Looking for the best strawberry frosting made with fresh strawberries? This Strawberry Buttercream Frosting is a small batch frosting that makes enough to frost 6-8 cupcakes or one 6-8 inch cake.
It’s almost strawberry season in PA! Every year I talk about how my dad and I go strawberry picking at a local farm.
I’m still waiting for this year’s dates, but it should be within the next two weeks.
You know what they have in common? They’re all cake in need of a delicious frosting recipe.
And since I have strawberry on the brain, let’s pair them with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting. Double the strawberry fun.
My strawberry buttercream is similar to my strawberry cream cheese frosting in that you cook fresh strawberries down into a thick puree before beating into butter and powdered sugar.
This allows for maximum fresh strawberry flavor without making your frosting runny.
For this blog post, I paired my strawberry frosting with my small batch vanilla cupcakes.
Why make small batch frosting?
What makes my strawberry buttercream recipe special? You make only what you need.
How many times have you made frosting, only to have a ton leftover?
Unless you have plans to make another cake, you end up throwing out said extra frosting. All that butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla wasted.
That’s why I set out to make a small batch of strawberry buttercream. Just the right amount of frosting for most small cakes without throwing any away.
How much does small batch strawberry buttercream make?
The yield for this strawberry frosting recipe will depend on what you’re making:
- If you’re piping cupcakes, you can frost between 6-8 cupcakes, depending on how tall you make the swirls.
- If you’re frosting cupcakes with an offset spatula, you can frost 1 dozen cupcakes because you typically don’t use as much as you would piping.
- If you’re frosting a 6 or 8 inch cake, you can frost the top and edges
- If you’re frosting a small two layer cake, you can frost the middle and top. Frosting the edges will depend on how much you’ve used so far. You can always leave it as a naked cake with the edges showing.
Adding Fresh Strawberries To Buttercream Frosting
The best strawberry buttercream recipe starts with its namesake – the strawberries.
In order to incorporate fresh strawberries into your frosting, you need to puree them in a blender then cook down the mixture until thickened.
If you were to add the puree without cooking, your frosting would be too runny. That would mean adding more powdered sugar to thicken it, which would make the frosting a little TOO sweet.
Measuring is very important because you want 1 1/2 tablespoons cooked puree (3 tablespoons if you’re doubling my recipe).
Let it cool to room temperature before using. Otherwise, it may curdle your frosting if it’s too warm.
If you’re making the puree the day before, make sure you bring it to room temperature along with your butter. If it’s too cold, it may also split your frosting.
How To Make Strawberry Buttercream
To make strawberry buttercream, I highly recommend using an electric mixer to beat together the ingredients rather than beating by hand.
Using a mixer makes it super smooth and adds air, which is key for making a fluffy frosting. I personally use a 5 quart stand mixer. However, you can also use a hand mixer.
First, start with room temperature butter.
If you beat it while too cold, the frosting won’t be as smooth and may result in a lumpy frosting. If you beat it while too warm, the frosting will become too soft to set up.
Since I always use unsalted butter, I add a pinch of salt. It helps amplify the other flavors. If you’re using salted butter, you can skip this part
Next, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, roughly 1-2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl if needed.
Finally, add your cooled strawberry puree and vanilla. This will smooth your frosting into something spreadable.
How do you fix runny frosting?
At this point, you need to decide if your strawberry frosting is to your liking. If you’re making a cake, you want the frosting to be spreadable.
However, if you’re piping cupcakes, you want the frosting more on the firm side so it doesn’t fall over.
If your frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar. If your frosting is too thick, add a few drops of milk.
Sometimes if your frosting is the right thickness but too warm to pipe, the refrigerator is your friend! My kitchen gets super warm when the oven is on, even in the winter.
What I do is refrigerate the frosting for 15 minutes. This is usually enough time to firm it up for my cake.
How do you fix separated strawberry buttercream
If your strawberry buttercream looks curdled, it means you have broken buttercream. This means your fat and liquid from the butter separated.
If any of your buttercream ingredients are too warm or too cold, such as not letting the strawberry puree cool down or using butter straight from the fridge, your frosting will curdle.
There are two ways to fix separated strawberry buttercream:
- If your buttercream is too warm, refrigerate for about 15 minutes then try beating again.
- If your buttercream is too cold, gently reheat it over a pan of steaming water, like you would with a double boiler. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t actually touch the water. Once warmed up, start beating again.
Can strawberry buttercream be made in advance?
Yes, you can make strawberry buttercream frosting in advance! Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
You may need to bring your frosting to room temperature if it’s too hard to spread.
Do you have to refrigerate strawberry buttercream?
The biggest question I get about strawberry buttercream is do you have to refrigerate a cake with buttercream frosting?
The answer is no. Because it uses a good amount of powdered sugar, strawberry buttercream is safe to leave out at room temperature for 2-3 days.
That means a strawberry buttercream cake can sit out overnight for up to 2-3 days.
However, buttercream tends to melt if it’s too warm because of the butter’s melting point. In the winter I can leave my cake out, but in the summer I refrigerate my cakes.
You also want to refrigerate your cake if you want it to last longer than 3 days.
How to refrigerate a cake with strawberry buttercream frosting
To refrigerate a strawberry buttercream cake, first put it in the fridge uncovered for about 15 minutes. This will harden the frosting just enough so it won’t smear if accidentally touched.
Next, cover the cake so it doesn’t dry out in the refrigerator.
You can either loosely wrap with plastic wrap (you can use toothpicks if you don’t want it touching the frosting) or store in an airtight cake container (affiliate link).
I highly recommend using a cake container because it won’t actually touch your cake and you can store other items on top.
Cake Recipes For Your Small Batch Frosting
As much fun as it is to eat frosting with a spoon, chances are you need a cake recipe too. Here are some small cake recipes to make:
More Small Batch Frosting Recipes
Enjoyed this recipe? Here are some more small batch frosting recipes:
Looking for more? Check out my full list of small batch frosting recipes.
Items you may need (affiliate links):
- 1 cup chopped strawberries
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a blender, add the the strawberries and granulated sugar. Process until smooth. If your berries aren't quite juicy, you may need to add a splash of water to help blend it.
- Pour through a fine mesh strainer, discarding any solids
left behind. You should have 1/4 cup puree (if you're doubling the recipe, it'll be 1/2 cup).
- Add the puree to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn down to simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the puree reduces down to 1 1/2 tablespoons (please measure as anything more will make the frosting runny). Cool to room temperature.
If you're doubling the recipe, cook it down to 3 tablespoons, about 10-15 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl (with the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer), beat together the sugar, butter, and pinch of salt until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Scrape down the bowl then beat in the cooled strawberry puree and vanilla. Beat another 1-2 minutes.
If the frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar to thicken it. If the frosting is too thick, add a few drops of milk to thin it out. If the frosting is too soft, refrigerate 15 minutes to firm it up.
- Use immediately or store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.