These fluffy strawberry cupcakes are filled with homemade strawberry puree and topped with sumptuous strawberry buttercream frosting - the perfect summer treat!
Nothing says summertime like fresh strawberries! There are a lot of strawberry cake recipes out there using box cake mix or artificial flavorings - but you know I love to use the real deal in my recipes where I can - so these fresh strawberry cupcakes are flavored entirely using real strawberries. We start by making an easy strawberry puree which will be used to flavor the sponge and the buttercream, and we’ll also use it to fill the cupcakes too - so every bite is bursting with fresh strawberry flavor!
I love using fresh fruit purees to flavor my bakes, I use this same method in my Strawberry Brownies, as well as my Strawberry Cake. Or if strawberry isn’t your jam (see what I did there?), you can try my delicious Raspberry Cupcakes instead, which use the same method.
These strawberry cupcakes are great for strawberry lovers, for Valentine's Day, or just as the perfect treat for summer.
- Strawberries - We want all that flavor to come from real strawberries. You can use fresh or frozen. I like to use fresh berries during strawberry season, and frozen the rest of the year for ultimate freshness and flavor.
- Sugar - Use extra fine white sugar (caster sugar in the UK). We want it to easily dissolve into the strawberry reduction. We’ll also use the same sugar in the cake batter for the cupcakes.
- Butter - Use unsalted butter and make sure it is at room temperature before beginning to bake.
- Eggs - Use large and always free range if you can.
- Flour - I like to use cake flour in these cupcakes to make them extra fluffy and soft, but you can also use all-purpose flour.
- Milk - It's best to use whole milk in baking, but other kinds of milk will still do the job.
- Oil - I usually use vegetable oil in my baking. You can also use sunflower oil or any kind of flavorless oil.
- Vanilla - You can use vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.
- Condensed Milk - If you want to make the strawberry Russian buttercream, you'll need some sweetened condensed milk. Make sure it's condensed milk and not evaporated milk - the cans look similar!
See recipe card for quantities.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This strawberry cupcake recipe gets all its flavor from REAL strawberries - no artificial flavors or extracts.
- There is delicious strawberry flavor in every element - the sponge, the frosting, and the delicious filling.
- The cupcakes are super fluffy and soft and the homemade strawberry filling is a wonderful fruity surprise center.
How to Make the Strawberry Puree
The main ingredient in every element of these homemade strawberry cupcakes is the strawberry puree. It only has two ingredients and is incredibly simple to make. I use this strawberry puree recipe all the time in my bakes, so I have an entire post dedicated to it if you'd like more information on making it.
- Start by placing the strawberries and sugar in a high-sided saucepan over medium-high heat. It's important to have high sides otherwise the strawberry reduction may splash everywhere as it boils. If you are using fresh strawberries, instead of frozen, add a small splash of water to the pan too. This is because the frozen strawberries naturally have more moisture in them which will prevent burning in the initial stages of cooking.
- Keep heating, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves and the strawberries start to break down. You can help the strawberries along with a potato masher if you like.
- Let the mixture boil, we are trying to reduce the moisture out of it to get as much powerful strawberry flavor as possible without adding too much liquid to the cupcake batter. Keep boiling until the mixture has thickened and looks slightly gelatinous. This could take anywhere from 10 - 20 minutes depending on your stovetop.
- Remove from the heat and let the strawberry reduction sit for 10 minutes.
- Put the strawberry reduction into a food processor or blender and blitz for a few seconds until smooth.
- If you would like a few lumps of strawberry in your filling and frosting, you can stop here. If you'd prefer a perfectly smooth and uniform strawberry coulis, pass the pureed strawberries through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl to remove any pieces of fiber or seeds.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let the strawberry puree cool completely before using in your cake batter.
How to Make the Strawberry Cupcakes
The base of this strawberry cupcakes recipe is actually the same as my go-to vanilla cupcakes recipe. It's a winning recipe that makes super tender cupcakes. We will add the fresh strawberry puree to this for extra flavor.
- Start by preheating your oven to 335°F / 170°C and lining a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- In a large bowl or a jug, lightly mix together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Set aside for now.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all the dry ingredients including the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Make sure the mixer is fitted with a paddle attachment, then turn the mixer on low speed.
- Add the butter to the dry ingredients, one small chunk at a time, as it is mixing on low speed. Let the butter incorporate for a few seconds in between additions.
- Once all the butter is added, the mixture should look like chunky breadcrumbs.
- Add the oil and strawberry puree, then turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for exactly two minutes. Set a timer as the timing of this step is important. If you mix for too long you will activate the gluten in the flour too much and the cupcakes won't be as soft and fluffy.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything has incorporated, then turn the mixer back on low and slowly drizzle in the egg, milk, and vanilla mixture. Mix on low just until combined and no more.
- The batter will be a pretty pink color, but this will fade as the cupcakes bake. If you want pink strawberry cupcakes, you can add a few drops of gel food coloring now.
- Divide the batter into the cupcake liners. I like to use a medium-sized ice cream scoop for this to ensure all the cupcakes are the same size.
- Bake for 18 minutes or until the cupcakes are slightly springy to the touch.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack immediately to cool.
How to Fill Cupcakes with Strawberry Filling
- Once the cupcakes and the strawberry coulis have completely cooled, you can fill your cupcakes!
- The easiest way to core out the center of a cupcake is with a cupcake corer, but if you don't have one you can also use a knife or a teaspoon. Core out the center of each of your unfrosted cupcakes to leave a nice little hole.
- Spoon 1 teaspoon of strawberry coulis into each cupcake. You can replace the little tops of the cupcakes if you want, or just eat them - it won't make a difference to the end result.
- That's it! The strawberry cupcakes are now filled and ready to be frosted!
How to Make the Strawberry Frosting
The frosting I chose for these cupcakes is a strawberry Russian Buttercream. I love Russian buttercream because it is really quick and easy to make and has the most luxurious glossy finish, it's also made with super simple ingredients. If you have a bit more time to put into the cupcakes, they would also go beautifully with a Strawberry Italian Meringue Buttercream. For more info on either of those frostings, check out the recipe posts I have on them.
- Make sure the butter is completely at room temperature. Add it to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on high speed for a full 5 minutes.
- Turn the mixer down to medium speed and start very slowly drizzling in the condensed milk, you don't want to add too much at a time or it won't emulsify. Keep pouring and mixing until it is all incorporated, then turn the mixer back up to high speed and whip for 1 minute.
- After a minute, the frosting should be thick and glossy. If it isn't, see my Russian Buttercream post for troubleshooting.
- Add the vanilla and strawberry puree - add more or less strawberry puree according to how strong you want the strawberry flavor to be. Whip for another minute so it's totally incorporated.
- Pipe or spread your beautiful strawberry buttercream on top of the cupcakes and enjoy! To achieve the look I had in the pictures, I used a piping bag and an open star tip.
- I like to finish off with the super simple decoration of a whole strawberry on top.
Different Frosting - I chose Russian Buttercream for these strawberry cupcakes because it's quick and easy to make, for a slightly more elegant frosting, try my Italian Meringue Meringue Buttercream mixed with strawberry coulis.
Easier Option - If you don't want to make your own strawberry puree, you could use a seedless strawberry jam - however this is likely to be a lot sweeter and won't have quite as strong a strawberry flavor. Personally, I think it's well worth the extra step!
- Cupcake Pan - You'll need a muffin pan to make these cupcakes in. If you want to bake the whole batch at once you'll need two pans, as this recipe makes 24 cupcakes. If you only have one though it's fine to bake in batches.
- High-sided Saucepan - It's best to use a saucepan with high sides for making the strawberry puree as it can spit it a little as it boils and make a bit mess.
- Stand Mixer - You could technically use a handheld electric mixer for this recipe, but I find it's much easier with a stand mixer as there is a lot of 'pouring and mixing' at the same time. You'll need a paddle attachment for the cupcakes and a whisk attachment for the frosting.
- Cupcake Corer - You can core out the center of your cupcakes with a knife or spoon, but is way easier and faster with a cupcake corer!
- Food Processor - In order to make the strawberry puree nice and smooth, you'll need a food processor or a blender.
I find the best way to store cupcakes is actually in a cardboard cake box if you have one. An airtight container will keep the cakes super fresh, but I often find it can cause the paper liners to peel away from the cakes overnight.
If you are storing in an airtight container, make sure you line the container with some paper towels to absorb any excess moisture.
Either way, store your cupcakes at room temperature, and not in the fridge. Your tender strawberry cupcakes will be good like this for 2-3 days.
For best results, I always recommend weighing your ingredients with a scale rather than using cup measures. It's very difficult to get accurate measurements with cups, a scale is much more accurate and will give more consistent results.
More Strawberry Dessert Recipes
Looking for more inspiration for using all those delicious strawberries?
Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Filling
For the Strawberry Puree
- 32 oz strawberries 900g (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup White Sugar 200g
For the Strawberry Cupcakes
- ¾ cup Milk 177g
- ¼ cup Vegetable Oil 72g
- 3 Eggs
- 2.5 cups Cake Flour 312g
- 1 ¾ cups White Sugar 350g
- 1 ½ tablespoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla
- 2 sticks Butter 227g (room temperature)
- ¾ cup Strawberry Puree as made above
- 4 sticks Butter 454g
- 2 cans Condensed Milk 792g (2 x 14 oz cans)
- ¾ cup Strawberry Puree to taste
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
Make the Strawberry Puree
- Place the strawberries and sugar in a high-sided saucepan over medium-high heat. If your strawberries are fresh rather than frozen, add a splash of water to the pan too.32 oz strawberries, 1 cup White Sugar
- Stir occasionally while the strawberries break down and the sugar dissolves. You can use a potato masher to help the strawberries along if you like.
- Let the strawberry mixture boil until it thickens and looks slightly gelatinous.
- Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a blender or food processer and blitz until smooth.
- If you want super smooth strawberry coulis with no bits of fibre, pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve. If you'd like some small chunks of strawberry then you can leave it as is.
- Cover in plastic wrap and let cool completely before using.
- I have a full recipe post about how to make strawberry puree if you'd like more detials.
Make the Strawberry Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 335°F / 170°C and line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- Mix the milk with the eggs and vanilla. Whisk together lightly and set aside.¾ cup Milk, 3 Eggs, 1 tablespoon Vanilla
- Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl of your mixer and turn on low with your paddle attachment.1 cup White Sugar, 2.5 cups Cake Flour, 1 ½ tablespoon Baking Powder, ½ teaspoon Salt
- Slowly add the butter, one small chunk at a time. Once it's all in it should look kind of like chunky breadcrumbs.2 sticks Butter
- Add the oil and strawberry puree and slowly turn your mixer up to a medium speed. Beat for exactly two minutes.¼ cup Vegetable Oil, ¾ cup Strawberry Puree
- Scrape the sides of your bowl to make sure there are no lumps, then turn the. mixer back on low.
- Add the milk/egg mixture slowly and mix on low until just combined.
- Divide the batter into your cupcake liners and bake for 18 minutes or until slightly springy to the touch.
- Let sit for five minutes in the muffin pan and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Make the Strawberry Russian Buttercream
- 4 sticks Butter
- Turn the mixer down to medium speed and slowly drizzle in the condensed milk as it mixes.2 cans Condensed Milk
- Once all the condensed milk is added, turn the mixer up to high speed for 1 minute. The frosting should be thick and glossy.¾ cup Milk
- Add vanilla and strawberry puree and whip for another minute.¾ cup Strawberry Puree, 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- For more in depth info about this frosting - read my Russian Buttercream recipe post.
Assemble Strawberry Cupcakes
- Once cupcakes have completely cooled, use a cupcake corer or spoon to core out the middle of the cupcakes.
- Fill each cupcake with 1 teaspoon of strawberry coulis. You can either put the 'tops' back in the middle or just eat them - it doesn't make a difference.
- Frost the cupcakes with the strawberry buttercream - you can pipe the frosting on or spread it on with a palette knife.