As if cupcakes on their own aren’t spectacular, these cupcakes in particular were really something. I had aimed to work strawberry flavors into every element of this cupcake, as if the title of this post didn’t already convey that. Strawberry cupcake? Check. Strawberry cream-cheese frosting? Check. Strawberry Rhubarb jam filling? Check. Awesome? Yes.
With all of this strawberry action at once, you might be surprised, but the result wasn’t just getting hit in the face with strawberry. It actually worked quite harmoniously and each component kind of showcased a different side of strawberry: the cake was subtle, sweet, and floral, whereas the frosting was rich, creamy, and really a much more vibrant punch of strawberry. This is all in contrast to the strawberry rhubarb jam piped inside the cupcake. Oh, and funny thing, the only reason I thought of these cupcakes? I was shocked by how much jam I had made and thought I needed to get to work and use it, lol!
Like I’ve said, flavor-wise, these cupcakes were awesome. Combined with the fact that I made them a little on the large side (something I am not all sorry about! Am I the only one who makes cupcakes that still have that “muffin top?”), these cupcakes were a real force to be reckoned with.
- Cupcake batter
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup strawberry puree
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 whole stick butter
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4-3/4 cup Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
- Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 8oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups powdered (confectioner’s, not just finely granulated) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup strawberry puree
Making the cupcake batter is very similar to making blueberry muffins (or really, are my blueberry muffins more like making cupcakes? 😮 ).
Begin by sifting the flour, baking powder, and baking soda into a bowl, and then mix salt into that. Set this aside.
Now, hull, puree, and strain the strawberries to yield about 3/4 cup of puree. This took me around a dozen strawberries, but since size varies greatly, you’ll have to measure the resulting puree. Discard the seeds and any other solids remaining in the strainer.
Set 1/4 cup aside for the frosting and mix the remaining 1/2 cup strawberry puree in a bowl with the buttermilk.
So with the dry bowl and the buttermilk/strawberry bowl waiting, time to dirty up one more bowl. Head on over to your stand mixer and preheat your oven to 325°F while you’re at it.
Cream the butter and add in the sugar, mixing until the sugar has dissolved into the butter. Then, add in the eggs one at a time, mixing until fully integrated before moving on to the next one, and then finally, mix in the vanilla.
At this point, you want to bring it all together. Add a third of the dry mix into the butter bowl and mix just until fully incorporated. Then add a third of the buttermilk/strawberry bowl, mixing until incorporated. Repeat until done and you have a very sexy looking cupcake batter.
So with the batter ready, pour it into paper linings in a muffin pan. If you don’t want monster cupcakes like I make, fill the linings with less batter than you see here. 😉
Transfer this to the oven, and after 10 minutes, keep an eye on things so the cupcakes don’t overcook. Expect this to take around 20-25 minutes total.
Once the cupcakes are done, give them a little time to cool and get them out of the pan. If you have a pastry bag, this step will be a lot easier. If not, you can cut a small corner off of a plastic bag and use a knife to puncture and twist a hole to pipe into (its less than ideal, but it’ll work!). Fill your bag with 1/4 cup of jam–I used somewhere around 1/2 cup of jam total in the end, but I honestly lost track (add more as you need).
However you choose to do it, come in from the top. Just get in as deep into the cupcake stump as you can while making as discrete a puncture as you can and then squeeze in the jam. The cupcake might visibly plump a bit and you should slowly back out, ultimately filling all the way up to where you first came in. Don’t worry if you see a hole or any jam on top–we’ll deal with it later.
So finally, the last step: the frosting! Joy the Baker has some great tips for making a successful cream cheese frosting which is a good read for anybody making their first frosting. The first step: let the cream cheese sit at room temperature for a few (say 2) hours. The next: let the butter also sit at room temperature for about an hour. Hard work so far, right?
Begin by beating the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer, creaming it for about one minute. Add the butter to this and cream this into the creamed cream cheese for an additional minute or two. Finally, add the salt, vanilla extract, and strawberry puree, mixing briefly to incorporate, and last of all, the sugar. Mix this until entirely incorporated into the frosting. If you don’t use confectioner’s sugar, it will still taste delicious, but texture-wise, the frosting will have a gritty/grainy feel, so you won’t manage to fully mix it all together. Chalk it up to experience, throw away (as in eat all of) the evidence, and try again another day, right?
At this point, the frosting is done, and you can frost the cupcakes now, or, to make life easier, chill this for 30 minutes or so to thicken it up a bit before you go to the trouble of spreading the frosting atop each of your cupcakes. Once you do, give them a little fridge time so that the frosting firms up some more.