Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting


Learn how to make strawberry cupcakes from scratch without using strawberry Jello. Top it off with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting.

Strawberry Cupcakes from scratch without strawberry Jello

Do you listen to Pandora radio? If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a website where you can listen to free music with some commercial breaks. There are so many channels you can choose, there is something for everyone. I didn’t start using Pandora until I started working from home as it can get pretty quiet when playing around in the kitchen. Recently I’ve been listening to the Pitch Perfect channel that my friend Courtney mentioned. In addition to the songs from the movie, Pandora also plays similar songs that it thinks I might like. I’ve gained a few new favorites, including Madilyn Bailey’s Titanium cover (so much better than the original!) and acapella versions of songs I didn’t really care for in the first place. However, sometimes Pandora goes crazy and gives me songs that no way in a million years would I listen to; I can’t click on the thumbs down fast enough and just want to scratch out my ear drums. I think if you listen to one channel for too long (i.e. all morning), it runs out of good songs to play.

Anyway, as I mentioned I almost always have Pandora on while I’m working unless I’m writing (for some reason, I can never write and listen to music at the same time). My latest baking adventure in the kitchen is with these Strawberry Cupcakes topped with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting. Since my Strawberry Layer Cake and Strawberry Snack Cake are popular recipes, I wanted to turn it into cupcakes. Most strawberry cake recipes call for either cake mix and/or strawberry Jello; very rarely do they actually use real strawberries. With the fresh strawberries I picked earlier this month, I knew these cupcakes would be in my future. Of course you can’t have strawberry cake without cream cheese frosting, so I added some strawberries to that as well. You can never go wrong with double the strawberry flavor.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

When I think of strawberry cupcakes, I think of pink. Although the food coloring isn’t necessary, I did add a few drops for presentation. I didn’t add any coloring to the frosting.

Strawberry Cupcakes from scratch without strawberry Jello

For the frosting, it’s important that you follow the directions and cook the strawberries down enough to equal 3 tablespoons; otherwise, your frosting will be too runny. Yes, you will actually need to measure it and keep cooking until it’s 3 tablespoons. Please trust me on this. Speaking of runny, my kitchen was really warm thanks to a broken air conditioner, so I chilled the frosting for 15 minutes before piping. You may or may not need to do this step, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. Use your best judgment.

Yields 12

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

60 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

1 hr, 20 Total Time

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Strawberry Cupcakes
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
2 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
3-5 drops red food coloring (optional)
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
1 1/4 cups chopped strawberries
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


    For the cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add 3/4 cup strawberries, water, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 5 minutes or until the strawberries cook down. Remove from the heat and cool at least 15 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and cornstarch. Stir in the baking powder and salt.
  4. In another large bowl, beat together the butter and remaining 3/4 cup sugar until creamy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the egg and egg whites, one at a time, until mixed in then add the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternating with the milk, adding the flour in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions (begin and end with dry ingredients). Stir in the cooked strawberry mixture and remaining 1/4 cup chopped strawberries. Add food coloring if desired.
  5. Divide the batter among the paper liners and bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  6. For the frosting
  7. In a blender, add the the strawberries and granulated sugar. Process until smooth. Pour through a fine mesh strainer, discarding any solids left behind. You should have 1/2 cup puree.
  8. Add the puree to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn down to low and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the puree thickens and cooks down to 3 tablespoons (please measure as anything more than this will make the frosting runny). Cool to room temperature (or refrigerate until cold to speed it up).
  9. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese for 30 seconds or until combined then add the powdered sugar and salt. Beat until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat in the strawberry mixture and vanilla. If the frosting is too soft to pipe, refrigerate in 15 minute increments until piping consistency.
  10. Pipe frosting on top of cooled cupcakes. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Let sit at room temperature 15-30 minutes before serving.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Classy

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  1. These strawberry cupcakes are so pretty! And so perfect for summer! I can’t wait to give these a try!

  2. What a lovely pink color!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing a “from scratch” strawberry cupcake recipe!! I have been searching for a “from scratch” recipe for so long (that doesn’t -like you said – call for premade cake mix), I just gave up. Luckily, your page popped up in my pinterest feed. They look delicious and I cannot wait to make these.

    • Whenever I looked for from scratch cupcakes, most of them used strawberry gelatin and not fresh berries. What’s the point?! I’m glad these are what you are looking for!

  4. SO MUCH YES. I love the flavor combo here!

  5. Such beautiful cupcakes! I love the color! It’s the perfect pastry recipe. Fresh strawberries bring out good flavors! What a lovely “from-a-scratch” recipe is this! I love it!

  6. Amy O'Hare says:

    Thank you for this recipe!! For weeks my son has been requesting strawberry cupcakes with strawberry frosting for his birthday. I was losing hope in my search with all the recipes I found using jello (yuck!) I’ll need 24 cupcakes to have enoughfor his class, do you think I can double the recipe as written or should I make two separate batches? Thanks!

  7. Hi, happy to find this recipe. My son asked me to make strawberry cupcakes this morning. It’s a snow day and we are working with we have in the house. Do you think I could use frozen no sugar added strawberries if I drained then really well?

    • I haven’t personally tried it with frozen strawberries, but if they are individually frozen strawberries (not the kind in syrup) and you thaw them really really well, it should work.

  8. I did not have corn starch, but followed the rest of recipe to a T, unfortunately I have to say I did not like the cake. It was dense, not fluffy like regular cupcakes. I wonder if it’s because of the lack or CS, or if I did something else. I taste a lot of flour. The frosting was great. My husband said overall they were pretty good and he will be eating more. I will say I will be trying again and probably some of your other recipes too.

    • The cornstarch is essential to the recipe. Instead of having you buy cake flour, you sift together the flour and cornstarch to achieve the same result. If you’re tasting a lot of flour, make sure you’re measuring your flour properly by spooning it into your cup rather than scooping and packing in it. You can google for more information on properly measuring flour.

  9. Um this looks like a lot of sugar. Will the frosting be really sweet? Is there any way i could put less sugar in the recipe?

    • It’s a buttercream frosting, so it’ll be on the sweet side. The sugar thickens the frosting in order to pipe it. You’re welcome to try less sugar but can’t guarantee it’ll be thick enough to pipe.

  10. Can I ask you to clarify- for the frosting,I blend the strawberries and strain them. Now do I boil liquid I strain through or the solids I catch in the mesh strainer. I’m confused by the purée! Thanks! Excited to make this!!

    • When I say in the directions “Pour through a fine mesh strainer, discarding any solids left behind. You should have 1/2 cup puree,” the puree is the liquid after you strained. You discard the solids left behind as indicated in the recipe.

  11. Melissa says:

    I made this recipe to a T. Of course I made it for my mom on Mothers Day yesterday. It was the worst cupcake my mom/father/and myself have ever had. It was too dry. It tasted like flour. BUT the upside to this is that the frosting was to die for – We all loved it so much.

    I don’t know what happened with the cupcakes but I won’t try and make this again as it took me four hours to make. I think that i’ll just buy a box of white cake mix and make this wonderful frosting to put on top.

    • I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe. It certainly doesn’t take 4 hours to make, so I can’t answer that one. As for flour tasting, that is mainly due to your technique. First, make sure you’re spooning the flour into the measuring cup, not packing it in. You can search Google for detailed guides on this. Second, make sure you sifted your flour as directed in the recipe (step 3 with the cornstarch). Some people skip this part because of the extra work, but this step is critical. Third, make sure your flour is fresh and stored properly. I know some people bake occasionally, so their bag of flour sits in their pantry for months. Fourth, make sure the flour is mixed in properly with your batter. You don’t want to overmix it, but you certainly don’t want to undermix it and have pockets of flour. Without being in the kitchen with you, it’s hard to pinpoint what went wrong, but I hope that helps for your future baking.

      • Melissa says:

        Thanks Carla. By four hours I was meaning from start to finish as in the cooling process as well as prep and frosting. But I did all of those things. My flour was just bought a few weeks ago and is stored in a closed container, I sifted my flour with the cornstarch, and I also didn’t over mix. I added my four the correct way as you noted. I don’t know what happened and it just was a bummer. But as I said before the frosting was a huge hit. We just sat there and ate the frosting of most of the 12 cupcakes before we all looked at each other like we were at our max intake of this most delicious thing ever made – EVER. It was to die for! I thank you so much for replying to my comment. I’m sure I didn’t do something right.. Because I know that you wouldn’t have posted that recipe if you knew what I tasted. Haha!

  12. Melissa says:

    Oh, as I was reading the recipe I remembered that when my cupcakes were done they almost had a hard top to them, as yours in your picture looks extremely soft. Maybe that might tell you what went wrong. I cook every night for my mother and father – and sometimes my brother if he is home and not doing what 21 year old brothers do. I’m 24 and haven’t gone to school. It’s just a passion. I love the way cooking and baking makes me feel. I think only about the task at hand. Very relaxing. And I bake from time to time but, I know some things just not everything and that might help you tell me what happened. Again, thanks.

    • Sorry for the delay in responding as I’m traveling. After some quick reading, it sounds like it may be related to your oven, whether it’s calibrated correctly or on the correct shelf. Each oven is different so you’d have to know its quirks like hot spots and whether it’s accurate. You can google for more info.

  13. Melissa says:

    I will most defiantly check that out. Thanks for your thoughts. Save travels!

  14. I made these with my son and they turned out tasty. They had a hint of strawberry flavor vs the strong strawberry flavor that you get with a box mix. However they were still delicious. I did a simple buttercream frosting instead of the strawberry cheesecake. They were a success for my friends bday party. If I want a stronger strawberry flavor do you recommend more puree?

    • The key to a stronger strawberry flavor is in the berries. You want to use very ripe, on the edge of being too ripe strawberries, not strawberries that have a little bit of white or green in them. Adding more puree may throw off the dry vs. liquid ratio. Making the strawberry frosting adds another layer of strawberry flavor too.

  15. Julie Perona says:

    Can you use this strawberry frosting that you have with the cupcakes on your layered cake recipe?

  16. Hi Carla, Have you tried substituting strawberry jam for the puree? I am interested in trying this recipe, but am short on time. Do you have any thoughts on how the recipe would need to change to adapt to adding jam instead of fresh berries?

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