3 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1¾ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups pureed fresh strawberries
Tip: Use standard measuring cups and spoons or scales for accurate measuring.
Mascarpone Cheese Frosting:
16 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
1½ cups whipping (heavy) cream
Fresh Strawberry halves
Sugar Sprinkles (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two standard 12-cup muffin pans; line with paper cupcake liners.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir the buttermilk and vanilla together. Set aside.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color.
With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 8 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale yellow color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugar, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed.
Tip: For each egg, crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the egg before adding to the creamed mixture. Start with the mixer on low speed so the liquid from the egg doesn’t splatter, once the egg is partially mixed increase the speed to medium. Each egg should be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next egg, taking about one minute to blend in each egg.
- With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the buttermilk mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula, gently fold the strawberries into the batter.
- Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners. Fill 2/3 full, using about ¼ cup of batter per cup.
Tip: Avoid over-filling the liners which may cause the batter to run-over the sides when baking. It is better to bake any remaining batter separately after the first pan of cupcakes has finished baking.
- Bake, rotating pan halfway through, 20 to 22 minutes, or until the cakes are just firm and spring back when gently pressed, and a toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly in cupcake pan, and turn out of pan when cool enough to handle. Repeat process with any remaining batter. Cool cupcakes completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting and decorating.
Mascarpone Cheese Frosting:
- In a large bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, vanilla, confectioners’ sugar, and whipping cream; use an electric mixer and beat together until mixture is smooth and stiff peaks form, about 2 to 4 minutes. Do not overbeat.
- Use a pastry bag and decorating tip to pipe the frosting.
- Place a strawberry half on top of the frosting. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles (optional.)
- Refrigerate frosted cupcakes until ready to serve. Refrigerate leftovers.