These strawberry cupcakes are soft, light, and packed with plenty of flavor from the easy homemade strawberry sauce. The strawberry mascarpone frosting is so delicious and perfect for topping the cupcakes!
If you love cupcakes made with fresh fruit flavors, then you have to try these strawberry cupcakes! The cupcakes are perfectly moist, light, and fluffy, and the homemade strawberry sauce adds so much pure strawberry flavor in every bite! The sauce can be made with fresh or frozen strawberries, so it's easy to make no matter what's in season.
How to Make Strawberry Cupcakes:
Homemade Strawberry Sauce:
- Strawberries: 8 oz. (about 2 cups) fresh or frozen strawberries, sliced. No need to thaw if using frozen.
- Sugar: Helps thicken the sauce and brings out the natural sweetness in the strawberries.
- Water + Cornstarch: For a thicker sauce.
- Lemon juice: Fresh-squeezed lemon juice brightens the flavor of the sauce and acts as a natural preservative.
- Add the strawberries and granulated sugar to a small pot. Place over medium heat, cook, and stir with a wooden spoon until the strawberries start to release their juices.
- In a small bowl, whisk the water, cornstarch, and fresh-squeezed lemon juice and add it to the pot with the strawberries.
- Bring to a boil, cook, and stir, mashing the strawberries with a wooden spoon as you do, until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and strain the sauce through a sieve and into a bowl. Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to press as much of the sauce through the sieve as you can and use a spoon to scrape the strained sauce from the other side of the sieve and into the bowl.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep the sauce in the fridge until ready to use. The sauce is going to be added to the cupcake batter and also used for making the strawberry frosting.
Strawberry Cupcake Ingredients:
- All-purpose flour: Measure correctly. Lightly spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level it off with the flat side of a knife.
- Baking powder and baking soda: Leaveners that cause the cupcakes to rise nice and high during baking.
- Salt: ½ teaspoon is perfect for bringing out the strawberry flavor.
- Butter: Unsalted and softened to room temperature.
- If all you have is salted butter reduce the added salt to ¼ teaspoon.
- Granulated sugar: Creaming the butter with granulated sugar whips air into the butter and helps make the cupcakes light and fluffy!
- Eggs: Room temperature. Leave them out at room temperature for 1 hour, or just place them in a bowl of lukewarm water for about 5 minutes.
- Strawberry extract: A little strawberry extract ensures these cupcakes have plenty of strawberry flavor. You can substitute it with vanilla extract, but the strawberry flavor won't be as strong.
- Sour cream: Sour cream is perfect for adding moisture to cupcakes without making the batter too runny. Always use full-fat sour cream for the best results.
- Whole milk: For adding moisture. Don't use lower-fat milk or the cupcake batter will be too thin.
- Strawberry sauce: ¼ cup of the homemade strawberry sauce is used in the cupcake batter. Save the rest for making the strawberry mascarpone frosting.
Make the Cupcakes:
Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. Lightly spray the inside of each liner with non-stick spray so the cupcakes don't stick (optional).
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside
In a large bowl, use a hand-held mixer to beat the room temperature butter until soft and creamy, then add the granulated sugar and beat until well combined, light, and fluffy. Add the room temperature eggs, one at a time, and mix until just combined after each. Add the strawberry extract, sour cream, whole milk, and ¼ cup of the homemade strawberry sauce. Mix until combined and smooth, scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined and smooth.
Scoop the batter evenly into the cupcake liners, filling each liner about ⅔ of the way full. Bake the cupcakes for 16-17 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes in the pan, then remove them from the pan and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Strawberry Mascarpone Frosting:
- Mascarpone Cheese: Mascarpone cheese is a fancy Italian-style cream cheese. It has a higher fat content and a much milder, creamy flavor than American cream cheese.
- Butter: ½ cup (1 stick), unsalted, and softened to room temperature. Use salted butter if you prefer a saltier frosting.
- Powdered sugar
- Strawberry sauce: 2 tablespoons of the homemade strawberry sauce.
- Gel food coloring (optional): The strawberry sauce will make the frosting a very light pink color. If you want it to be a deeper color you can add a small amount of gel red food coloring. Don't use liquid food coloring or the frosting can become too thin.
Make the frosting: In a large bowl, use a hand-held electric mixer to beat the softened butter and the mascarpone cheese until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar, a little bit at a time, and mix on low speed until mostly combined. Add in the strawberry sauce, and gel coloring (if using), and mix until evenly combined, smooth, and creamy.
If the frosting is too soft you can add a little more powdered sugar, or if it's too thick you can add a little more strawberry sauce. You want the frosting to be soft enough that it pipes smoothly and easily, but firm enough that it holds its shape.
How to Frost Cupcakes:
To pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes you'll need a piping bag and an extra-large piping tip. For these strawberry cupcakes, I used a Wilton 2D tip.
To fill the piping bag with frosting: Place the piping bag with the tip side down inside a tall glass. Fold the edges of the piping bag around the outside of the glass and then use a rubber spatula to press the frosting down into the bag. Only add enough to fill the bag about halfway. Pull the edges of the bag up and around the frosting, then squeeze the bag to push the frosting down towards the tip and get rid of any pockets of air.
For a classic swirl-frosted cupcake: Start in the center of the cupcake, then work your way around the outside and back towards the center, building up layers of frosting as you go. Finish with a peak of frosting in the center and add sprinkles or chopped strawberries for decoration.
How to Store & Freeze Cupcakes:
Frosted cupcakes taste best within 1-2 days after they're made and stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To freeze the cupcakes (unfrosted): Once the cupcakes have cooled, arrange them on a baking pan in a single layer and set the pan in the freezer for 1 hour or until the cupcakes are pretty solid. Add them to a large plastic bag and keep frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and frost as desired.
To freeze cupcake batter: Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and add the cupcake batter to the liners. Set the muffin pan flat in the freezer until the batter is completely frozen. Remove the batter-filled liners from the pan and add them to a large plastic bag. Keep frozen for up to 3 months. When you're ready to bake the cupcakes, add the batter-filled liners to the muffin pan and bake in a 350°F oven, a few minutes longer than the normal bake time, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
More Cupcake Recipes:
Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Mascarpone Frosting
- 8 oz. (about 2 cups) sliced strawberries, fresh or frozen
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp. water
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter*, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature*
- 1 tsp. strawberry extract
- ½ cup full-fat sour cream
- ¼ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup strawberry sauce (save the rest for making the frosting)
Strawberry Mascarpone Frosting:
- 8 oz. mascarpone cheese*
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp. strawberry sauce
- gel red food coloring, optional
Make the Strawberry Sauce:
- Add the sliced strawberries and granulated sugar to a small pot and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the strawberries begin to soften and release their juices.
- Whisk the water, cornstarch, and fresh-squeezed lemon juice in a small bowl and add it to the pot with the strawberries. Cook and stir, mashing the strawberries as you do. Bring the liquid to a boil and continue to cook and stir until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and strain the sauce through a sieve and into a small bowl. Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to press as much of the liquid through the sieve as you can, and scrape the strained sauce off of the opposite side of the sieve and into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge until ready to use (up to 3 days).
Make the Cupcakes:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, use a hand-held mixer to beat the softened butter until smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and beat with the butter until well combined, light, and fluffy. Mix in the room temperature eggs, one at a time, until just combined after each. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the strawberry extract, full-fat sour cream, whole milk, and ¼ cup strawberry sauce and mix until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined and smooth.
- Scoop the batter evenly into the cupcake liners, filling each ⅔ of the way full. Bake for 16-17 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool slightly in the pan, then cool completely in the fridge before frosting.
Make the Strawberry Mascarpone Frosting:
- In a large bowl, use a hand-held mixer to beat the softened butter and mascarpone cheese until smooth. Add the powdered sugar in 3 additions, mixing on low until just combined after each. Add the strawberry sauce and gel food coloring (if using) and mix until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
- If the frosting is too thin add ¼ cup more powdered sugar until it reaches the right consistency. If it's too thick add a little more of the strawberry sauce (or cream) until it's the right consistency. If it's too sweet you can add a pinch of salt (no more than ¼ teaspoon).
- Add the frosting to a piping bag with an extra large piping tip (I used a Wilton 2D tip). Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles or a sliced strawberry.
- Store the frosted cupcakes in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- Calories: 246 Total Fat: 10.9g Saturated Fat: 6.5g Cholesterol: 56 mg Sodium: 126 mg Carbohydrates: 35.4g Sugar: 22.2g Protein: 3.3g
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