Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

It's March and I'm happy spring is finally here, aren't you?! With spring just starting, I was craving something light, fruity and colorful. The local grocery stores in my area have been selling strawberries at great prices lately so I've been stocking up on the berries to take advantage of the sales. As a result, it seemed only fitting to make some Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes. I found a great recipe on a fellow blogger's site, Beantown Baker. If you haven't checked out her site, you should! She has some delicious dessert recipes you'll want to jot down and try. These cupcakes were exactly what I was looking for - light, fruity and colorful, not to mention easy to make...

Jen, of Beantown Baker, made her strawberry cupcakes and filled them with mashed strawberries before frosting. I loved the idea of having the fruit inside the cupcakes and instead, I diced up strawberries to swirl them in the batter along with mashed strawberries. The batter turned a blushing pink hue but I added the food coloring Jen recommended to avoid the beige color that it takes on after baking. The crumb of these cupcakes were especially tender, thanks to the buttermilk used. To top these cuties, I used a standard cream cheese frosting which I piped using a star tip. To garnish, pink sprinkles did it for me, but if I had more strawberries, I would have used them instead. Nonetheless, these were fantastic!

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes
recipe adapted from Beantown Baker

3 tablespoons buttermilk
1/4 cup mashed fresh strawberries
1/4 cup diced fresh strawberries
3/8 teaspoons baking soda
1 whole egg plus yolk of 1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 drops red food coloring
cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)
sprinkles for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with liners and set aside.

Combine the buttermilk, mashed and diced strawberries and baking soda in a small bowl. Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and melted butter; whisk to combine.

In a larger bowl, combine the flour, sugar & salt with a whisk to lightly sift. Add the strawberry mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until just blended. Fold in the food coloring.

Using a scoop, fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 full with batter. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pound cream cheese (2-8oz packages), softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Frost cooled cupcakes using a piping bag fitted with a star tip and garnish with sprinkles.

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