These strawberry cupcakes are “pretty in pink”. Moist and fluffy strawberry cupcakes made from strawberry reduction, swirled with a homemade strawberry buttercream frosting made with real strawberries for fresh strawberry flavor! If you love strawberries, these cupcakes are the perfect dessert!
Check out the swirl on these little beauties! Strawberry is a delicious dessert flavor for spring and summer.
These strawberry cupcakes are made with real strawberries! No strawberry extract in this recipe. The strawberry flavor in both the cupcakes and buttercream frosting come from strawberry reduction, which is cooked and pureed strawberries. The reduction has concentrated strawberry flavor which adds delicious fruity flavor to the cupcakes.
If you love this recipe, be sure to check out my recipe for strawberry cake with shortcut strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream frosting!
Ingredients for Strawberry Cupcakes
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Baking powder – Leavening agent to help the cupcakes rise.
- Salt – Adds a bit of contrast to the sweetness and enhances the flavor of the cupcakes.
- Egg whites – Room temperature. Just the whites! Save the yolks for Crème Brûlée!
- Vegetable oil – You can also use canola oil or another neutral baking oil.
- Sour cream – Room temperature.
- Vanilla extract – Pure vanilla extract adds some great floral flavor to the cupcakes.
- Strawberry reduction – Fresh strawberries or frozen strawberries cooked down and blended to create a concentrated strawberry reduction or strawberry puree. Check out my blog post on How to Make Strawberry Reduction!
- Pink gel food coloring – Optional. Helps enhance the pink color of the cupcakes.
Strawberry buttercream frosting
- Unsalted butter – Room temperature, softened butter for easy creaming.
- Powdered sugar – No need to sift unless there are lumps. Also known as confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar.
- Strawberry reduction – One recipe of strawberry reduction should be enough to make both the strawberry cupcakes and strawberry buttercream frosting. Don’t forget to check out the blog post to see how to make it!
- Vanilla extract – A bit of pure vanilla extract adds great flavor to the buttercream.
- Salt – A bit of salt contrasts the sweetness of the frosting.
- Heavy cream – Heavy cream helps the buttercream become smooth and creamy.
How to Make Strawberry Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Add in milk, vegetable oil, egg whites, sour cream, vanilla extract, and strawberry reduction to the flour mixture. Whisk until the ingredients are combined. Optional – Add a small drop of pink gel food coloring.
- Use a large cookie scoop to portion the cupcake batter into the paper liners about 3/4 full.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes until the cupcakes bounce back when gently touched or an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the cupcakes in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
How to Make Strawberry Buttercream
To make strawberry buttercream frosting, I recommend using a stand mixer for the best results. You can use a paddle attachment or a whisk attachment based on your personal preference. If you do not have a stand mixer, you can also use an electric hand mixer.
- Whip the room temperature butter for about 5 minutes until light, fluffy, and pale in color.
- Add in half of the powdered sugar and mix on the lowest speed until the sugar is combined with the butter. Then add the remaining powdered sugar and continue to mix on low speed.
- Add the room temperature or chilled strawberry reduction and continue to mix on low speed.
- Add the vanilla extract and salt and continue to mix on low until combined. Slowly drizzle in the heavy cream.
- Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and whip the buttercream for about 2-3 minutes.
Strawberry Cupcakes Recipe Tips
Bake perfect cupcakes
Check out my Baking Tips blog post on 10 Tips for Baking Perfect Cupcakes! In this post, I will teach you some simple ways to make your strawberry cupcakes the absolute best!
A couple things to keep in mind while making the cupcake batter. One, do not overmix the batter. Overmixing can cause the cupcakes to become tough and chewy. Whisk just until all the ingredients are combined. Two, any chilled ingredients should be at room temperature before adding to the cupcake batter to create a light and fluffy texture.
Strawberry reduction is the star ingredient in the cupcake and buttercream frosting! Check out my blog post on how to make strawberry reduction! It only requires one ingredient and is simple to make! You can even make it ahead of time! Basically, cook down strawberries and blend them into a puree using a food processor or immersion blender. For this recipe, you will only need one batch of strawberry reduction, which is the equivalent of 16 ounces of frozen strawberries.
Pink gel food coloring
Sometimes when baking, strawberries can dull in color and have a gray appearance. To counteract this, I recommend adding a small drop of pink gel food coloring to the cupcake batter. Just a tiny drop will do! You could also use red gel food coloring!
Decorating the cupcakes
To create the ruffle swirl of buttercream on the cupcakes, use a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M piping tip. To make the ruffles, pipe the buttercream and wiggle the piping tip in circular motions as you are creating an “ice cream swirl”. Check out this video to see how it’s done!
Storing and serving
The cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days! To serve, bring the cupcakes to room temperature by removing them from the refrigerator at least an hour before serving.
- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
- Cupcake pan/cupcake liners
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup milk room temperature
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp sour cream room temperature
- 2 egg whites room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup strawberry reduction *see blog post on how to make strawberry reduction
- drop of pink gel food coloring optional
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup strawberry reduction *see blog post on how to make strawberry reduction
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Add in milk, vegetable oil, sour cream, egg whites, vanilla extract, and strawberry reduction. Whisk until the ingredients are well combined. If desired, add a small drop of pink gel food coloring.
- Portion the cupcake batter into the cupcake liners using a large cookie scoop, filling the liners about ¾ full.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes until the cupcake tops bounce back when gently touched.
- Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, add in room temperature unsalted butter. Whip the butter for 5 minutes on medium-high speed, scraping down the sides occasionally. The butter will be light, fluffy, and pale in color.
- Add one half of the powdered sugar and mix on the lowest speed setting until fully combined. Add remaining powdered sugar and continue to mix on low until incorporated.
- Add in strawberry reduction and continue to mix on low speed.
- Add vanilla extract and salt and mix on low until combined.
- Increase speed to medium on the mixer and slowly drizzle in the heavy cream. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure the frosting is well mixed.
- Turn the speed on the mixer to high and whip for an additional 2-3 minutes until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
- Use a piping bag and your favorite piping tip to swirl the strawberry buttercream frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.