top for frosting. 🙂

  3. Does anyone have the nutritional information on these? I’d really like to know before I bake them to decide whether I want to split the recipe or not.

    1. Hi Kate, I’m unsure of the nutritional info of this recipe, but there are many great online calculators like this one: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  4. Made these for Labor Day lunch. I used raspberry instead of strawberry, needless to say they were a hit.
    Thank you Sally for another great recipe.

  5. Hi Sally!
    I have a couple of questions, could buttermilk be substituted for milk here? And how far in advance could I make the strawberry purée? Do you think it would be fine if I made it a few days before making the cupcakes?

    1. Hey Jennifer! Glad to help.
      1. Yes, you can use buttermilk.
      2. The strawberry puree is OK in the fridge, covered tightly, for a few days prior to using in the cake batter.

  6. I don’t normally comment, but my young 11 year old bakery used it recipe, and it was absolutely delicious. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

  7. I can’t wait to try these !!! One question – I’m not a fan of white chocolate …. any other recommendations? Could I just omit that ingredient? What would you suggest ?
    Thank you in advance !

    1. Hi Kelly! Instead, use my regular strawberry frosting: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2017/02/13/pistachio-cupcakes-with-creamy-strawberry-frosting/

  8. I love love this recipe! I have also tried the pistachio cupcake one as well! Brilliant.
    I am wondering could I use this recipe with mangoes instead of strawberries? I love mangoes and was wondeirng if doing the exact same thing with mangoes, work?

    Thank you so much for your help.

    1. Hi Joanna! I actually had a few readers make the strawberry cake with mangoes with big success, so I can’t see why it wouldn’t work nicely with the cupcakes– essentially the same recipe only halved. I haven’t personally tried it though! Let me know how it goes.

      1. Hi Sally,

        Thanks so much for replying. OK so I tried it. I used frozen mangos and reduce them down. Compared to the strawberries, the mangos I used, got stickier and burn a bit more easily than the strawberries.

        Nevertheless, I still used the reduction. The cupcakes texture was great (kudos to your recipe) but the flavour was lacking. Not sure if using fresh mangoes would have made a diference and/or maybe adding mango extract would boost the flavour.

        Guess it’s back to the drawing board ; ) or if mangoes are ever in season for you, hope you can create a cupcake recipe. ; )

        Thanks so much.

  9. Hey Sally, very nice! This recipe is just awesome, my daughter likes strawberries very much. I will make it for her.

    1. Hi Jessica! You can, but the flavor and texture of the cupcake will change. Let me know what you try! The reduced puree is the best method I’ve found for real strawberry flavor without changing the cake texture.

  10. Hi Sally.,
    No need to strain the purée before reducing it? Mine looks a little chunky and obviously seedy. I know your recipe is using it in the cake, so maybe it wouldn’t matter. I was going to use the purée in a frosting or mousse layer. Would you recommend straining it then? I guess what I’m asking is would you lose any flavor if it was strained. And if it wasn’t, would that make the texture of a mousse or filling “weird” (for lack of a better adjective!)? Thanks for your feedback!

    1. Hi Mary! Feel free to strain the reduced strawberry puree if you don’t want any of the seeds. Shouldn’t lose any flavor.

  11. Hey Sally! (love your name by the way)

    I was hoping to make these cupcakes with your champagne buttercream frosting for a birthday but they are allergic to strawberries. Do you think I could substitute the same amount of strawberries for raspberries? Or would I need to change the amount of them somehow?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Sally! Many readers have made these strawberry cupcakes and my strawberry cake with other fruits. You can definitely reduce down some raspberry puree instead. No need to change the amounts. Let me know what everyone thinks!

  12. Hi Sally! Will this frosting produce enough for your strawberry cake? I wanted to pair this frosting with the regular cake instead of cupcakes.

    Thanks!

  13. Hi sally,
    I always find your recipes just perfect and everything is justified and explained well, but I only have fresh strawberry how can I make the butter cream with fresh strawberries?

    1. Hi Nour, you can try to use some leftover strawberry reduced puree (get as much liquid out as possible). You can’t add too much without altering the consistency of the buttercream so the strawberry flavor won’t be a strong. You can also add a drop of strawberry extract if you are not trying to keep it all natural.

  14. Hi! I would love to bake these cupcakes as mini cupcakes. Any suggestions about temperature and baking time? Thanks!!

  15. Hey Sally! Your blog is my go-to spot for all things baking. I am known for making cupcakes but have started dabbling in cake making. Do you have general tips or rules of thumb to turn a cupcake recipe into a cake recipe (size pan, height to fill, cook time, etc.)? I know each recipe is unique due to the composition of the cake but any guidance would be appreciated!!!

    1. Hi Kristin! What a wonderful question and I’m so happy to help. Generally, a batch of 12 cupcakes translates nicely into 1 9-inch cake layer. You can pretty much turn any 12 cupcake recipe into a 2 layer cake by making the batter twice. (For best results, I don’t recommend doubling.) It’s ideal to fill cake pans only about halfway. 9-inch cake layers typically take around 20-22 minutes at 350F, but use a toothpick to test for doneness. I hope some of this is helpful!

  16. Hi Sally,
    I’m making the strawberry purée right now and it’s almost close to 40 minutes, but while the purée has reduced a bit, it hasn’t thickened much at all. I did purée quite fine – should I have kept the purée a bit chunky?

  17. I made the cardinal mistake of not having everything at room temp like we are told ALL THE TIME in your recipes! First off these were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! Seriously guys, these tasted like I bought them from the local bakery! But my mistake came when I don’t think my white choc was completely cooled AND my heavy cream was still slightly cold then adding them together to the icing made the choc seize up alittle and my frosting was lumpy. That bummed me out at first but honestly the taste is so good it wasn’t too bad, eating it with the cupcake it wasn’t noticeable. The frosting isn’t very sweet and at first I thought it wouldn’t work but once paired with the cupcake it was absolutely perfect! The exact yummy, cupcake goodness, combo! Thanks again for making me look like I know what I’m doing!

  18. I made these for Valentine’s Day and brought them into work. I had multiple people tell me it was the best cupcake they ever had. One person told me he never wanted the taste to leave his month. Thanks for all your awesome recipes. They are always a big hit wherever I bring them.

  19. I am a long time baker but never had much luck with cupcakes. Well thanks to this recipe I am now a huge cupcake fan. I just finished making these and had to comment. They are without a doubt one of the best desserts I have ever made! The combination of the strawberry cake and strawberry frosting brings these to another level. Just had to say thank you so much! Just one question… how do you stay so thin? I could have eaten the bowl of frosting alone! Definitely worthy of a 5 star restaurant! Many thanks and just love your recipes and stories.

    1. Lulu, I’m thrilled that you tried these and that you enjoyed them so much!! I can’t wait to hear what cupcakes you try next!

  20. These were delicious! I wish that I would have put 2 or 3 more drops food coloring, they weren’t super pink. Lovely, light flavor. I made the icing for the cake recipe.

  21. Hi Sally, I wanted to make your strawberry cake recipe, but wanted only one layer. I realized that this recipe is almost effectively halving the other one and am planning to make it. I just had a question about the weight of the cake flours. In your other recipe you have said 2.5 cups (250 gms meaning 100 gms per cup) whereas in this one you have said 1.75 cups (200 gms – meaning 114 gms per cup). I am slightly confused.

  22. Awesome recipe! Love the flavour! Made these for my son’s birthday though they were too pink for a boy ..lol! Fool proof recipe!

  23. I frosted some chocolate cupcakes with this incredible frosting and everyone wanted to know how I made the frosting taste like fresh strawberries! I went back to Trader Joe’s to buy more strawberries and discovered they also have freeze-dried raspberries. I think that would make a delicious frosting too but since raspberries are a bit more tart, do you think any adjustments would be needed? Thank you for this strawberry recipe!

    1. I think it would be delicious with raspberries also! You likely won’t need to change anything but frosting is such a forgiving recipe you can always make it and taste it and adjust at that point if you think it needs something else!

  24. Delicious! And recipe is successful in every way. Could try filling cupcakes with all-natural strawberry spread (less sugar than jam), but I decided in the end that that would be guilding the lily.

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