Slowly but surely I am getting my groove back. When the stars and babysitters align and I have a few moments without my arms full of baby, I am hoping that I can gradually get back to posting more recipes. (I really miss it and get so much inspiration this time of year!.) If you look back at my archives you’ll see that every Spring the strawberry recipes start trickling in and this year is no exception. I wait all winter long for when these delicious beauties come into season, (especially now because they are Hugo’s absolute favorite!)
These cupcakes pair a super tender and fluffy lemon cupcake with the most delicious strawberry/lemon cream cheese frosting. Unlike some strawberry frosting recipes that are watery from fresh berries that are too liquid-y to keep it thick, this uses my new favorite baking ingredient, freeze dried berries. Like I mentioned in this recipe, they are so awesome because you can crush them into a powder so they don’t contribute any liquid to the mix. (Which got me thinking they may also work to flavor macaron shells! I’ll have to experiment with that soon!) The freeze dried berries give the frosting a super strong strawberry flavor and with a touch of lemon as well, and the end result is really perfect.
I made these for a friend’s baby “sprinkle” over the weekend and everyone loved them. (I just recently learned of this concept- not quite a shower, but still a chance to celebrate a Mama to be, this one was so lovely.) The cupcakes are so springy and light, and I love how using the freeze dried fruit “powder,” gives a naturally vibrant frosting color. (I made a cake using raspberries and the frosting was almost fuschia- so cool!) In case you are wondering where to get this magical ingredient, I know they sell them at Trader Joes but I ordered them on Amazon.
Here’s to it really being strawberry season, and hopefully to many more recipes coming your way soon!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- Zest of 3 lemons, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1½-2 cups freeze dried strawberries, crushed into a coarse powder *
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- Strawberries for garnish.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Fill a cupcake tin with paper liners, set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla, zest, lemon juice and the eggs, one at a time beating in between each addition.
- Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk. Beat on low speed until just combined, making sure not to over-mix.
- Spoon the batter into the cupcake tins- filling ¾ of the way.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.
- Cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the strawberry "powder" and mix well, add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until well combined. Mix in the lemon juice and zest. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes until super fluffy.
- Spread or pipe frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Garnish with a fresh strawberry.
Cake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.