I love strawberries. In every way. I put ‘em in cake, in cocktails, in salads and smoothies, or eat them straight from the farmer’s market. I’m bananas for berries!
One of the most classic, crowd pleasing strawberry desserts -Strawberry Shortcake- isn’t always the most convenient to transport. I was helping a friend get a party menu set and her Mom had asked for Strawberry Shortcake. I needed to rework the dessert since the birthday party was supposed to be on a boat, I knew a traditional shortcake would be hard to keep together. What to do…cupcakes! Of course!
I’ve made more cupcakes than I can count but wanted a light cake that wouldn’t overpower the delicate flavor combination. I found a recipe and tweaked it just a bit.
Lemon zest is the best! I regularly add it to recipes to bring a kick of freshness and brighten flavors.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- ½ cup vegetable shortening
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 5 eggs, room temperature
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup whole milk, room temperature
- ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray or coated well with shortening or butter and floured, taking care to remove all excess flour.
- Cream together butter and shortening until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Slowly add sugar one cup at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each cup before adding another. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another. Add in lemon zest.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour milks and vanilla into measuring cup and whisk together with a fork. Add to butter and shortening mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
- Gently stir all ingredients until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, making sure to have all ingredients mixed well.
- Evenly distribute cake batter between lined cupcake pans. Bake about 17 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
Slice a thin sliver of the strawberries (you will need at least a full container for this recipe) for topping the cupcakes, so make sure you’ve got one for each cupcake. They should look like the strawberries on the right in the picture above.
Chop the rest of the strawberries into small pieces, about the size of a kernel of corn.
Take about a tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar on the chopped strawberries. Let sit for at least 30 min. Gently stir to evenly distribute.
I wanted a light and fluffy topping for the cupcakes but knew whipped cream would be hard to keep together so I thought I’d fold it into some simple vanilla buttercream. It was perfect! Light, fresh with a delicate touch of the vanilla. Not too sweet and married perfectly with the flavors of the lemon zest in the cupcake and the burst of freshness in the strawberries.
When the cupcakes are completely cooled, prepare the frosting.
- 12 oz Confectioners sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Exract
- 3 Sticks Butter
- 1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Organic Shortening
- 1 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream
- This is a two part frosting. First take the room temperature, softened butter and the shortening and place in the bowl of a Kitchen Aid, with the paddle attachment. Whip until smooth and creamy, slowly add a cup of the powdered sugar. Then add 1tablespoon of the vanilla, continue to whip until desired consistency is reached, adding more sugar as needed. Scoop out of the mixer and place in a large bowl.
- Clean bowl and return the Kitchen Aid bowl to the mixer and attach the whipping attachment. Pour in the heavy whipping cream, the vanilla and 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar. Whip on high until peaks are formed. Move the whipped cream to the bowl with the buttercream, and very gently fold the whipped cream into the buttercream.
- If you don't have a piping bag, transfer the frosting to a gallon ziploc bag. Cut a corner off and frost the cooled cupcakes.
Pop the frosting back into the refrigerator for a couple of minutes to keep it cool while you get the cupcakes ready to frost.
Oxo makes a super handy cupcake corer, you should definitely get one to facilitate your cupcake filling whims.
Once you scoop the center of the cupcakes (don’t throw those centers away, snack on ‘em or use to make cakepops!) put a small dollop of the frosting in the center of the core. Then scoop a spoonful of the chopped strawberries on top of the frosting and gently push down to pack it in. Make sure to drain the juice off of the spoonful of strawberries.
Putting a bit of the frosting in first helps to ensure the juice from the strawberries won’t make the bottom of the cupcake a mushy mess.
Pipe the frosting on in a swirling motion, then top with a strawberry slice.
What is your favorite strawberry treat?