Sweet Treats

Strawberry Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Icing

I’ve been slacking. I keep promising myself I’m going to buckle down and learn how to properly frost cakes and cupcakes. I keep vowing I will learn to pipe icing into lovely rosettes and swirls, garnished with sprinkles and flowers and…you know the routine. Check out my Pinterest boards. They’re full of baking and decorating how-to’s – along with a lot of other fun stuff.

Instead, my baking experiments get left with a splotch of spatula spread icing and maybe, if I’m lucky, the occasional garnish. These strawberry beauties with fresh and tangy lemon buttercream icing are no exception. They are cupcakes that have been brushed with a nice thick layer of icing, topped with slices of fresh ripe strawberry, and left for the taking. No more.

I blame carpal tunnel in part. I’ve mentioned it before, but I am in the 60% of women who develop carpal tunnel syndrome in one or both hands during pregnancy due to swelling. If I wrap or brace my right hand, I’m okay, but then I can’t do much that requires manual dexterity. If I don’t wrap it, I can use my hand, but my fingers go painfully numb and I can’t keep my grip on things. Aggravating all around. So in the case of these cupcakes, I kept my hand unwrapped so I could evenly slice strawberries – because there’s no doing that left handed. That was all the grip I had, so frosting had to happen left handed. I really hope this goes away.

But you had better believe that if I’m going to make cupcakes that look like this, they’re going to be pretty freaking delicious.

Your third-grader might do a better job of decorating my cakes and cupcakes than I do. But I’ve got to admit {and the barbecue guests we fed these to will agree with me}, they’re tasty!

Strawberry Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Icing

Makes 18 cupcakes.

What You’ll Need:

For the cupcakes:

  • 3 large strawberries + more for garnish
  • 2 large eggs, whites and yolks separated
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk at room temperature

For the buttercream icing:

  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

How to Make Them:

1. Let’s start with prep. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside. Wash and top the strawberries, and place in your blender. Pulse the strawberries until they have formed a puree. Set aside. In a small bowl, use a whisk or a handheld mixer with whisk attachment and beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Once again, set aside. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. And, you guessed it, set aside.

2. Using your mixer and paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until it becomes smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until the mixture becomes creamy again. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat on medium speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.

3. Leave the mixer running on medium-low speed and add the sifted dry ingredients a half cup at a time into the creamy mixture just until combined. Add the milk and beat until just combined.

4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the egg whites and strawberry puree into the batter.

5. Fill the cupcake liners halfway with the batter, and then bake for 18-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool slightly in the pan before removing {3-5 minutes} and then set on a rack to cool. Do not ice until the cupcakes have cooled completely.

6. Clean out your mixer bowl and paddle attachment. Then add the butter for the icing and beat on medium speed until it becomes smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar a half cup at a time and beat until well combined and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.

7. Add the lemon zest and the lemon juice, and continue to mix. If the frosting is too runny, add an additional half cup of powdered sugar and mix.

8. Add a drop or two of yellow food coloring if desired {I like my lemon icing to look lemony}.

9. Frost the cupcakes according to your preference and top with sliced strawberries. Enjoy!

The lemony icing brings a refreshing tang to this dessert and the strawberries and buttercream make it still feel like you’re having one sweet treat! What’s not to love?

Oh, and I’ll bet you these would be great with a sip of sparkling moscato!

What are your favorite things to bake in summer?

About the ChefKristin

Career Army officer with a tendency toward workaholism. On the side, self taught cook, carpenter, and gardener, working to build a beautiful life for my family. Trying to tilt my balance in the right direction.

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