Fresh Strawberry Buttercream for Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Despite the realities of chilly, gray mornings – San Franciscans hold on to the hope that summer IS around the corner. We huddle in our Northface jackets and hoodies daydreaming about BBQ picnics, ice cream cones, and a refreshing glass of sweet strawberry lemonade in 75 degree weather (that’s hot by SF standards!).

This summer-inspired recipe was made for a celebration for a youth program at my new job (!). We BBQed kabobs and other yummy things at Alamo Square Park (where you can see the Full House house!). I offered to bring dessert of course.

To focus on making the frosting, I made the cupcakes from a Betty Crocker mix, I love that they put pudding in the mix because it makes the cake super moist and soft. I added a few extra drops of lemon extract to intensify the lemon flavor.

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I adapted this recipe from Gimme Some Oven blog for Strawberry Buttercream. Silly me I was already to make the frosting when I realized I did not have enough powdered sugar at 1am in the morning. I woke up at 6:30 in the morning to go to the store, make the frosting, and get to work on time!

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1/4 cup pureed strawberries (I used fresh ones)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3-4 cups of powdered sugar

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I love how I did not have to use food coloring for this frosting. The dark red strawberry puree made the frosting a delightful light pink color! It’s au naturale!

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I slowly added the powdered sugar, half-cup by half-cup, to get the right consistency that I wanted. Making frosting is a process that takes patience and can’t be rushed. Mix it enough so that it gets air in it and becomes light and fluffy.

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I took the frosting separate to work and piped the frosting on to the cakes there, however, I think I left the frosting in the car for too long and the buttercream started melting and couldn’t hold it’s shape!

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By the time we got to Alamo Square, that is what happened. Ugh, I was so embarrassed- thankfully it tasted better than it looked!

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Couldn’t help but Instagram this.

After I went home, I took the second half of the batch and frosted the rest. The frosting is pretty sweet but with plenty of ripe strawberry flavor, and it balances the tart citrus flavor on the lemon cake. Tastes like summer!!   I will definitely be making this again- and learn to make frosting that will hold its shape!

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Eating one as I type this entry!


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