Celebrate the arrival of Valentine’s Day with these refreshingly delightful strawberry cupcakes. Toss the boxed cake mix aside – it’s full of Red No. 6 and other artificial ingredients. Fresh strawberries and lemon zest combine here to make the most light and decadent strawberry cake with a lovely natural pink color. Making cake from scratch may seem daunting but this recipe is fairly simple and contains few ingredients.
I had handfuls of organic strawberries in my freezer from last summer’s harvest. Now they make their second debut for Valentine’s Day and the coming spring (please arrive!). I hope you will be inspired to make these or any treat with love and joy. Share them with all the special ones in your life (pets included). Don’t forget to indulge a little yourself.
2 cups pureed fresh strawberries
2 tbsp strawberry jam
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp fresh lemon zest, grated
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
3 cups cake flour*
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
5 egg whites, room temperature
*Cake flour is a low protein flour that is made from soft winter wheat. Its fine texture allows for a very tender cake. It can be found in your local grocery store in the baking section. You can also substitute all purpose flour by using 1 cup of all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons for each cup of cake flour.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup (8 oz) heavy cream, whipped to medium peaks
3 ounces (reduced-fat) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla or strawberry extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Piping bags and jumbo piping tip, optional
Candies for decorating, optional
For The Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin pans (12 count) with cupcake liners. Set aside.
Slice strawberries and place them in a food processor or blender.
Pulse gently and add the strawberry jam.
Continue to pulse until the strawberries are a chunky puree. You should have about 2 cups.
Scrape the sides of the mixer as needed.
In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter at medium speed until light and fluffy.
I happened to have an assistant at this stage.
Add the vanilla extract, pureed strawberries, lemon zest, and sour cream.
Beat gently on low/stir speed until just combined.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, just until combined.
In a separate mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites the until medium-stiff peaks form.
About 3-5 minutes.
Gently fold the egg whites into the batter using a flat spatula.
Pour batter 1/3rd of the way full into the prepared muffin pans.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes then place them on a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
For The Frosting
In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream on high speed until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until needed.
About 5 minutes.
In a separate standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth.
Turning the speed to low, beat in the sifted confectioners’ sugar, then vanilla.
The consistency should appear thick and creamy.
Gently fold the whipped cream into the mixture.
Spread or pipe onto cupcakes. Garnish with candies or fresh strawberries. Enjoy!
Don’t forget to reward anyone who helped!