Saturday, June 25, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes and Fresh Strawberry Frosting

Last weekend we had a couple of family friends in town, and one of them was a 13-year-old girl visiting from Ohio. I took her around the city for the day, and we had a great time shopping in the Marina, getting mini-makeovers at Benefit, and baking these vanilla cupcakes with strawberry frosting from a recipe I found on My Baking Addiction.

The frosting called for pureed strawberries, and we used some of the small, super juicy ones that can be found at the Farmer's Market.

Either our strawberries were juicier than normal or we weren't careful enough with the measuring, but our frosting turned out to be kind of a flop as far as perfect buttercreams go. When we first added the strawberries the mixture got too runny and kept separating, and as we tried to stiffen it up with more powdered sugar the frosting became tooth-achingly sweet.

Of course, the cake part, which we had made from a box, turned out perfect.

Hey - no judgment on box mixes. Alton Brown says they're great to use, and Alton knows best.

Even though the frosting consistency was totally off, the cupcakes were still a pretty delicious treat after our morning of shopping around for a few hours.

Someone try out this recipe and tell me what I did wrong! Any tips for fail-proof buttercream?

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
pinch of fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6 ounces strawberries, pureed
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, cream butter on medium speed until fluffy. Turn your mixer down to low speed and slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar, and continue mixing until well blended.
  2. Add salt, vanilla, 3 tablespoons of heavy cream and strawberry puree. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 1 to 3 tablespoons of heavy cream until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy
  3. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.


  1. I think I finally have access to "comments" !
    Am loving your blogs.....

  2. Next time you try this strawberry buttercream, don't add any heavy cream until the very end, if you need any at all. The liquid from the pureed strawberries should be enough to carry you through. And if you need more liquid, taste it and see if it needs more strawberry flavor and just add more puree. I usually do about 4 tablespoons in my batch. Also, when your icing starts to look like that, add more butter and basically double the recipe. You need more fat to hold all of that together. Then you won't end up with that sickeningly sweet taste from just adding more sugar. I know this is two years later and for all I know you have probably figured this out, but I thought I'd share.