What happens when you combine homemade strawberry filling, moist vanilla cupcakes, and decadent cream cheese frosting? You get Strawberry-Filled Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.
Look, I’m just as eager as the next person for the arrival of fall. Probably more eager, actually, because a lot of people don’t live in the sweltering humidity of summer in Mississippi. But while I’m 100 percent ready to embrace sweatshirts, football, and all things pumpkin, there are at least a few parts of summer that I’m not quite ready to let go of.
Case in point: strawberries, particularly when they’re in these Strawberry-Filled Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. These little beauties are a twist on a cake I’ve been making for years, which is a twist on a cake my mom has been making for years. I’ve yet to share that cake recipe because I can’t seem to keep it around long enough to get photos. Moist and delicate cake, fresh strawberries, and homemade cream cheese frosting? Yeah, you can see why the cake disappears to quickly.
These cupcakes are simply the cute portable version of that family favorite. I do my usual jazzing up of a store-bought cake mix, which results in fluffy cupcakes. Instead of layering sliced berries between big cake rounds, I make a fresh homemade sauce that’s packed with berry flavor. The thickened sauce gets spooned into a little pocket in the center of each cooked cupcakes, but it seeps into the cake to create an incredibly satisfying flavor combination. Neither the cake or the filling are overly sweet because the whole shebang is topped with the lightest, most decadent cream cheese frosting.
Strawberry-Filled Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Cupcakes
1 box white cake mix
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Filling
1 pint strawberries, hulled and diced (plus more for garnish, if desired)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbs corn starch
For the Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
8 oz. (one brick) cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, sour cream, milk, oil, and vanilla. Mix until ingredients are well-combined and few lumps remain. Spoon batter into muffin pans prepared with cupcake liners, filling each cup a little more than half full. Bake cupcakes for 17-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in pans for five minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack.
Prepare the strawberry filling while the cupcakes are baking. Combine diced berries and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until berries break down and are swimming in liquid, about ten minutes. If you want a smooth sauce, use an immersion blender to puree the mixture. If you prefer pieces of berries in your sauce (like I do), use a potato masher to break the strawberries into smaller pieces. Stir in the corn starch until fully incorporated and then allow mixture to cool.
Prepare the frosting while the cupcakes are cooling. In the bowl of a stand mixture combine butter and cream cheese. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, about five minutes. Mix in powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add vanilla and mix three minutes more, until frosting is fluffy.
To stuff the cupcakes remove a chunk of cake from the center of each one. This is best done using a cupcake corer, but a knife will do; just use a paring knife to remove a cone-shaped section from each cupcake. Set the removed pieces aside and spoon cooled strawberry filling into each one. Fill the whole of each cupcakes to the top, as the filling will seep into the cake. I usually go back and top off the filling in each. Place the cores back in the cupcakes, pressing gently to make them fit.
Frost cupcakes and garnish with strawberry pieces, if desired. Store cupcakes in fridge, but allow them about 30 minutes at room temperature to take the chill off.
Recipe yields about 18 cupcakes with leftover strawberry filling and frosting.
I’ve not tried it, but filling could likely made with any other berries.
Tools I Used
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