Strawberry cupcakes made with REAL strawberries and ZERO artificial flavor topped with white chocolate strawberry buttercream!
- 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
- Make the reduced strawberry puree and allow it to cool completely. See note for instruction.
- 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.
- Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Frost cooled cupcakes and serve. I used Wilton 8B piping tip and nestled a white chocolate covered strawberry in the center.
- Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- What to Do with Leftover Egg Yolks? Here are recipes using egg yolks.
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!