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Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

It is my boss’s birthday this week and I wanted to bring in something to celebrate. I mean, you kind of have to, right?!! I wasn’t exactly sure what time we would want to break into the cupcakes, so I didn’t want to make something that was too over-the-top in case we would be eating these earlier in the day (And it was good idea too because we ate them before having lunch). I opted for vanilla cupcakes with strawberry buttercream frosting.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, not if you are not the best baker, like myself. These cupcakes were a labor of love for me. First, I tried to make the cupcakes from scratch and for whatever reason, they tasted like cornbread, so I threw them out and had to start again. Except, I didn’t have much time so I went for Plan B…my doctored up cake mix recipe which is still totally delicious, by the way.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Then came the frosting. Oh, the frosting. I wanted to do a strawberry meringue buttercream, but after adding my puree to the mixture, the frosting just did not come together. Luckily I had powdered sugar on hand so that I was able to to just make some simple buttercream.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Despite my difficulties with these cupcakes, I was pretty happy with how these turned out. The cake is light and is perfectly moist. The fresh strawberry buttercream is definitely my favorite part though. It’s just magical and bursts with fresh strawberry flavor.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

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Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Yield: 18-24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 box vanilla cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the strawberry buttercream frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4-5 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh strawberry puree (about 1 1/2 cups hulled strawberries)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • milk (to thin out if needed)


For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and lightly spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Add the cake mix to a large bowl. Stir in the flour. Make a well in the center and add in the eggs, oil, milk, sour cream, pudding, and the vanilla extract. Mix everything together until just combined.
  3. Divide the batter evenly amongst each baking cup. I prefer for my cupcakes to be larger, so I fill mine to just over 3/4 of the way full.
  4. Bake for about 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow for the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

For the strawberry buttercream frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and confectioner's sugar.
  2. Pour in the strawberry puree and the vanilla extract and mix until the frosting is well-combined. If the frosting seems to thick, add some milk, one tablespoon at a time until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.
  3. Spread or pipe the frosting on cooled cupcakes. If you are going to pipe the frosting, I recommend putting the frosting in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes first as this will make the piping easier.

Because I like my cupcakes to be larger, I get about 18 out of this recipe instead of the usual 24 that a box of cake mix typically yields.bu

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

Looking for a doctored chocolate cake mix recipe? Go here!


51 Responses to “Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting”

  1. #
    Ramona — February 20, 2013 at 7:26 am

    I bet your boss will love them!! I love the freshness of the strawberries puree in the frosting. :)

    • Ramona replied: — February 20th, 2013 @ 7:26 am

      oops… I meant strawberry puree. :)

    • Stephanie replied: — February 21st, 2013 @ 1:53 am

      Thanks, Ramona! She loved them!

  2. #
    Liz — February 20, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Mmmmmm…..your buttercream sounds amazing! And I LOVE your cupcake papers…makes such a beautiful presentation!

    • Stephanie replied: — February 21st, 2013 @ 1:53 am

      Thank you, Liz! I got them at Michaels.

  3. #
    Jessica@AKitchenAddiction — February 20, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Love the fresh strawberries in the buttercream frosting!

    • Stephanie replied: — February 21st, 2013 @ 1:54 am

      Thanks, Jessica! The frosting is my favorite part!

  4. #
    Anne — February 20, 2013 at 9:36 am

    So pretty!!! Looove the cupcake liners, too!

    • Stephanie replied: — February 21st, 2013 @ 1:54 am

      Thanks girl!

  5. #
    Elaine @ Cooking to Perfection — February 20, 2013 at 9:37 am

    I love the red flecks of strawberry puree in the frosting. These are so adorable and look absolutely delicious. Hard to imagine your boss not devouring these!

    • Stephanie replied: — February 21st, 2013 @ 1:55 am

      Thank you, Elaine! I love the fresh strawberry puree in the frosting.

  6. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — February 20, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I have two birthdays in my office tomorrow and I know these cupcakes would be a huge hit!!! I have to gather all the ingredients and make these! Yum!!

    • Stephanie replied: — February 21st, 2013 @ 1:56 am

      These would be great to bring!

  7. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — February 20, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Summertime in dessert form :)

    • Stephanie replied: — February 21st, 2013 @ 1:56 am

      I know! I just couldn’t wait to start buying lots of strawberries!

  8. #
    RavieNomNoms — February 20, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    These put the biggest smile on my face. Remind me when I was little when I wouldn’t eat anything but vanilla and strawberry :-)

    • Stephanie replied: — February 21st, 2013 @ 1:59 am

      Thanks, Raven! I don’t blame you, strawberry and vanilla are the perfect combo!

  9. #
    Shawn @ I Wash...You Dry — February 20, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    I seriously want to lick my computer screen and taste some of that frosting!! YUM!

    • Stephanie replied: — February 21st, 2013 @ 1:59 am

      Haha, lick away!

  10. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — February 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    These lttle cupcakes are so adorably feminine and pretty! Lovely flavor and color!

    • Stephanie replied: — February 21st, 2013 @ 2:00 am

      Thanks, Georgia! I love how girly they are!

  11. #
    Monet — February 20, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    These are so beautiful…and I’m sure they tasted amazing. Baking mishaps can be such a pain, but it’s great when they turn out like this! Thank you for sharing another dose of inspiration. I hope you are having a great week and are staying warm.

    • Stephanie replied: — February 21st, 2013 @ 2:01 am

      Thank you for the kind words, Monet!

  12. #
    Emily @ Life on Food — February 20, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    These looks so yummy. I love the pink and your liners are so cute!

    • Stephanie replied: — February 21st, 2013 @ 2:02 am

      Thanks, Emily! The liners are so much fun, aren’t they?!

  13. #
    katie — February 20, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Yum! Strawberry buttercream–i’m sold!

    • Stephanie replied: — February 21st, 2013 @ 2:02 am

      Thanks, Katie! It’s the best part for sure!

  14. #
    Ali | Gimme Some Oven — February 20, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    Oh my goodness – that frosting looks unbelievable! These sound completely wonderful! :)

    • Stephanie replied: — February 21st, 2013 @ 2:03 am

      Thank you, Ali! The frosting is really amazing!

  15. #
    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — February 21, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Oh my gosh, Steph–these cupcakes are gorgeous! And that strawberry buttercream.. just pass me a spoon and I’m good!

  16. #
    Emily Lynne {The Best of this Life} — February 21, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    These are so beautiful, I would be super pleased to be the recipient of such a goodie!! I’m sure your boss was smitten!

  17. #
    a farmer in the dell — February 21, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Strawberry buttercream? I just had to wipe the drool from my face! Your boss is very lucky to have you. These sound amazing!

  18. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — February 21, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Gorgeous! You’ll be sure to get some brownie points with your boss!

  19. #
    Wendy @ AMFT — February 21, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! No doubt your boss loved them!

  20. #
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — February 22, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Strawberry cupcakes are my favorite, Stephanie! I love the way you did the frosting on these!

  21. #
    Honey What's Cooking — February 23, 2013 at 1:04 am

    gorgeous pictures, I once made strawberry cupcakes low fat and they were a disaster, these need to be full fat baby! love them.

  22. #
    JanetFCTC — February 24, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    I need to make these and hide in my closet with the entire batch and eat them. Mine! All mineeeeee!!! They look wonderful, Stephanie

  23. #
    Karly — February 26, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    These are gorgeous! I love that you can see the flecks of strawberry in the frosting!

    Thanks for linking up to What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!

    • Stephanie replied: — February 26th, 2013 @ 9:53 pm

      Thank you, Karly!! :)

  24. #
    Nicole — February 27, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Just made the cupcakes with strawberry cake mix and followed your recipe for the rest – they are amazing! Light, moist and scrumptious! I can’t wait to make the frosting! How does this frosting stand up to room temp? I’m thinking of piping them dolluped in the middle but don’t want them to lose their shape when they’re out.

    • Stephanie replied: — February 27th, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

      I’m so glad that you like the recipe, Nicole! As for the frosting, It will stand up okay if it is out for a few hours in room temperature. I like to stick my frosting in the fridge or the freezer for a little while after I mix it up as it makes it easier to pipe. Sometimes that helps it stand up nicer too.

  25. #
    Nicole — February 28, 2013 at 1:45 am

    Thanks for the tip, they turned out beautifully! And the frosting is phenomenal. Just phenomenal. I made it for a bake sale tomorrow and I know they’ll be a hit! That is, if I don’t eat them all tonight

  26. #
    Lisa — April 23, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Can I use frozen strawberries instead of fresh? Also, does it matter what kind of vanilla cake mix? French or golden?

    • Stephanie replied: — April 23rd, 2014 @ 4:49 pm

      Hi Lisa, I really recommend fresh over frozen, but you can use frozen. I would make sure they are completely thawed first though. If the frosting seems a little watery, you can add more powdered sugar. As for the cake mix, either is fine.

  27. #
    SJILOVETHESE — September 26, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I love your cupcakes! Can you make a gluten free version?

    • Stephanie replied: — September 26th, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

      Gluten-free baking is not my specialty, but you should be able to find gluten free recipes with a Google search!

  28. #
    SJILOVETHESE — September 26, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    is sour cream required?

    • Stephanie replied: — September 26th, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

      I highly recommend it in this recipe. It adds moisture to the cake.


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