It's berry season! Full disclosure: I really just prefer to eat my berries all on their own, but I make sure to give them some love in the form of a baked good every so often, too! These Strawberry Filled Cupcakes are the perfect way to celebrate strawberry season!
These Strawberry Filled Cupcakes are soft & fluffy vanilla bean cakes with homemade honey-strawberry filling, topped with strawberry cream cheese frosting!
This is one of the recipes where you want to use the best ingredients that you can! You'll be able to tell the difference in the finished product.
Vanilla Bean Cupcake Ingredients
- Cake Flour - Gives the cupcakes structure. In a pinch you can substitute with all-purpose flour, your cupcakes just won't be quite as fluffy or tender.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda - For leavening.
- Salt - To balance and enhance the flavors of the cupcakes.
- Unsalted Butter - For moisture and richness. Unsalted so that you control the amount of salt in the recipe.
- Sugar - For sweetness and keeping the cupcakes soft and moist.
- Egg Whites - To provide structure and a little leavening.
- Buttermilk - For flavor, richness, and moisture. Cakes with buttermilk will always be sooo soft and fluffy! (Check out the Substitutions section below or the recipe notes for a quick substitution if you don't have any on-hand!)
- Vanilla Bean Paste - For flavor! It's no secret that I love vanilla bean paste. It's soooo tasty without the vanilla bean price tag (and it pretty much stays good forever). If you prefer to substitute, you can use an equal measure of vanilla extract.
Honey-Strawberry Jam Ingredients
- Strawberries - For flavor. Beautiful color, too!
- Honey - For sweetness.
- Lemon Juice - The acidity of the lemon juice helps to balance the sweetness, and enhances the taste of the berries.
- Salt - To balance and enhance the flavors of the jam.
- Vanilla Bean Paste - For flavor. If you prefer to substitute, you can use an equal measure of vanilla extract.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
- Cream Cheese - You can't have cream cheese frosting without it! Provides wonderful flavor and creamy texture. I used full-fat cream cheese, which you want to have at room temperature before your use it.
- Unsalted Butter - For smooth richness. Unsalted butter so that you control the amount of salt in the recipe. You want your butter to be at room temperature before you start.
- Vanilla Bean Paste - For flavor! If you prefer to substitute, you can use an equal measure of vanilla extract.
- Strawberry Extract - For an added kick of strawberry flavor. This is optional, since the freeze-dried berries have such great flavor! If you don't have it on-hand, just skip it.
- Salt - To balance and enhance the flavors of the frosting.
- Freeze-Dried Strawberries - For flavor and beautiful color! Make sure to use *freeze-dried* strawberries, as they are free of moisture and will process into a powder.
- Powdered Sugar - For sweetness, and because it dissolves completely, giving your frosting a smooth, creamy texture.
None of the components of these Strawberry Filled Cupcakes are difficult to make, but with a cake batter, filling, and buttercream to make (plus the steps of coring and filling each cupcake), there are quite a few steps to the recipe! Fear not--you've got this!
Making the Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
Combine butter and sugar and mix until light and fluffy.
Add the egg whites and vanilla bean paste and mix to combine.
Alternate additions of the dry ingredients and buttermilk until incorporated.
Divide the batter between 15 muffin cups. Bake, then cool completely.
Making the Honey-Strawberry Jam
- Combine strawberries, honey, lemon juice, and salt in a saucepan. Warm over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the mixture boils. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened.
- Remove the jam from the heat and stir in vanilla bean paste. Allow jam to cool while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
Making the Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
- Pulse the freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor until they are a fine powder.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla bean paste, strawberry extract (optional), and salt and mix to combine.
- Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and mix until incorporated.
Hint: If you're short on time or just don't want to make the homemade jam, you can just fill the cupcakes with your favorite store-bought jam!
Instead of cake flour: You can substitute with all-purpose flour, your cupcakes just won't be quite as fluffy or tender
Instead of regular sugar: To punch up the vanilla flavor in the cupcakes, use vanilla sugar instead of regular granulated sugar!
Instead of buttermilk: If you don't have buttermilk, put 1 teaspoon vinegar OR lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup, then add enough milk (I find that 2% milkfat or greater works best) to come up to the 1 cup line. Let sit for 5 minutes, then it's ready for use!
Instead of honey: If the floral flavor of honey isn't your vibe (or you just don't have it on hand), you can use an equal measure of sugar in the jam.
Chocolate Strawberry: for this vibe, use the chocolate cream cheese frosting or the chocolate ganache filling from my Death by Chocolate Cupcakes instead of strawberry!
Vanilla Vanilla: Swap out the strawberry frosting for a classic vanilla bean buttercream like in my Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream.
Vanilla Blackberry: Swap out the strawberries for blackberries for the filling, and use the blackberry buttercream from my Vanilla Cake with Blackberry Buttercream.
There isn't a lot of special equipment required for this recipe, but here are a few things you'll want to have:
- Muffin Pans - Good muffin pans are essential! I like the ones that are light in color so that the cupcakes brown slower.
- Food Processor - I hate to say it, but it's pretty necessary to have one to pulverize the freeze-dried strawberries into powder. You can do your best smashing them in a bag with a rolling pin or using a mortar and pestle, but the food processor really is your best bet to grind them up finely. This link here will take you to the one that I use in my kitchen (and love!), but of course there are much smaller/cheaper options for a job of this size. This mini food processor might be more your speed for a small job like this.
The honey-strawberry jam can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. The baked and cooled cupcakes will keep in the freezer, wrapped well, for up to three months.
The filled and frosted cupcakes will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. I usually suggest storing cupcakes on the counter because refrigerating them dries the cake out, but I refrigerate these because of the cream cheese in the frosting.
Also note that, once filled, these Strawberry Filled Cupcakes will get soggy in the center over time. With my filling we found that the cupcakes were still okay on day three, but not as good as day one. How quickly the centers get soggy will depend on how thick your filling is.
Frequently Asked Questions
For best results, I do suggest that you use buttermilk! That said, you can make a quick substitution if you don't have it on-hand. For this recipe, put 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup, then add enough milk (I find that 2% milkfat or greater works best) to come up to the 1 cup line. Let sit for 5 minutes, then it's ready for use!
I used fresh berries for the jam, but frozen berries will work fine. If you do use frozen berries, the mixture will just take longer to boil (unless you thaw them first) and will likely take a little longer to thicken.
Yup. I like this quick and easy jam recipe, but you can absolutely just use your favorite jam from the store!
Other Recipes You May Like
Strawberry Filled Cupcakes
For Vanilla Bean Cupcakes:
For Honey-Strawberry Jam:
- Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease two muffin pans or line with paper liners and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour [see note], baking powder, baking soda, and salt) and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy, at least three minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Add the egg whites one at a time, allowing each addition to incorporate before adding the next. Add vanilla bean paste (see note) and mix to combine.
- With the mixer running on low, alternate additions of the dry ingredients and buttermilk. Add half of the flour, followed by half of the buttermilk. Repeat for remaining flour and buttermilk, allowing each addition to incorporate before adding the next.
- Divide the batter between 15 muffin cups, filling each about ¾ full. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning the pan around after 10 minutes to help ensure an even bake. A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake should come out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Combine strawberries (see note), honey, lemon juice, and salt in a medium saucepan. Warm over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the mixture boils. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes.
- Remove the jam from the heat and stir in vanilla bean paste (see note). Allow jam to cool while you prepare the rest of the recipe. Mixture will thicken as it cools. Jam can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.
- Pulse the freeze-dried strawberries (see note) in a food processor until they are a fine powder. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter. Beat until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla bean paste (see note), the strawberry extract (optional; see note), and salt and mix to combine.
- Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Add the strawberry powder and mix until incorporated. If the buttercream is too thick you can add a little milk or heavy cream to thin it. If too thin, you can add a bit more powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
- Using a small knife, cut a core from the center of each cupcake and fill with the cooled jam. Cut the bottom off of each core so that just the top surface remains. Place this piece of the core back on top of the jam to cover.
- Frost each jam-filled cupcake. Top with fresh strawberries, if desired.Enjoy!