Southern Snacks Cookbook

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook

I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Strawberry Buttermilk Cupcakes with Buttermilk Vanilla Frosting

I love strawberry season.  Not only do I finally get my hands on delicious berries, but it really means the start of delicious farmers market produce.   I only buy strawberries in season.  I know you can get them all year round now, but I don’t like the watery,  hothouse types, or ones flown in from far away under ripe, then left to over-ripen and become sodden in plastic containers.  I HATE those plastic containers. They force you to buy a set amount, and the berry in the middle always seems to be moldy, and rapidly spreading its rot.  A fresh, locally grown strawberry, right out of the ground is a thing of wonder and I eagerly await its arrival.  That is one of the joys of eating seasonally.  The anticipation of the taste of your favorite produce, that brief, delicious season of gorging yourself, then on to the next gorgeous fruit or vegetable.

At some point, after I have eaten as many fresh strawberries right out of my hands as I can, I start to think of ways to bake with them.  I am constantly surprised and perplexed by how many recipes I come across for “fresh” strawberry bread or cake or muffins that use cake mix, frozen berries and strawberry gelatin.  Why?  Cooking with fresh strawberries is a delight.  My Fresh Strawberry Bread is another example.

Cupcakes are all the trendy rage right now, but I make them because I haven’t the patience to perfectly frost a layer cake.  They always come out lopsided and demoralized when I make them.  Cupcakes have charm, even when they are a little wonky.  And I don’t mind the wonkiness – when I go to the effort of baking, I want everyone to know I did it my ownself, and not suspect that I bought from a store.  These gems are not the neon-pink color of those made-with-a-mix cakes, but full of strawberry flavor.  The tang of buttermilk and the sweetness of the berries play off each other brilliantly, and coupled with a cloud of tangy, sweet vanilla-flecked frosting, these are the perfect seasonal treat.

Strawberry Buttermilk Cupcakes with Buttermilk Vanilla Frosting

For the cupcakes:

1 cup pureed strawberries, from about 1 pint

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

½ cup well-shaken buttermilk

½ vanilla bean

½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

¾ cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 eggs

For the frosting:

½ cup well-shaken buttermilk

½ vanilla bean

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

6 cups confectioner’s sugar

For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners.

Hull the strawberries and puree them in a blender.  Measure 1 cup of puree and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Measure out the buttermilk, then scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the buttermilk, stirring to distribute.

Cream the butter and sugar together in the large bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, beating well after each egg is added.  Add the flour and buttermilk alternately in three additions, blending well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.  With the mixer on low, stir in the strawberry puree until just combined.

Fill the cupcake liners about ¾ full of batter.  I use a ½ cup ice cream scoop for this.  You may have enough batter leftover to make a few extra cupcakes, in which case lucky you.  Bake the cupcakes for 20 – 30 minutes, until the tops are puffed and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then take the cupcakes out of the pan and finish cooling on the rack.  These cupcakes are very moist, so the centers may sink.  Don’t worry, you’ll fill them with frosting!

For the frosting:

Measure out the butter milk and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them, stirring to distribute.  Wash and dry the large stand mixer bowl.  Using the whish attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time, blending well after each addition.  In the beginning, you can add a few drops of buttermilk to get things moving, but you want to finish the process with buttermilk, so don’t use it all. Continue beating the frosting, finishing with the buttermilk until it is all smooth and spreadable.

When the cupcakes are completely cool, spread them with the frosting.  You can just use a palette knife to cover them, or pipe the icing with a pastry bag or ziptop bag.

The cupcakes can be made up to a day ahead and kept in an airtight container.  Frost shortly before serving.

Makes 12 cupcakes


10 comments to Strawberry Buttermilk Cupcakes with Buttermilk Vanilla Frosting

  • LisaE

    These cupcakes look so awesome! I don’t know why I never thought of pureeing strawberries in a cupcake instead of slicing them….I will so love them purreed instead and love buttermilk in baked goods.

  • I find that in the cupcake format, pieces or slices of strawberries are difficult to eat! Buttermilk makes baked goods so moist, and the added puree makes a lovely moist cake!

  • deede

    These look yummy!

    Hope you’re safe from the floods! I live in Northeast Arkansas, so I’ve been keeping up with the rising Mississippi on Channel 5.

  • Lucy

    My hubby not a fan of cupcakes….so what can I do to make single layer cake? He loves strawberries!

  • Bake the batter in a 13 x 9 pan. You’ll obviously need to add more cooking time, when a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool and frost!

  • Lucy

    Thank you.
    Stay dry in Memphis
    I am in SC and we were without power for 8.5hrs this morn from severe storms

  • I converted this recipe to gluten-free today. It is DIVINE!! So incredibly delicious. Thanks for posting this; I would never have known how to bake with strawberries.

  • Kirby

    Another question, can you make a layered cake with this recipe? My recipe is great for a sheet cake, but it’s too gooey to layer. Thanks!

  • It makes a great sheet cake in a 13 by 9 dish!

  • Too bad here it’s not strawberry season.. 5$ for 200 grams is a bit expensive so I will have to wait for the season:)

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