I asked Jordan what I should make for dessert and he replied, “cupcakes!”. I was secretly hoping he’d say cupcakes, because it had been far too long since I’d made any =). Back before residency (when I had more of a social life haha), I used to make cupcakes almost every week for “friend-time”. Ahh, friend-time…it’s the only thing I miss about medical school!
I’ve made a couple different strawberry cupcakes over the years, but as soon as we ate one of these Jordan and I declared this recipe by far the best! What makes these cupcakes special is the freeze-dried strawberries. It’s hard to add enough fresh strawberries (or strawberry puree) to the cupcake batter without destroying the texture. Who likes a gummy, heavy cupcake? Yeah, no one. Of course, you can always up the strawberry flavor with strawberry extract or strawberry jello, but by doing so you lose that fresh strawberry flavor and end up with more of a processed taste. Freeze dried strawberries are the perfect solution. Freeze drying removes the moisture while concentrating the strawberry flavor, making them perfect for adding flavor to baked goods. All you do is process the freeze dried fruit in a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder until you have a fine powder. I used the fruit powder in both the cupcakes and the frosting.
The cupcakes were light and fluffy – moist but definitely not gummy, and the cream cheese frosting was awesome too! Cream cheese frosting is not as stiff as buttercream anyway, so you can’t really add much fruit puree and still have pipeable frosting but you can add a lot of fruit powder =). I also added some buttermilk powder to help keep the frosting from being overly sweet. I really can’t say enough good things about these cupcakes. Jordan ate 5 or 6 in one day! I don’t know if they’re the best strawberry cupcakes ever, but they’re pretty amazing. You should definitely give them a try. Enjoy!
Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
for the cupcakes:
1-1/2 oz freeze dried strawberries
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/3 cups white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp strawberry extract
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners.
2. Grind strawberries into a fine powder using a coffee grinder, blender, or food processor. Whisk strawberry powder, all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.
3. Beat butter and sugar in bowl of stand mixer until light and fluffy. Mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in vanilla and strawberry extract.
4. Stir flour mixture alternately with the milk – starting and ending with flour mixture- into butter mixture until just incorporated. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups using a 3 tbsp scoop.
5. Bake in preheated oven until cupcakes spring back when gently touched with a fingertip or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 16 to 18 minutes.
*adapted from Allrecipes
for the frosting:
8 oz cream cheese (cold)
1 stick butter, slightly softened but still cool
4 cups powdered sugar
1 oz freeze-dried strawberries, ground into powder
1/3 cup buttermilk powder (dry)
1-1/2 tbsp fresh strawberry puree
1 tsp vanilla
1. Combine cream cheese and butter in bowl of stand mixer and beat with paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, buttermilk powder, and ground strawberries.
2. Beat in vanilla. Add puree 1/2 tbsp at a time until you read your desired consistency. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
*frosting, Kendra’s Treats original recipe