Strawberry Cream Cupcakes

April is the start of peak season for strawberries.  I love recipes that incorporate strawberries, so this time of year I break out my recipe book and dog ear all the strawberry recipes.  One of my favorite strawberry recipes is this strawberry cream cupcake recipe.  It is super simple, fresh and amazingly yummy.  It is the perfect light dessert to enjoy after a sunny spring lunch.

Strawberries are actually not a berry at all, they actually belong to the fruit family.  They were first cultivated in France and are considered to be one of the top most popular fruits in the world.  The berries are incredibility versatile.  Strawberries come fresh, frozen or canned.  They are used in cakes, jams, breads, cereals, ice creams, yogurts, smoothies, pies, cocktails, salads, pancakes, and even savory dishes like salsa.

Strawberries are known for being super healthy.  They are rich in vitamins and minerals.  Strawberries are full of vitamin C, manganese and fiber.  They are low in fat, high in antioxidants, have cardiovascular system benefits and have been shown to decrease blood sugar.  Thankfully strawberries are usually available year round in most grocery stores, however, they are at the peak of their season from April through July.

The recipe below makes about 12 standard sized cupcakes.  I have included two frosting recipes.  The first recipe is a healthy Greek yogurt strawberry frosting.  The second recipe is a traditional strawberry frosting using butter and sugar.

Strawberry Cream Cupcakes

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 medium sized strawberries (hulled and mashed)

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup cream cheese

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a stand up mixer blend the cream cheese and sugar together.  Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add egg, buttermilk and oil into the butter mixture.  Add mashed strawberries and vanilla extract.   Slowly add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and continue mix well.

Pour batter into cupcake tins lined with cupcake liners.  Fill about 3/4 full.  Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire cooking rack.  Cupcakes must be completely cooled before frosting.  

Frosting (Option 1)

2 cups non-fat Greek style yogurt

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla powder)

1/8 teaspoon pure stevia extract + 3 tablespoons corn starch (or 1/2 cup powdered sugar)

1 cup fresh strawberries (sliced thin)

In a medium sized bowl, mash strawberries and then whisk in all other ingredients until they become well combined and thick. Cover and place in the refrigerator to thicken up even more (about 20 to 30 minutes). Remove cooled frosting from refrigerator and use to top the cooled cupcakes.

Frosting (Option 2)

10 tablespoons butter (softened)

2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

12 ounces cream cheese (softened)

1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (sliced thin)

In a stand up mixer (or large bowl with handheld mixer), beat butter on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Slowly add powdered sugar to the whipped butter and continue to beat, on slow speed, for another minute. Add vanilla extract, salt, fresh strawberries and milk (or cream) to the mixture and beat, on medium speed, for about 3 minutes. The frosting is now ready to be used on your cooled cupcakes.

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