Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (Small Batch)
Learn how to make the best Strawberry Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and fresh strawberries from scratch without strawberry Jello! Small batch recipe makes 6 cupcakes.
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.
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).
And naturally I had it on while baking up these small batch Strawberry Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and fresh strawberries.
Since my Small Strawberry Cake and Strawberry Layer Cake are popular recipes, I wanted to turn the batter into small batch cupcakes.
Most strawberry cupcake recipes call for cake mix and/or strawberry Jello; very rarely do they actually use real strawberries.
With fresh strawberries I picked, I knew these homemade strawberry cupcakes would be in my future.
No cake, no jello, no strawberry extract. Simply basic pantry ingredients plus fresh strawberries.
Of course the best strawberry cupcake recipe needs strawberry cream cheese frosting.
You can never go wrong with double the strawberry flavor.
Ingredients For Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
To make strawberry cupcakes from scratch, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Strawberries: Fresh is best, but you can also use frozen after thawing.
- Water: Helps the strawberries cook down
- All-purpose flour: Since most people don’t have cake flour in their pantry, I used all-purpose flour. Make sure you’re spooning it into your cup. Using the scoop and pack method means you’ll end up with more flour than directed. Learn how to measure flour from My Baking Addiction.
- Cornstarch: To achieve the same texture as cake flour, I added cornstarch to help with a more tender crumb.
- Baking powder: Leavening agent that helps the cupcakes rise
- Salt: Brings out the other flavors so you’re not stuck with bland cupcakes
- Butter: Not only does it add flavor, butter helps the cake rise from its steam when it melts, trapping carbon dioxide in the batter as it bakes. This creates a tender crumb texture. Do not substitute margarine.
- Sugar: Sweetens the cupcakes
- Egg whites: In order for the pink color to shine through, you don’t want to use egg yolks as it’ll muddy the color.
- Vanilla: Enhances the strawberry flavor
- Milk: Helps smooth out the batter and create a moist cupcake
- Red food coloring: If you want to make pink strawberry cupcakes, you’ll need a few drops of coloring as these cupcakes are not naturally pink.
How To Make Strawberry Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting
To make homemade strawberry cupcakes, first you need to cook down the strawberries. This maximizes the strawberry flavor without using Jello and without adding too much liquid to the batter.
Once that’s cooling, make the cupcake batter. Cream together your butter and sugar.
Next, scrape down your bowl then beat in your egg whites and vanilla. You’re adding the egg whites like you would with a whole egg. You do NOT need to whip them separately into a meringue.
To finish the cupcake batter, add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, adding the flour in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions (begin and end with dry ingredients).
Don’t forget to stir in your strawberries!
Finally, fill your paper liners with the batter then bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool completely before decorating.
How To Make Pink Strawberry Cupcakes
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.
This helps bring out the pink color. Without it, it becomes a faint pink. If you’re going for presentation, definitely add the food coloring.
The strawberry cream cheese frosting, however, is naturally pink from using fresh strawberries.
Best Frosting With Strawberry Cupcakes
I paired my small batch strawberry cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting for a double dose of strawberry.
If you don’t want cream cheese but still want strawberry, you can also use strawberry buttercream.
Or go traditional with cream cheese frosting or small batch buttercream frosting.
Want contrasting flavors? Try small batch chocolate frosting or lemon buttercream frosting.
Do strawberry cupcakes need to be refrigerated ?
Technically unfrosted strawberry cupcakes don’t need to be refrigerated; however due to the fresh fruit, they only last a few days at room temperature until mold takes over (gross).
Regardless, if you use cream cheese frosting (strawberry or plain), the frosted cupcakes do need to be refrigerated.
If you use a buttercream frosting, that type of frosting doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
How To Store Cupcakes
To store strawberry cupcakes, place them in an airtight container (deep enough so you don’t mess up the frosting). Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerate them for up to 1 week.
If refrigerating, let them sit at room temperature for about 15-30 minutes before serving to get rid of the chill.
Can you freeze cupcakes?
Like with most cakes, yes you can freeze strawberry cupcakes.
To freeze unfrosted cupcakes, place them on a cookie sheet and freeze for an hour. Once firm, wrap each one in plastic wrap then stick in a freeze-safe plastic bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
If you’re worried they’ll get squashed in the freezer, you can put the plastic bag in a container to maintain their shape.
How To Freeze Frosted Cupcakes
Although I recommend freezing unfrosted cupcakes, you can also freeze frosted cupcakes.
Use a buttercream frosting as that type of frosting freezes best. Cream cheese frosting can become grainy after freezing, although it’ll still be edible.
To freeze frosted cupcakes, place them on a cookie sheet and freeze for an hour. Once firm, place each one in a deep enough container that won’t squash the frosting. Freeze for up to 3 months.
How To Thaw Frozen Cupcakes
To thaw frozen cupcakes, place them on a wire rack and let them come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
The wire rack helps keep the cupcake bottoms dry as they thaw.
What To Do With Leftover Egg Yolks
Because strawberry cupcakes are made with egg whites to help the color shine through, you’ll have some extra egg yolks. Check out these recipes for using leftover egg yolks including my small batch chocolate chip cookies.
More Small Batch Cupcake Recipes
Looking for more cupcake recipes? Here are recipes for small batch cupcakes:
- Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes
- Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes
- Small Batch Yellow Cupcakes
- Small Batch Red Velvet Cupcakes
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes With Pineapple
- Lemon Cupcakes
- Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
- Bostom Cream Pie Cupcakes
- Angel Food Cupcakes
For a full list of recipes, check out my Small Batch Cupcake Recipes guide.
Don’t want to make cupcakes? Check out my full list of 6 Inch Cake Recipes.
Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Learn how to make the best Strawberry Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and fresh strawberries from scratch without strawberry Jello! Small batch recipe makes 6 cupcakes.
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries
- 2 teaspoons water
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons whole milk, room temperature
- Few drops red food coloring (optional)
Frosting Options (Pick One)
- Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (get recipe here)
- Strawberry Buttercream (get recipe here)
- Cream Cheese Frosting (get recipe here)
- Vanilla Buttercream (get recipe here)
- Chocolate Buttercream (get recipe here)
- Lemon Buttercream (get recipe here)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cupcake pan with 6 paper liners.
- In a medium saucepan, add 1/3 cup strawberries, water, and 2 teaspoons sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 2-3 minutes or until the strawberries cook down. Remove from the heat and cool at least 15 minutes.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour and cornstarch. Stir in the baking powder and salt.
- In another large bowl, beat together the butter and remaining 1/3 cup sugar until creamy, 2-3 minutes.
- Beat in the egg whites, one at a time, until smooth 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 chopped strawberries. Add food coloring if desired.
- 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.
- Once cool, decorate with frosting of choice.
If using buttercream, store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
If using cream cheese frosting, store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Let them sit at room temperature for about 15-30 minutes before serving to get rid of the chill.
- Enjoyed this recipe? Check out my full list of Small Batch Cupcake Recipes, including chocolate, vanilla, and more.
- Don't want to make cupcakes? Check out my Small 6 Inch Strawberry Cake recipe.
- Use your extra yolks in one of these recipes using leftover egg yolks.
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These strawberry cupcakes are so pretty! And so perfect for summer! I can’t wait to give these a try!
What a lovely pink color!
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!
SO MUCH YES. I love the flavor combo here!
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!
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!
Absolutely you can double it
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
I will most defiantly check that out. Thanks for your thoughts. Save travels!
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.
Can you use this strawberry frosting that you have with the cupcakes on your layered cake recipe?
Absolutely! I love that idea.
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?
I haven’t personally tried it with jam, but it should work the same.
Thanks for sharing this perfect article of an awesome cake. It require minimum time to get ready, It is very easy to bake by everyone!!!!!!!
Oh my! This is my first time making these cupcakes and I’m so nervous. The batter taste like so much flour. I’m afraid they won’t taste good after they come out of the oven. I think this may be my first major cupcake fail. I’m so scared. What’s the batter suppose to taste like? What did I do wrong? I bake cupcakes from scratch a lot and this is the first time I’m this nervous.
How did the cupcakes turn out after baking? I don’t know what the batter is supposed to taste like since I focus more on the end result.
The bread tasted mainly like flour. They had an odd texture as well. I was short on time (I had guests coming over) so I used the frosting of this recipe and made vanilla cupcakes instead.
What do you mean bread? Are you referring to another recipe?
Could you describe the odd texture? I don’t have enough information to troubleshoot. If I had to guess, you probably mismeasured the flour. How much flour did you use? Did you spoon it into dry measuring cup or did you scoop and pack? What kind of flour did you use? Did you sift it with the cornstarch?
Did you make any changes to the recipe, either with the ingredients or directions?
Do you have a problem with the cupcakes sticking to the liners? I used your original recipe for the strawberry cake but cooked it in cupcake tins with liners. The cake stuck so bad that we only got out half a cupcake. Is the cupcake recipe adjusted for this or just made into a smaller batch? Just wondering the difference between this recipe and your original one.
I’m bummed to hear about the cupcakes sticking. That is an issue with the cupcake liners. Much like you grease a cake pan, you need to make sure your liners don’t stick. These are what I use, although it looks like Amazon doesn’t carry them anymore https://amzn.to/2rT8g9Y
I loved how fresh the strawberry flavor was in these cupcakes. Perfect way to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Glad they worked out for you!
These are so pretty! I wonder if frozen strawberries would work? These would be perfect for a baby shower but of course, berries are not in season right now.
I haven’t personally tried it with frozen, but I think after thawing and discarding the extra liquid, you can work with them.
Those strawberry cupcakes are so pretty. I love that they’re made with fresh strawberries instead of frozen or as you say cake mix or jello!! Great summer treat!
Yes from scratch makes a difference!
These turn out perfect every time!!!
I have a hard time listening to music and writing too – so I tried watching a movie and writing – and yup, that didn’t work either! :)
BTW – these are gorgeous – loving that delicious frosting!
Ha I’ve tried with TV shows too, but nope. Must be silence or at the very least instrumental. And thanks!
This small batch recipe is perfect for my husband and I and the cupcakes are absolutely delicious. We loved the bits of strawberries throughout!
Glad those worked out!
Bwahaha. I was laughing at your “you can’t thumbs down it quick enough.” We had a song like that yesterday in the car with my kids. These cupcakes are just beautiful. Thanks for the giggle and the recipe.
Seriously there are times Pandora is way off the mark. Thanks, Amy!
These look heavenly, the perfect sweet treat- especially for Valentines Day!
Oh I love the Valentine’s Day idea! Give someone a bouquet of cupcakes instead of flowers ;)
So OK anyone answer this question Do I add all 3 eggs into the mix or just the egg whites into the mix?
Please please please double check you’re reading all of the ingredients correctly. The recipe specifically states 2 egg whites. Not whole eggs. Not 3 eggs. 2 egg whites.
I live in Denver and would love to make these but am curious what the conversions or additions would be for high altitude.
I live in PA, so unfortunately I have no way of testing this. However, I was told by another reader you would need to add more flour to compensate. I don’t know how much for these cupcakes specifically, so you’ll have to do some research on altitude baking.