Vanilla cupcakes with a juicy strawberry filling, whipped cream frosting, and strawberry topping. All the flavors of Strawberry Shortcake in cupcake form.
These cupcakes are for all of you who have asked if this Strawberry Shortcake Cake could be made into cupcakes. I finally have an answer for you: YES. And they are AMAZING.
The full instructions are below, but here is snapshot of what makes up this recipe:
- Vanilla cupcakes: These are moist and flavorful cupcakes with a tight crumb. These cupcakes are slightly dense, which allows them to stand up to the juicy strawberry filling and topping. They are flavored with vanilla and a touch of almond extract.
- Strawberry filling & topping: The juicy and sweet fresh strawberry topping and filling is made with finely diced fresh strawberries mixed with strawberry jam. The jam adds extra sweetness, a deeper strawberry flavor, and a gorgeous glossiness.
- Whipped cream frosting: One of the best frostings ever. Velvety smooth whipped cream flavored with vanilla and thickened with cream cheese. A beautiful and delicious frosting that is pipeable and will hold its shape.
Why you’ll love these cupcakes
- Flavor: Vanilla cake, sweet strawberries, and vanilla whipped cream frosting. An incredible combination!
- Texture: Tender cupcakes with a tight crumb paired with juicy fruit and velvety smooth frosting.
- Appearance: These cupcakes are a show stopper! Not only are they beautiful on the outside, but that strawberry surprise on the inside makes them extra appealing, too.
Why this recipe works
- Cupcake texture: These cupcakes are the perfect balance of light and tender with a touch of density. Making them a little dense helps them stand up to the fresh strawberries (and juices) that get spooned into the center of the cupcakes. The cake will even absorb some of the strawberry juices without falling apart or getting mushy.
- Flavorful strawberries: Tossing the diced strawberries in strawberry jam makes them extra sweet and juicy. The cupcakes will absorb some of those juices, adding strawberry flavor to every bite. Bonus: even if you are using strawberries that aren’t peak-season sweet, the jam will help them taste better than they are.
- Stabilized frosting: Strawberry shortcake is typically topped with whipped cream; however, in order for this frosting to be thick enough to pipe and hold its shape, I add cream cheese into the whipped cream frosting. This thickens the frosting and keeps it from deflating as quickly as regular whipped cream. The cream cheese will impart a slightly tangy flavor (think cheesecake or cream cheese frosting). See below for substitutions for cream cheese.
FAQs and substitutions
You can use 8-oz of mascarpone cheese instead of cream cheese. Just be aware that the frosting will be softer than if you use cream cheese. Alternatively, you can use vanilla buttercream frosting or freshly whipped cream. Note: the homemade whipped cream will not be as stable, so you’ll want to add the frosting right before serving.
I don’t recommend it, but in an absolute pinch you can. You’ll want to thaw them, drain off the excess liquid, and dice them to combine with the strawberry jam. Note: They will be much more soft/mushy than fresh strawberries, so the appearance and texture will be different.
You can use full-fat plain yogurt in place of sour cream.
No, but I highly recommend trying it. It pairs wonderfully with the strawberries and cream, and the flavor is subtle. The primary flavor is vanilla, with just a hint of almond.
Sure. Any berry should work here. Swap out the jam with whatever berry you choose.
Yes. They are best stored in the refrigerator and brought to room temp for a bit before serving (see more on this below).
Yes. That recipe is here: Strawberry Shortcake Cake
How to bring ingredients to room temperature
The following ingredients should be room temperature for this recipe:
Eggs: You can allow eggs to sit at room temp for one to two hours before baking with them. Alternatively, you can speed this along by placing the eggs in a bowl, covering them with very warm tap water and allowing them to sit for 5 minutes.
Milk: Measure out the amount of milk needed and let it sit at room temperature for about one hour. Alternatively, you can briefly microwave it to take the chill off (about 10-20 seconds depending on your microwave).
Sour cream: Measure out the sour cream and allow it to sit at room temperature for about one hour.
Cream cheese/mascarpone cheese: I do not recommend any methods for speeding this along. Allow the cream cheese or mascarpone cheese to slowly come to room temperature by setting them on your kitchen counter until soft but still cool to the touch. Mascarpone cheese is already much softer than cream cheese, so it won’t need much time out of the fridge.
Serving and storage
Store these cupcakes in the refrigerator and allow them to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. These are best the day they are made. I do not recommend freezing them.
Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour*
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- ¾ cup milk, preferably whole or 2%, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups finely diced strawberries, for filling
- 1 ½ tablespoons strawberry jam, for filling
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups chilled heavy cream
- 1 cup finely diced strawberries, for topping
- 1 tablespoon strawberry jam, for topping
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 18 muffin cups with liners and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt until combined. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (preferred) or a hand mixer, beat sugar, oil, eggs, egg whites, and extracts until combined. Add the sour cream and beat until combined. Add half of the flour mixture, beating until just combined. While still beating, slowly add milk. Once it's combined, add the remaining flour mixture. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Be careful not to overmix it.
- Scoop the batter into the muffin cups (I use an ice cream scoop), filling each between ⅔ and ¾ full. Gently tap the pan on the countertop a couple times to remove any air bubbles.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If necessary, rotate the pans once during bake time to ensure even browning. Place the muffin tins on wire racks to cool for 5-10 minutes, then carefully remove the cupcakes and place them directly on the rack to finish cooling.
- Combine 1½ cups diced strawberries with 1½ tablespoons strawberry jam.
- Use a small paring knife to cut a circle out of the center of each cupcake. Insert the knife at an angle and cut about halfway down into the cupcake. Remove the cone shaped piece of cake from the center and trim off the point, leaving a flat "lid" that you can place back on the cupcake.
- Scoop some of strawberry/jam mixture into each cupcake cavity (I used a heaping tablespoon), then place the cake "lid" over the strawberry filling. Don't shy away from spooning some of the syrupy juices into the cavity along with the strawberries. The cake will absorb it and it will add flavor.
- Place the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on medium speed until smooth, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. While the mixer is still whipping, slowly pour the heavy cream down the side of the bowl. Stop and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl periodically. Increase the speed to high and whip until the cream holds a stiff peak.
Toping and assembly:
- Use a piping bag and pastry tip (I recommend an open star tip) to swirl some frosting onto the top of each cupcake. I like to make a couple of circles around the perimeter of the cupcake, leaving the middle open for adding more strawberries.
- If you are not serving immediately, tightly cover the cupcakes and refrigerate for up to 6 hours.
- Right before serving**: combine 1 cup diced strawberries and 1 tablespoon of jam for the topping and spoon it onto the top of each cupcake.