In June 2011, I took Ed strawberry picking for his first time. The farm had arranged for someone to play the banjo in the fields while people picked fruit. It was a fun day until I realized how quickly our beautiful, fresh strawberries were becoming too ripe. Then there was a mad rush to use them all up. (See how I freeze strawberries here.) So I made two different types of strawberry cupcakes, a strawberry flavoured swiss meringue buttercream, and a frozen strawberry pie (recipe here). I had planned to make strawberry popsicles too, but ran out of steam. Freshly picked strawberries make a huge difference to the flavour of strawberry desserts. They also allow you to reduce the amount of sugar that you use. Please adjust the sugar content of the recipes below based on the tartness of your strawberries.
Strawberry Cupcake Variation #1:
Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes Recipe
For the cake: I really like the texture of this yellow cupcake recipe.
For the filling: I stuffed them with diced fresh strawberries. I used 3 to 4 cups of diced strawberries tossed with 1 tbsp of granulated white sugar (use more if your strawberries are tart) to fill 24 cupcakes. See photo instructions at the bottom of this post for how to fill a cupcake.
For the icing: I made the strawberry swiss meringue buttercream recipe here. It was smooth and silky, and creamy yet light. I made approximately 4 cups of this icing and used 12 tbsp of pureed fresh strawberries to get the desired (all natural) pink colour and strawberry flavour. It also helped to cut the sweetness of the icing. I could have strained the pureed strawberries before adding them to the buttercream, but I like to keep the red specks in, because then it’s obvious that the icing was made without food colouring.
For the garnish (optional): Top with a slice of strawberry, a whole strawberry, or a whole strawberry that has been sliced (not all the way to the stem) and fanned out.
Store covered at room temperature for up to 1 day or store in the refrigerator. Allow it to come to room temperature before serving or the icing will be too hard.
Strawberry Cupcake Variation #2:
Strawberry Cupcakes Recipe
I used the yellow cupcakes recipe here and I folded 2 1/2 to 3 cups of diced fresh strawberries into the batter. Also, I extended the baking time by approximately 5 more minutes. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached to it. These were moist and delicious. In fact I preferred them without the strawberry swiss meringue buttercream (recipe here). Store covered at room temperature for up to 1 day or store in the refrigerator. Allow it to come to room temperature before serving or the icing will be too hard.
How to Fill a Cupcake Photo Instructions
Assuming you don’t own the metal cones that are baked with the cupcakes to create a hollow centre, use baked and completely cooled cupcakes. I have found that the simplest and quickest way to hollow out a cupcake is to use a large piping tip. The photo instructions have been provided below.
However, a small, sharp knife works well too. To carve a cone out of the centre of the cupcake, start by carving a circle into the middle of the cupcake with the knife angled towards the centre so that you end up carving out a cone with the tip of the cone pointing downwards. The knife works better if you need the cone in tact (see my witch cupcakes here).
Use the larger end of a large sized piping tip and press straight down to create a circle into the middle of the cupcake top. Then press and scoop cake out using the piping tip. Continue until you are happy with the depth of the hole. Adjust the size based on the type of filling you’re using. For example, you probably want a larger hole if you are filling it with fruit and a smaller hole if you are filling it with a heavier chocolate ganache or peanut butter icing.
Now fill the cupcake with your filling of choice using a spoon or a piping bag fitted with a tip. I filled these with diced freshly picked strawberries for a strawberry shortcake cupcake.