So, when I was a kid, strawberry was by far my favourite dessert flavour. Strawberry milkshakes, strawberry ice cream and strawberry jelly. Any of those and I was a happy girl.

These days, I put a little more effort into my desserts but these Easy Vanilla Cupcakes and the super simple Strawberry Buttercream recipe can be ready in less than an hour.

Top down view of a plate of 7 vanilla cupcakes with strawberry buttercream

Let’s start with these super moist and fluffy cupcakes. I call them easy vanilla cupcakes and they truly are. I’ve used this cupcake recipe a lot (see my Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes and Lamington Cupcakes) and what I really love about it is the fact that there is no creaming of butter and sugar. This saves you time both on waiting for butter to soften and on creaming them together.

How to make Easy Vanilla Cupcakes

Beat together 2 eggs and a little vanilla with a handheld beater until they start to become frothy (only 30-40 seconds) then mix through the buttermilk (photo 1). Now add half the flour and mix (photo 2)

A collage showing how to mix batter for easy vanilla cupcakes

Next, add all the melted butter and mix it through (photo 3) before finishing with the remaining flour mixture (photo 4).

A collage, showing melted butter being added to make cupcake batter, then flour is added.

The finished batter (photo 5) is quite liquid – that’s normal – and they will take a little longer to bake due to being such a wet batter (around 24 minutes).  I use a medium ice cream scoop to portion out the batter which makes life so easy (photo 6) and fill the cupcake cases to about ¾ full.

A collage showing bowl of cupcake batter and a muffin tin filled with batter

How to make strawberry buttercream

Just 6 ingredients (photo 7) – icing sugar, butter, vanilla, cream, a touch of salt and the secret ingredient – freeze dried strawberry powder.

This strawberry buttercream is so simple. Just beat together butter and icing sugar until it looks really light and whipped (photo 8).

A collage showing ingredients for strawberry buttercream & mixing butter and sugar

Add the cream, vanilla, salt and freeze dried strawberry powder (photo 9) and beat to combine and it’s done (photo 10).

Collage showing adding freeze dried strawberry powder to buttercream

What are freeze dried strawberries?

Freeze dried strawberries are real strawberries that have had all the moisture removed through a method called freeze drying. They’re sweet, have an intense flavour and are completely natural. Just pure strawberry meaning they have most of the nutritional benefits you would find in fresh strawberries.

A small glass bowl filled with freeze dried strawberries

The fact that all the moisture has been removed makes them perfect for making strawberry buttercream as there is no need to compensate for added moisture by adding more icing sugar as you would if you used strawberry puree.

It incorporates perfectly into the frosting and gives it a strong strawberry flavour with no hidden ingredients and the buttercream has a silky soft and whipped texture.

A vanilla cupcake that's been cut open showing the fluffy texture.

Substitutions

  • Swap the freeze dried strawberries out for any other freeze dried fruit.
  • Cut a hole in the centre of the cupcake and add strawberry jam before piping the buttercream for even more strawberry flavour.

Pretty as a picture, these Easy Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream would be perfect for an afternoon tea, Mothers Day or girls birthday party.

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A plate of cupcakes with strawberry buttercream with strawberries on top.

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Easy Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

5 from 3 votes
These easy Vanilla Cupcakes take no time at all to mix together. These moist and fluffy cupcakes are topped with a Strawberry Buttercream.

Ingredients

FOR THE EASY VANILLA CUPCAKES

  • 195 g (1 1/2 cups / 6.9oz) plain (all-purp) flour
  • 30 g (1oz) corn flour (cornstarch)
  • 1 1/4 cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 113 g (1/2 cup / 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM

  • 226  (1 cup / 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups  (325g / 11.4oz) icing (powdered / confectioners) sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (approx 22g) freeze dried strawberries
  • teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • tablespoons  thickened cream  (notes)

Instructions
 

FOR THE CUPCAKES

  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Line a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the plain flour and corn flour. Add the sugar, baking powder and salt and stir well so everything is evenly distributed
  • Beat the eggs and vanilla together well, until they become frothy (you can do this by hand, or with a hand beater or in a stand mixer and it should only take around 30-40 seconds).
  • Add the buttermilk to the eggs and mix, followed by half the dry ingredients. Stir to combine. Now add the melted butter and mix well, followed by the remaining dry ingredients. Gently mix and fold to combine (a few very small lumps is fine).
  • Fill the cases to about 3⁄4 full, then bake for 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with just a few crumbs on it. Make sure to turn the tray halfway through cooking so they all cook evenly.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 5-10 minutes before transferring the cupcakes to a wire rack.

FOR THE WHIPPED BUTTERCREAM

  • Use a blender to blend the freeze dried strawberries to a powder.
  • In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on low-med for 6 minutes (or until it’s looking very pale and whipped). Scrape down the sides half way through then continue beating.
  • With the mixer on low, add the sugar 1 spoon at a time until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the salt, vanilla and cream and beat for 3 minutes at medium speed until it looks light, thick and whipped.
  • Add the freeze dried strawberry powder and beat for another 2 minutes.

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (= 4 teaspoons worldwide).
  2. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  3. I use a medium ice cream scoop to portion out the batter. 
  4. I use these silicone muffin trays for my cupcakes as I like the tall shape it gives them.
  5. If you don't have a food processor or blender, you can just put the freeze dried strawberries in a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to gently bash them to a powder.

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