Homemade gifts are the best gifts. You know what I always say… butter him up with buttercream! What are you making your Valentine this year? I spent the afternoon perfecting these Vanilla Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Frosting. Dare I say this is the best cupcake I have ever created? Between crushed freeze-dried strawberries on top to the fresh strawberries in the frosting this sweet cake is perfect for your sweetie! This is one of my husbands favorite recipes I make, and I know you’ll love it too.
Cake is one of those things that tastes so much more fabulous when it is homemade. I know, I know… it takes time. But I am telling you it is totally worth it. This vanilla cake is perfection, it’s moist, buttery and has lots of vanilla flavor. And it’s really not that much more difficult than using a mix.
I’ve shared this frosting recipe before, and it is definitely one of my favorites. The recipe calls for a cup of fresh strawberries, which really enhances the flavor. There is nothing worse to me than that artificial strawberry flavoring. Again, there are a few more steps to making this frosting but again it is totally worth it.
For the cake:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 whole egg plus 1 egg white, at room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
For the frosting:
- 1 cup chopped strawberries
- 1 cup butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp strawberry jam
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, divided
- 1/2 crushed freeze-dried strawberries
For the cake:
- Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the egg and egg white one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in 2 additions, beating until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat just until no traces of flour remain, about 30 seconds; do not overbeat.
- Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake until the cupcakes are lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cupcakes to the rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
- Make the frosting while the cupcakes are cooling. Place chopped strawberries in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour strawberry puree into a saucepan and cook over medium/high heat. Bring to a boil and stir often until puree is reduced by half. This process should take about 15 minutes. Once reduced, remove from heat and allow to cool. Beat butter with an electric mixer on high in a bowl until it is light and fluffy. Slowly add one cup of powdered sugar and blend until combined. Beat the strawberry jam and vanilla into butter/sugar mixture until blended. Slowly mix in the strawberry puree until blended. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and blend until frosting is at desired consistency. Frost cupcakes and top with a white chocolate covered strawberry, and cover in crushed freeze-dried strawberries.