If you’ve been around here for any stretch of time, you know that we’re all about kids’ kitchen recipes and kitchen independence. These natural Strawberry Vanilla Cupcakes might look elegant and difficult, but the truth is that they are easy enough for a 4 year old to decorate!
For these cupcakes, we made a naturally pink frosting with strained strawberry juice (use the remaining strawberries in a smoothie or on some strawberry shortcake) and our favourite vanilla cupcake recipe that results in a delicious, fluffy cake every time.
In the interest of full disclosure, the center cupcake was decorated by me – but you see that pretty darn good one on the left? That was my 4-year old’s first attempt at this design! If she can do it, anyone can!
Of course, this recipe will work with whichever variation you’d like to try – blueberry frosting, orange frosting. You can add in small bits of the fruit as well, but I prefer a smoother texture to my frosting and if you add little bits to your frosting, it can jam up the frosting tip – completely ruining your design.
How to Make Natural Strawberry Frosting
Add a cup of strawberries to some water and bring it to a quick boil on the stove. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to extract the juice from the strawberries – keep an eye on it so that the liquid doesn’t completely evaporate and scorch. You want a concentrated liquid to really bring out the colour. (We started with just over 1/2 cup of water.)
Strain the strawberry juice into a measuring cup, and set the strawberries aside for another recipe or discard. Allow the juice to cool – you can even place it in the fridge to help this process along.
Meanwhile, start preparing your frosting. Beat 1/2 cup of butter with 2-3 cups of icing sugar. Once the strawberry juice has cooled, add a small amount at a time, beating the frosting with each addition. Add extra icing sugar as needed until you reach the consistency and colour you want.
How to Make a Rose Frosting Design
Place a 2D Wilton frosting tip in your piping bag and place the bag inside a tall glass, folding the ends over to prevent frosting from getting on them.
Use a spatula to transfer your frosting from your bowl into the piping bag – only fill the bag about 1/2 full for easy handling. You can add more frosting again later.
Roll up the ends and twist the bag as shown. Attach a clip or elastic band to prevent the bag from untwisting. Then, snip off the tip of the piping bag and push down the frosting tip.
Place your frosting tip in the center of the cupcake and gently squeeze the frosting out of the bag. Make small circles with the piping bag, circling around that center point out to the edges of the cupcake. And you’re done!
These simple and elegant rose cupcakes are that easy – and if you do accidentally squeeze out too much frosting, you can just scrape it off the cupcake and try again.
- For the natural strawberry frosting:
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 2-3 cups icing sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- For the vanilla cupcakes:
- 3/4 cup white or cane sugar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon good-quality sea salt
- Place the strawberries and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to simmer and reduce liquid by half. Remove from heat, straining strawberries in a sieve positioned over a clean bowl or measuring cup. Save the strawberry juice - cool if possible.
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Line two muffin trays with cupcake liners, or silicone baking cups.
- Beat the oil and sugar together for two minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla, eggs, and buttermilk, one at a time and incorporating fully between each addition.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in 2-3 increments to the oil-sugar mixture, mixing completely between each addition.
- Fill the cupcake liners half full (about 1/4 cup cupcake batter) and bake 12-16 minutes, until golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool in the muffin pan for 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
- Beat the butter and icing sugar together until smooth, and add in the strawberry juice until you reach the desired colour and consistency for your strawberry buttercream. (Add in more icing sugar as necessary.)
- Frost the vanilla cupcakes with the naturally pink strawberry frosting. For instructions on how to make a frosting rose, see instructions in the post above.
These are the perfect cupcakes for a princess birthday party, Valentine’s Day, or Mother’s Day.
When would you enjoy these natural strawberry vanilla cupcakes?