These Strawberry Cupcakes are filled with a fresh, sweet strawberry filling, and topped with ultra-fluffy strawberry buttercream frosting. The perfect dessert for any special occasion!
Homemade Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Filling
When fresh strawberries come in season, I am always tempted to grab a pint, two, or three. They’re just so vibrant, juicy, and flavorful, whether added to a bowl of cereal in the morning or served as flaky strawberry shortcake with sweetened whipped cream. (Excuse me while I go drool!)
This filled strawberry cupcake is a gorgeous dessert recipe that you can make for a special event – think birthday, baby shower, Valentine’s Day… anytime you want something exquisite but easy to make.
That’s right, easy to make! These cupcakes will seem like a bakery masterpiece, but even a beginning baker can follow this simple recipe and create a killer batch of strawberry cupcakes. Ready to impress? Let’s do it!
What Is the Difference Between Buttercream and Cream Cheese Frosting?
These two frostings are really similar, with the main difference being that buttercream is (usually) all butter, with no cream cheese, while cream cheese frosting uses a generous amount of both. For that reason, buttercream is typically a little lighter and sweeter, while cream cheese frosting is a little more dense with a tangier flavor.
For this recipe, I combined the two to get a light, fluffy buttercream that has just a hint of tangy cream cheese. Adding just a small amount helps give the frosting a little extra oomph, and a little extra stability, too.
The Ingredients You’ll Need
There are basically three components to this recipe: the cupcakes themselves, the strawberry filling, and the strawberry cream cheese frosting. Here’s what you’ll need for each one:
- Flour: All-purpose flour is my go-to for most baking recipes, including these cupcakes.
- Baking Powder: Make sure to use baking powder, not baking soda, or the cupcakes won’t rise properly.
- Butter: Unsalted butter, softened to room temperature. You could also use salted butter, but if you do, you’ll want to reduce the amount of salt in the recipe.
- Sugar: Regular granulated sugar, or you could use light brown sugar for a more warm and golden cupcake. (This may also change the texture somewhat.)
- Eggs: Large eggs, at room temperature.
- Yogurt: Plain yogurt, also at room temperature.
- Vanilla: I like to use pure vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste for a more intense vanilla flavor.
- Whole Milk: Room temperature. You could substitute half-and-half for a richer cupcake.
Strawberry Filling Ingredients
- Strawberries: Chopped, fresh strawberries. I don’t recommend using frozen strawberries, since they typically are a little more watery and soft.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar, brown sugar, or even honey will work for the filling mixture.
- Cornstarch: Or arrowroot powder. This will thicken the filling slightly so it doesn’t soak the cupcakes.
- Butter: Again, I like to use unsalted butter, but you could also use salted butter and leave out the pinch of salt in the recipe. Either way, have the butter at room temperature before you start.
- Powdered Sugar: Don’t use regular sugar – it’s too grainy and will make wet spots in the frosting.
- Cream Cheese: Just a couple of tablespoons will add richness and body to the frosting.
- Heavy Cream: Heavy cream is used to thin the frosting to the correct consistency.
- Strawberry Filling: The strawberry filling in this recipe isn’t just for the cupcakes – it’s also an ingredient in the frosting.
- Garnishes: Additional strawberries and/or white chocolate shavings make lovely garnishes for this sweet, strawberry dessert.
How to Make Strawberry Cupcakes
Now that we’ve looked at the three ingredient lists, let’s look at how you actually bring each part of this recipe together. It might seem like a lot, but it goes by surprisingly quickly! Make sure to read through the recipe a couple of times before you get started, so you’ll be familiar with the process from the start.
- Combine the Dry Ingredients. To get started, preheat the oven to 350°F. Then get a medium-sized mixing bowl, and whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Combine the Wet Ingredients, Except Milk. In a separate, larger mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each one in completely. Then beat in the yogurt and vanilla.
- Make the Cupcake Batter. Gradually combine the dry ingredients and milk to the butter mixture, alternating between them. You should start and end with dry ingredients.
- Fill the Cupcake Liners. Divide the cupcake batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3 full.
- Bake! Bake the cupcakes for 18 – 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
- Cool. Remove the cupcakes from the oven, and let them cool completely.
Strawberry Filling Instructions
- Cook the Filling Ingredients. In a small saucepan, mix together the chopped strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla extract. Heat these ingredients over medium heat, stirring now and then, until the strawberries are soft and the mixture has thickened. This should take about 5 – 7 minutes.
- Cool and Prepare to Pipe. Remove the mixture from the heat, and let it cool completely. Then pour or spoon the strawberry filling into a piping bag. Set aside.
- Cream the Butter and Sugar. Combine the softened butter and powdered sugar in a large bowl, and beat together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add the Remaining Frosting Ingredients. Add the cream cheese, heavy cream, vanilla extract, salt, and three tablespoons of the strawberry filling to the bowl. Beat the frosting until well-combined.
- Get Ready to Pipe. Scoop or spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice.
- Fill the Cupcakes. Use a cupcake corer or a small, sharp knife to make a small opening in the center of each cupcake. Don’t go all the way through to the bottom, or the filling will leak out. Fill each cupcake with the cooled strawberry filling.
- Frost the Cupcakes. Pipe the buttercream frosting on top of each cupcake. Garnish them with fresh strawberries or strawberry slices, plus white chocolate shavings, if desired.
As with any cake recipe, there are tips and tricks that can be helpful to know before you begin. Here are some quick baker’s notes to make sure your cupcakes turn out gorgeous, every time.
- Mix Correctly: While the order for mixing these cupcakes might seem a little complex, it’s an old-fashioned technique that helps give the cake batter a truly velvety, dreamy texture. Don’t get impatient, or the crumb won’t be as perfect.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: It is helpful to have your refrigerated ingredients like eggs, yogurt, and milk at room temperature. This will help them blend together smoothly and completely in the batter without overmixing. However, the most important ingredients to bring to room temperature are the butter and cream cheese for the frosting. Set those out in advance for a creamy frosting without lumps.
- Chopping the Strawberries: Keep in mind that biting into a cupcake with large chunks of strawberry in the middle might make it difficult to eat. I recommend aiming for fairly small pieces of strawberry.
- Layer Cake/Sheet Cake: This recipe can be doubled to make three 8″ layers, or one 9×13″ sheet cake. 🎉
Should Strawberry Cupcakes Be Refrigerated?
Yes, since these cupcakes are filled with fresh strawberry filling and frosted with buttercream that contains cream cheese, they need to be stored in your refrigerator, not on the countertop. Keep them in an airtight container so they stay fresh. They should keep for up to 5 days.
Can I Freeze Filled Cupcakes?
- You can freeze the cupcakes, and you can also freeze the buttercream. However, the filling is a little more delicate and can get watery when thawed – so I recommend making the filling once you’re ready to fill the cupcakes and flavor the frosting.
- If you do decide to freeze the cupcakes and/or frosting, make sure to package them carefully. I recommend cooling the cupcakes completely and then wrapping each one individually in plastic wrap. Take the wrapped cupcakes and put them into a couple of large zip-top freezer bags, and freeze for up to three months.
- Frosting freezes well in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 3 months as well.
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ⅓ cup plain yogurt, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
Strawberry Filling Ingredients:
- 1½ cups chopped fresh strawberries
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons strawberry filling
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- additional strawberries and/or white chocolate shavings, optional, for garnish.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate large bowl, cream the softened butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the plain yogurt and vanilla extract.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, alternating with the milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Continue to mix with the mixer until everything is just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling each about ⅔ full.
- Bake the cupcakes for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
- Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool completely.
Strawberry Filling Instructions:
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, mix together the chopped strawberries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla extract. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the strawberries are soft and the mixture has thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool completely.
- Place the strawberry filling in a piping bag and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the softened butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add cream cheese, heavy cream, 3 tablespoons of the strawberry filling, vanilla extract, and salt to the mixture and beat until well combined.
- Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice.
- Use a cupcake corer or a knife to create a small hole in the center of each cupcake. Fill each cupcake with the cooled strawberry filling.
- Pipe the buttercream on top of each cupcake.
- Garnish with fresh strawberries or strawberry slices and chopped white chocolate, if desired. Serve.
- Mixing: The order for mixing these cupcakes may seem a little complex; it’s an old-fashioned technique that helps give the cake batter a velvety texture.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: Have refrigerated ingredients like eggs, cream cheese, yogurt, and milk at room temperature. This will help them blend smoothly and thoroughly in the batter without overmixing.
- Chopping the Strawberries: I recommend chopping the strawberries into smaller pieces so it’s easier to eat the cupcakes.
- Make a Layer Cake or a Sheet Cake: This recipe can be doubled to make three 8″ layers or one 9×13″ sheet cake.
- Storing: These cupcakes need to be stored in your refrigerator, not on the countertop. Please keep them in an airtight container so they stay fresh. They will keep for up to 5 days.
- Freezing: To freeze, cool the cupcakes completely, then wrap each individually in plastic wrap. Put the wrapped cupcakes into a couple of large zip-top freezer bags, and freeze for up to three months. Frosting freezes well in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 3 months.