Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Naturally coloured and flavoured strawberry buttercream made with freeze-dried strawberries. Your summer isn’t complete without a taste of these cupcakes! 

Recipe originally shared July 2015, updated June 2017. 

Fruit based buttercream is a summer favourite of mine and the yummy addition of freeze-dried strawberries creates the beautiful pink colour in this buttercream recipe I’m sharing with you. I’m personally not really into unnaturally coloured foods so often when I want to make a buttercream that’s coloured, I’d rather look for alternative ways of naturally colouring mine.

This recipe is based on a classic buttercream recipe except freeze-dried strawberries are ground to fine powder in a food processor and then the strawberry powder is incorporated into the buttercream. Incorporating freeze-dried strawberries into buttercream adds amazing natural strawberry flavour and it also tints the buttercream a faint pink colour.

To allow this strawberry buttercream to be the star of show I sat it atop a basic vanilla cupcake. Strawberry and vanilla happen to be my two favourite flavours, so combing the two had to happen sometime! My vanilla cupcake recipe is easy to make as it doesn’t require any out of the ordinary ingredients such as buttermilk or yoghurt, which are ingredients you might not happen to have in your kitchen. This vanilla cupcake recipe however uses your everyday baking store cupboard essentials such as butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour.

You might be wondering about why I choose to use freeze-dried opposed to fresh strawberries? Fresh fruit is great to use in some buttercream recipes, but strawberries in particular have a high water content so using fresh could produce a runny buttercream that’s impossible to pipe. The fruit and moisture levels are more concentrated in freeze-dried fruit compared to fresh, so when following this recipe you won’t have to be concerned that your buttercream will curdle or won’t be able to be piped.

What better way to celebrate summer and the strawberry season than with these cupcakes! They’ll be a hit at summer picnics, parties or barbecues or even served as part of an al fresco afternoon tea.

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Vanilla Cupcakes:

150g (2/3 cup) butter, softened

150g (3/4 cup) caster or granulated sugar

3 medium or large free range eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

150g (1 and 1/4 cups) self-raising flour, sifted – you can sub with 150g plain flour plus 2 teaspoons baking powder

Strawberry Buttercream: 

170g (3/4 cup) butter, at room temperature

12g (1 cup) freeze-dried strawberries

2 tablespoons double cream (heavy cream), chilled

230g (2 cups) icing sugar, sifted

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C Fan / 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a cupcake tin with 12 paper cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. To make the cupcakes: Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one along with the vanilla and mix to combine. Using a spatula or large metal spoon, gently fold in the flour and mix until just combined and no lumps of flour remain. Be gentle and try to not over mix the batter.
  3.  Now evenly distribute the cupcake batter among the cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes until the cupcakes are a light golden colour and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then remove from the tin and transport the cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  4. To make the buttercream: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter on a medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and using a spatula scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, continue to mix the butter for a further 3 minutes until it’s creamy and pale. In a food processor pulverise the freeze-dried strawberries until finely ground (wait for a moment to allow the air in the powder to settle). Add the strawberry powder to the creamed butter and stir through until combined. Now add the cream along with the icing sugar and again mix until incorporated. Whip the buttercream on medium speed for an additional 2 minutes, then stop the mixer and scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl and continue to mix for another 2 minutes.
  5. Fit a large disposable piping bag with a piping tip. Fill the piping bag with the buttercream and decorate the cupcakes as desired.

Recipe Notes:

  • Butter will need to be at room temperature for both the cupcake and buttercream recipes. Take butter out from the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for an hour. You’ll know your butter is ready to start baking with if when you press your finger gently into the butter it leaves an indentation. Either salted or unsalted butter can be used, typically I always use unsalted, but this time I used salted and it worked just as well.
  • Please note humidity can affect the outcome of your buttercream. The best way of avoiding your buttercream curdling is making sure your butter isn’t too soft (follow my tip above when softening butter).
  • Freeze-dried fruit can usually be located down the baking aisle of most supermarkets or sometimes, they can also be found in some specialist bakeware shops, but if you’ve had no luck looking in store you can order over the internet.
  • If you don’t own a food processor you can crush the freeze-dried strawberries in a resealable bag using a rolling pin until they’ve reached a fine powdery consistency.
  • Cupcakes will store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If it’s humid where you live I’d recommend storing these cupcakes in the fridge and when ready to serve take the number of desired cupcakes out and allow them to sit a room temperature for a few minutes.

Enjoy!

jess

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Vanilla Sponge Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream – Laura Ashley Blog Feature

I’m featuring these cute cupcakes over at the Laura Ashley blog! They’re perfect for Easter, kids will have so much fun baking them and decorating with all the chocolate and sweets!

cupcakes laura ashley feature

I’m so happy to be working with the Laura Ashley blog again. It’s such a beautiful and luxurious British company and I’m a frequent buyer of their products. These cute cupcake cases and bunny ear toppers are so perfect for any Easter celebration.

I decided to keep the recipe simple and share a classic sponge cupcake. They’re light, super buttery and this recipe never lets me down – I’ve been making these sponge cakes since I was tiny with my mum so it’s a recipe that’s very close to me. I’ve topped each cupcake with a swirl of the most divine white chocolate buttercream. These cupcakes are always a massive hit with anyone who tries one – they always go down a storm with my taste testers! I will definitely be making these again and again over Easter!  They would also make a brilliant tasty addition to an Easter-inspired afternoon tea party!

easter egg 1

As well as baking with the cute cupcake cases and bunny ear toppers I also received some gorgeously delicious Easter mini chocolate eggs. They’re extremely tasty too and would be great to decorate and top each cupcake with! I really love the cupcake stand from the Laura Ashley blog too – it’s pretty and the perfect reminder of springtime!

Makes 10-12 cupcakes –

Vanilla Sponge Cupcakes –

150g of unsalted butter, softened

150g of sugar – you can light brown or granulated/caster

1 tsp of vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste

3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

150g of self-raising flour, sifted

2-4 tbsp of water or milk, enough to loosen the cake batter

White Chocolate Buttercream –

150g of unsalted butter, must be really softened

250-300g of icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp of vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste

150g of white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly  

2-3 tbsp of milk or double cream

Decoration –

Bunny easter cupcake cases and ear toppers, to bake and decorate with

White chocolate chips or curls

Mini chocolate easter eggs

Method –

1. To make the cupcakes: Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C Fan / 200 degrees C / 400 F / Gas mark 6. Line your cupcake tin with the paper liners and set aside.

2. In a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes (a lot of elbow grease!). Then beat in the eggs one by one. Add the flour and fold in gently to combine fully. Loosen the batter with water or milk and then evenly distribute into the cupcake cases. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean of any uncooked batter. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove and leave to cool on a wire rack.

3. For the white chocolate buttercream: In stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter, icing sugar together – starting on low speed until it’s just combined. Then gradually turn the speed up and cream for a further 5-7 minutes until light and extremely creamy. Add the melted and now cooled white chocolate along with the milk or cream and beat until smooth for another few seconds.

4. To decorate: Fit a piping bag with your favourite nozzle – I used my favourite Wilton large star tip. Fill the piping bag with your buttercream. Pipe swirls onto the top of each cupcake, then finish decorating with easter chocolate or sprinkles you like!

easter cupcakes pretty

easter cupcake la recipe

la bits n bobs for baking

(Photo from lauraashley.com) Buy some of these baking goodies and try these delicious cupcakes just in time for Easter! 

Enjoy the recipe everyone! Wishing you all a beautiful Easter and brilliant weekend!

jess