These Pink Strawberry Cupcakes Are Made with Real Fruit


A beautiful blushing pink hue, these strawberry cupcakes are studded with fresh berries and topped with a strawberry cream cheese frosting that's good enough to eat by the spoonful. A favorite among the boxed mixes, strawberry cupcakes are usually deep pink and soft, but without a berry in sight. Not with this , though—these cupcakes improve upon the childhood delight with real, ripe berries mixed right into the batter. A few drops of food coloring help achieve that pretty pink color, making it a perfect  for or even a fun birthday.

Is it better to make cupcakes with flour or milk?

Milk is most often the better choice for added moisture, but this recipe takes things step further by using buttermilk! Buttermilk is a secret weapon in baking and helps


rise. The acid in the buttermilk reacts with the baking powder and soda to make these cupcakes puff up to become fluffy and tender.

What is the best way to cut strawberries for cupcakes?

The strawberries are so easy to prepare for this recipe! No need to lug out a food processor for a perfect puree; these cupcakes look beautiful studded with little chunks of fruit. First, Then, cut off the green stems and slice the berries into ¼-inch chunks. Take ¾ cup of the berries and mash them with sugar and lemon juice with a fork or a potato masher. Then, fold in the remaining cut up fruit. This creates a vibrant and delicious juice that will make up part of the liquid in the cake.


The garnish is a vibrant, fresh strawberry half. Sometimes, nature is the prettiest decoration!

How do you make strawberry cupcakes from scratch?

The base of these cupcakes is an easy buttermilk cake. Make sure all dairy and eggs are at room temperature to ensure light and fluffy cakes! This recipe starts out by creaming the butter, sugar, and fragrant lemon zest until fluffy. Then, the eggs, vanilla, and macerated strawberries are beaten in. While the strawberries give the cake a gentle pink hue, this is also the time where food coloring can be added. The mixture may look broken, but will come together in the end.


After mixing in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, these cupcakes are ready to be scooped and baked. The frosting is a simple cream cheese frosting with sweet strawberry preserves beaten right in for a tangy, berry-filled frosting. Use strawberry preserves or jam here; fresh strawberries have too much liquid for a stable frosting.

Can you use frozen strawberries for strawberry cupcakes?

Frozen strawberries tend to hold more liquid than fresh ones do making them a little too unpredictable for a tender cake. Stick to fresh here; they’re so worth it!

What's the best way to store strawberry cupcakes?


Since these cupcakes are topped with cream cheese frosting, the frosted cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. However, for the best results, store the unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature, store the frosting separately in the fridge, and frost the cupcakes just before serving. Cake tends to dry out when refrigerated, so this option keeps both parts fresher.

1 1/2 c.

chopped fresh strawberries

1 3/4 c.

granulated sugar, divided

1 tbsp.

lemon juice

3 c.

cake flour

2 tsp.

baking powder

1/2 tsp.

baking soda

1/2 tsp.

kosher salt

1 c.

unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tsp.


lemon zest


large eggs, room temperature

2 tsp.

vanilla extract

1 to 2 drops red or pink food coloring (optional)

1/2 c.

whole buttermilk, room temperature

Fresh strawberries, to garnish


(8-oz.) package cream cheese, cubed and softened 

1/2 c.

unsalted butter, cubed and softened

5 c.

powdered sugar

1/4 c.

strawberry preserves

1 tsp.

vanilla extract

1 to 2 drops red or pink food coloring (optional)

Step  1 For the strawberry cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2, 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners.  Step  2 Place 3/4 cup of the chopped strawberries in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of sugar and the lemon juice. Gently mash the berries with a potato masher or a fork until they are almost smooth.


Fold in the remaining chopped berries. Step  3 In another medium bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Step  4 In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, lemon zest, and the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar over medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Beat in the vanilla, strawberry mixture, and the food coloring, if using. Step  5 Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in the 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour.


Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Step  6 Using a 2 1/4-inch wide scoop, drop a level, 1/3 cup scoop of batter into each lined muffin cup. Bake until the tops are golden and a wooden pick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Step  7 Allow the cupcakes to cool 5 minutes before removing from the pan to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely, at least 1 hour. Step  8 For the strawberry cream cheese frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese over medium speed until smooth. Add the butter and beat until well combined and creamy.


Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the confectioner’s sugar. Add the strawberry preserves, vanilla, and food coloring, if using. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute. Step  9 Spread or pipe the strawberry cream cheese frosting on top of the cupcakes and top with a halved strawberry. 

Caitlin Bensel


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