Strawberry Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

Here in the South, strawberries are in season right now.  In my humble opinion, aside from eating them straight out of the garden, there is no better way to enjoy fresh strawberries than in a strawberry cake!  A coworker brought in an old fashioned strawberry cake to work last week that his mother had made, and after two pieces last week (diet, what?) I needed more.  So Saturday morning I purchased what I needed to make this recipe I found on OvenLove via Pinterest.  Since strawberry cake is really moist and spongy, and I was also making it to share with my brother-in-law as a thank you for doing our taxes (he’s an accountant), I decided to make cupcakes with the recipe instead.  They turned out AMAZING – a huge comeback from last week’s cake debacle/epic baking fail.

Strawberry Cupcakes

I may or may not have eaten two of these Sunday night… They count as a serving of fruit, in my book.

Fresh Strawberries

Strawberry Cupcakes (adapted from Oven Love Blog)
Ingredients
– One 32 oz package of very ripe fresh strawberries, hulled (or 24 oz frozen, thawed)
– 1-2 tsp sugar (for fresh berries only)
– ¼ cup milk, at room temperature
– 6 large egg whites, room temperature
– 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
– 2¼ cup cake flour, sifted
– 1¾ cup sugar
– 4 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp salt
– 12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1½ sticks) at room temperature
– Pink or red food coloring, preferably the gel type (I didn’t use food coloring, but I would have if I were making a cake instead of cupcakes)
Instructions
  1. Hull, slice and toss fresh strawberries with a teaspoon or two of sugar and cover. Let them sit at room temperature for a couple of hours, until nice and juicy.  I only let them sit for 30 minutes or so while I prepped the other ingredients.  It worked just fine. Place strawberries in a food processor or blender and puree.  For frozen berries: Thaw frozen strawberries in whatever form (sliced, whole, etc) and in whatever container/bag you have them in. Pour into a fine strainer placed over a bowl and let sit. Lightly toss the strawberries occasionally to remove any pockets of excess liquid. Reserve the liquid for another use or discard.
  2. Reserve ¾ cup puree for the cake. Use leftover puree to fill the cake or fold into the frosting.  I saved about half a cup to put into the frosting, but I would have used more if I was filling and icing a cake instead.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 12-hole muffin tins with cupcake liners.  Or if you’re making the cake instead, grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.
  4. In small bowl, combine puree, milk, egg, vanilla and mix with fork until well blended. In bowl of stand mixer, add sifted flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix to combine. Continue beating at slow speed and add room temperature butter. Mix until combined and resembling moist crumbs.
  5. Add liquids and beat at medium speed for about 1 minute or until full and evenly combined. Stop mixer to add food coloring if using and to scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat to combine. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners with an ice cream scoop.
  6. Bake for about 15-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (time will vary). Let cakes cool completely before icing.

Strawberry Cupcakes

Strawberry Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream (say that ten times fast) adapted from Oven Love Blog and Whisk Kid (link above)

This icing is time consuming, but as all good buttercream icings are… totally worth every second.

Ingredients
– 3 egg whites
– 2/3 cup sugar
– 10 Tbsp butter, cubed and at room temp
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 4 oz cream cheese, cubed and at room temp
– 1/2 cup strawberry puree
Instructions
  1. In the base of a double boiler, bring water to a simmer. In the top bowl (or just a bowl to place over a pan of simmering water) combine the egg whites and sugar and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot to the touch (160F on a candy thermometer if you want to be completely accurate), about five minutes depending on the original temperature of the eggs. When the mixture has warmed sufficiently, pour it into the bowl of your stand mixer and whip on high speed until the bottom of the bowl is room temperature, ten to fifteen minutes. When the bowl is no longer warm, turn the mixer to medium-low and begin adding the butter piece by piece. Let each chunk incorporate completely before adding the next and don’t rush the process!
  2. After all of the butter has been added, add the vanilla and turn the speed back to high. Whip for about 3 minutes or until the buttercream comes together. Turn the speed down to low and add the cream cheese and strawberry puree, then mix on medium to fully incorporate.

Beginnings of Swiss Meringue Buttercream IcingThis is what the sugar/egg white mixture looks like on the double boiler when it’s ready to be transferred to the mixing bowl.  I didn’t use a candy thermometer, but I’ve made it quite a few times before, so I knew when it was ready.  Just make sure you whisk constantly and heat slowly to prevent the egg whites from turning into super sweet scrambled eggs.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream IcingThis glossy gorgeousness is the buttercream prior to the addition of the cream cheese and strawberry puree.  I always find pictures of textures helpful when trying new recipes.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream IcingThe icing after the addition of the strawberry puree and cream cheese.  It is unreal.  It would be really good with the addition of any fruit puree, I’m quite sure.  I plan to do some serious experimenting with this icing in the future.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream IcingThe complete cupcakes!  Run, do not walk, to your local market to get the ingredients before strawberries go out of season.  Every bit of effort is worth it.  Now, I’m going to go have a strawberry cupcake for lunch, and leave you with a picture of Harold begging for one.  I never should have given that dog icing or cake batter… I created a monster!

Harold Begging for CupcakesAn awfully adorable monster. :)

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12 thoughts on “Strawberry Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  1. Carlyle Kirbo

    This is the best “strawberry-anything” that I have ever eaten! That is saying a lot because my Mom make a hellashish Strawberry Pie! Great job, Natalie! I now have something to lookforward to every April besides the Masters and the end of tax season!! I am going to give the recipe a try on my own sometime soon and strongly suggest everyone else does the same!!!

    Reply
    1. oystersandpearls Post author

      :) if you do, or anybody else tries it, let me know how it goes! If the Swiss meringue buttercream is too much, it would be delish with a simpler cream cheese icing, and you could just add the strawberry purée to that.

      Reply
  2. Carlyle

    I am still trying to figure out which is better; the swiss meringue buttercream or the actual cake??? They are both incredibly delicious!

    Reply
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  5. Carrie

    Do you think this would work with bananas? I’m sure other berries would work, but I need to make banana cupcakes, and this is my favorite cupcake recipe.

    Reply
    1. oystersandpearls Post author

      I’m so glad you love the recipe so much! I would probably give it a shot with bananas… but can’t make any promises! I would maybe cut the amount of bananas by a little bit (compared to the amount of strawberries) since they’re very dense and heavy, but give it a shot and let me know how it goes!

      Reply
  6. Michelle S

    Did you put all the strawberry purée but 3/4 cup into the recipe or did you put 3/4 cup of the purée in the recipe?

    Reply
    1. oystersandpearls Post author

      I put all the strawberry puree EXCEPT for 3/4 cup into the cake recipe. The reserved 3/4 cup of puree is to fold into the frosting (or if you were baking a cake, you could use it as filling, either mixed with frosting or alone, instead!). I hope that helps!

      Reply

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