Strawberry shortcake cupcakes are delicious dessert just made for summer parties. Celebrate berry season with this crowd-pleasing treat!
This post was originally published in March of 2016. I’ve updated the post with more information and tweaked the recipe to make it more user-friendly.
OK you guys. THIS is how we do summer here at IBK. Strawberry shortcake cupcakes! Dessert for your summer barbecues is covered. (And you can thank me later.)
Honestly. Is there anything cuter or more delicious than a cupcake filled with strawberries, topped with whipped cream frosting? I can’t even imagine what it would be.
Why you’ll love these strawberry shortcake cupcakes:
- You don’t need a stand mixer to make them!
- The filling and cupcakes can both be made ahead of time, then assembled and frosted when you’re ready to eat
- The ingredients are all readily available at any grocery store
How to Make the Cupcake Filling
The filling for these strawberry shortcake cupcakes is super simple, but it needs to chill for awhile before you use it, so make that before you make the cupcakes.
- Puree half of your berries in a food processor.
- Pour the puree into a small saucepan and add sugar and lemon juice. Boil for 2 minutes.
- Combine gelatin and water in a medium bowl and set aside, then mix in the puree.
- Chop the other half of your berries and fold that into the gelatin mixture. Then chill for 2 hours, or overnight it you want to make this ahead.
How to Make the Cupcakes
- Start by creaming room temperature unsalted butter together with granulated sugar. Mix in vanilla, salt, baking soda, and baking powder—see how the mixture in that first pic is crumbly? That’s normal!
- Beat in eggs to combine.
- Alternate adding flour and buttermilk until they’re both fully incorporated; don’t over-mix.
- Divide the batter between paper-lined muffin cups and bake.
Baker’s tip: If you don’t want to buy a whole carton of buttermilk just for this recipe, you can substitute an equal amount of whole milk mixed with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or white vinegar. Just mix them together, let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, and you’re ready to use it.
Note: If you want to make the cupcakes ahead of time, let them cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap. You can store them at room temperature this way overnight. Fill them and frost them just before serving.
How to Make Whipped Cream Frosting
The frosting for these strawberry shortcake cupcakes is a super simple stabilized whipped cream frosting. The addition of cream cheese allows the whipped cream to hold its shape for about 24 hours (which is why I refer to it as “stabilized”). Cream cheese also adds a delicious tang.
I don’t recommend frosting your cupcakes too far in advance because the cupcakes might get a little soggy, but it’s up to you.
If you don’t like cream cheese, you can omit that ingredient and just frost the cupcakes with whipped cream. However the whipped cream will not hold its shape for long so just be aware of that. (The cupcakes will be delicious either way, though!)
- To make the frosting, beat powdered sugar and room temperature cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until it’s very smooth and creamy.
- Slowly add heavy cream and beat until it holds stiff peaks, then mix in vanilla.
Baker’s tip: When you see a recipe specify that something (typically whipped cream or egg whites) should be beaten to stiff peaks, that means if you pull the beaters out of the mixture, it should stand straight up without collapsing in on itself.
How to Assemble Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
Once your cupcakes are cool and your filling has chilled, you’re ready to assemble them.
Use a sharp paring knife to cut a circle in the center of each cupcake. The hold should be about 1 inch across and go about three-quarters of the way down into the cupcake. Use the tip of the knife to hollow out the hole.
Fill each hole with about 1 tablespoon of filling; it’s OK if a little filling sticks out the top of the hole.
Then frost and serve! I used this open star tip to frost mine, but you could use pretty much any tip, or just spread the frosting right on top.
Can I substitute whipping cream for heavy cream?
The answer is sometimes—but not in this recipe. Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are the same thing; both contain at least 36% milk fat.
But heavy cream and whipping cream are not the same thing; whipping cream contains less milk fat, 30 to 35%. Using the right product matters here.
The frosting for these strawberry shortcake cupcakes calls for heavy cream; be sure the product you use is labeled “heavy cream” or “heavy whipping cream.”
Because of its higher fat content, heavy cream holds its shape better than whipping cream. Since you don’t want runny frosting on your cupcakes you need to use a product that will hold its shape.
The bottom line: USE HEAVY CREAM in this frosting or any other time you want whipped cream to hold its shape! Whipping cream is better for using in soups and sauces, or if you’re just going to dollop whipped cream on pie and you don’t care that it never whips up stiffly.
And there you have it. Strawberry shortcake cupcakes are definitely on my summer baking list. I think they belong on yours too! They’re totally worth turning the oven on even when it’s 120 degrees outside :).
But you probably don’t live in the same scorching heat that I do. . .
Did you make these strawberry shortcake cupcakes? Hooray! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment and a rating below. And post a pic on IG! Tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see (and share!) your creations!
Strawberry shortcake cupcakes are a portable version of a classic summer dessert. You'll love them!
- 10 ounces cleaned and hulled strawberries divided
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk*
- 4 ounces full-fat cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream well chilled**
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Slice about half of the strawberries, then puree them in a food processor. Pour the pureed berries into a small saucepan and add the sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble, stirring constantly.
- Allow the mixture to boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.
- Combine the gelatin and water in a medium bowl and set aside. Chop the remaining strawberries.
- Pour the cooked pureed berries into the bowl with the water and gelatin; stir until incorporated, then stir in the chopped berries. Refrigerate until thickened, about 2 hours (or up to overnight).
- While the mixture refrigerates, make your cupcakes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 13 to 14 muffin cups with paper liners and set pans aside.
- Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer set to medium until until blended. Beat in the vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well combined (mixture will be crumbly). Add the eggs and beat well.
- With mixer on low, beat in half of the flour followed by half of the buttermilk and beat to combine. Add the remaining flour mixture, then the remaining buttermilk and beat until just incorporated.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat a few seconds more. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full. Bake 16 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
- Remove cupcakes from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before filling and frosting them. (You can store them at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap, overnight if you want to make them ahead. Just don’t fill them too far in advance.)
- Once the cupcakes are cool and the filling is thickened, make your frosting.
- Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl until smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- With mixer on medium speed, gradually beat in the heavy cream. Once all the cream has been added, turn the mixer to high and beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks, then beat in the vanilla.
- Use a paring knife to cut a small circle of cake out of the center of each cupcake. The hole should be about 1 inch across and go about 3/4 of the way down into the cake. Use the tip of the knife to hollow out the hole. (See photos in post for a visual of this, if necessary.)
- Discard or eat the cake you trim from inside the cupcakes.
- Fill the cupcakes with about 1 tablespoon of filling—it’s ok if the filling sticks up a little out of the hole in the cupcake. Spread or pipe the frosting on top and serve.
- Uneaten cupcakes can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days or in the freezer, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months.
- *You can substitute whole milk mixed with 2 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar; allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes before you use it.
- **Be sure you use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream; regular whipping cream doesn't hold its shape well enough to be used as a frosting. See post for more information on this.
- The cupcakes and filling can be made a day ahead. Make the frosting and assemble your cupcakes just before you're ready to serve them.
Filling adapted from Food Network