These light and airy vanilla cupcakes pair perfectly with a simple and flavorful strawberry buttercream. The cakes are moist and flavorful while also super easy to make! The strawberry buttercream is made with freeze dried strawberries and takes no time at all.
This is my husband’s favorite flavor combo. For years he requested this for his birthday, and I reluctantly obliged. Until I created this recipe, I couldn’t find a strawberry buttercream that I loved. Most recipes require extra steps making a strawberry puree and still don’t have strong strawberry flavor. This recipe packs a strawberry punch without the puree.
The cupcake recipe is my go to white cake recipe. It’s moist, full of flavor, and doesn’t require extra steps like whipping egg whites! This recipe is consistently a crowd favorite every time I serve it. You can also bake this in two 8″ or 9″ pans for a layer cake.
What is special about this strawberry buttercream?
This recipe is made with freeze dried strawberries. You simply pulse them for a few seconds in a food processor or blender and add it to the buttercream! It makes your frosting full of strawberry flavor without thinning it out or chopping berries. I can always find freeze dried strawberries at Target and Aldi, but you can also find them online if they aren’t available in your area. This buttercream also pairs well with chocolate cupcakes and sponge cake!
Ingredient Line Up
- All purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Unsalted butter, room temperature
- Granulated sugar
- Vegetable oil – I typically don’t use oil in my cakes, but it keeps this cake moist and adds fat that we lose by taking out the egg yolks.
- Large egg whites, room temperature
- Buttermilk – You can also use whole milk if desired.
- Pure vanilla extract
- Confectioners sugar
- Heavy cream
Tips for Vanilla Cupcake and Strawberry Buttercream Success
- Use room temperature ingredients! I can’t stress enough how important this is for cakes. Ingredients will separate if they are cold!
- Thin the frosting out with a few tablespoons of heavy cream or milk only if you need it! Make the buttercream without it first, then check the consistency. You will find that many factors, such as temperature and humidity, will affect the consistency.
- Use clear vanilla extract for a completely white cake. I typically don’t care if my cake is off white and usually use pure vanilla extract because I prefer the flavor. However, sometimes you want a bright white cake!
Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream
- 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 5 large egg whites room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk or whole milk
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 cup freeze dried strawberries
- 2 tbsp heavy cream or milk if needed
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two muffin pans with cupcake liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on high until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes.
- Add in the vegetable oil and beat another minute.
- Add in the egg whites one at a time, incorporating fully after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract.
- With the mixer on medium low, alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix fully between each addition.
- Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake liners (fill about 2/3 full) and bake approximately 15 minutes. Let them cool in the pan five minutes, then remove them and completely before frosting.
- Pulse the freeze dried strawberries in a blender or food processor until it becomes a fine powder. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on high for one minute.
- Add in half of the confectioners sugar and beat until combined.
- Add in the rest of the confectioners sugar and the strawberry powder. Beat on high until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes.
- If the frosting is too thick, add a few tablespoons of heavy cream or milk to thin out.
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