cakes spring and summer recipes

small batch strawberry cupcakes

these small batch strawberry cupcakes are perfect for a small summer celebration or as a "just because" weekday treat. they are made from a light, airy and buttery strawberry cake. topped with sweet and tart strawberry buttercream frosting. in a word, they are YUM. very, very yum!

these small batch strawberry cupcakes are packed with all the sweet, tart strawberry flavor you could ever want! they boast fresh strawberry puree in the cake, freeze dried strawberry buttercream and a dusting of strawberry powder on top. they are THE little cakes I want to eat all spring and summer. you know what? I think I might! (hence the small batch feature!! ) read on to find out why!

you asked, I made!

I do a lot of polls over on instagram. it’s nice to connect and see what you guys want to bake! a year later and small batch is still as popular as it has ever been! in fact, im rolling out a cute little 6″ cake next month. (hint: it makes the perfect small batch of cupcakes, too!) these strawberry cupcakes took several rounds of testing to get them just right. I hope you love them as much as I do!

these cute little berry filled cakes are best described as

  • light
  • tender
  • sweet
  • tart
  • buttery
  • fluffy white cake speckled with bits of fresh strawberry puree
  • topped with a sweet, cream and tart frosting
  • the perfect amount for a small gathering or just because!

before you head to the store

make sure you grab these basic, but key ingredients

  • fresh strawberries
  • cake flour
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • granulated sugar
  • lime or lemon
    • zest for flavor, recommend but optional
  • rose water
    • im a little obsessed with this
    • I love to pair this potent extract anytime I use berries
    • just a few drops goes a long way!
    • highly recommend, but this is optional
  • vanilla extract
  • unsalted butter
  • egg
  • sour cream, whole milk yogurt or plain greek yogurt
  • whole milk (or milk of choice)
  • confectioners sugar
  • mascarpone
  • freeze dried strawberries

from these ingredients you will make the small batch strawberry cupcakes, strawberry mascarpone buttercream and the dusting of freeze dried strawberries for the topping

small batch strawberry cupcakes

baking tools for the perfect small batch cupcake

  • 6 or 12 ct. standard size muffin pan
    • these are not jumbo muffins!
  • cupcake liners
  • spice grinder or food processor
    • to create the powder from the freeze dried strawberries
    • to puree the strawberries before reducing
  • medium sauce pan
    • to reduce the pureed strawberries
  • stand mixer with both whisk and paddle attachments
    • or electric hand mixer with beaters
  • medium cookie scoop:
    • this is a great tool for scooping even scoops of cake batter into the liners
  • cooling rack
    • for cooling cupcakes
  • pastry bag with preferred frosting tips
    • sub frosting bag with plastic bag
    • or apply frosting with icing spatula or spoon
small batch strawberry cupcakes

my best tips and tricks to get the best small batch strawberry cupcakes

substitutions for this recipe:

  • cake flour: this is the preferred flour for these cupcakes. if you can’t find cake flour, you can do a DIY version!
    • measure 1 c (120g) all purpose flour
    • scoop out 2 tbsp (15g) flour
    • replace the 2 tbsp all purpose flour with 2 tbsp cornstarch
    • sift this new mixture together 4 times
    • you know have an approximate version of 1 c (120g) cake flour
    • this recipe calls for 2/3 c (90g) cake flour
  • strawberries: no strawberries? no problem!
    • use any berries you like!
    • make sure to puree and reduce down before using in the recipe
  • sour cream, whole milk yogurt or greek yogurt: this gives the cupcakes tons of moisture
    • sub with any of the listed approximate ingredients
    • aim for a total of 1/2 c
  • rose water and lime: both lovely flavor boosters for the strawberry
    • replace the lime with lemon or orange
    • replace the rose water with orange blossom water or omit completely
  • freeze dried strawberries: I prefer these to fresh berries for the frosting. if you can’t find:
    • plan on making double the amount of reduced strawberry puree
      • use 1-3 tbsp in the frosting to replace the freeze dried berries
  • mascarpone: I love this cheese for the texture and sweet creamy flavor
    • use cream cheese to replace it in the buttercream
    • or replace with an equal amount of butter

tips and tricks for this recipe:

  • read through the recipe before starting!
    • there are several prep steps you will need to have completed before starting the recipe
  • use room temperature ingredients unless stated
  • separate the egg yolks from the egg whites while the eggs are cold!
    • cold eggs separate more easily than room temperature eggs
    • sift the white from the yolk using your hands OR use this nifty tool
  • rub the sugar and any flavorings together
    • this means zesting the lime straight into the sugar
    • adding the extracts and waters right into the sugar
    • this extracts the most flavor from those ingredients
  • fill the cupcakes 2/3 full for a nice even top cupcake shape
    • if you have leftover batter, make another cupcake
  • yes, you need to puree and reduce the strawberries for this recipe to work
    • too much liquid means a ruined cupcake
    • this is the best way to get all the fresh berry taste while keeping the cake light and fluffy
  • take care not to use a “heavy hand” while mixing
    • the goal is to keep the whipped air in the cake
    • try not to mix too much once you begin to add the dry ingredients to the wet
small batch strawberry cupcakes

don’t forget the frosting tips!

  • do not over mix the mascarpone
    • doing so can cause the cheese to break and look grainy
    • if this causes you to feel nervous, swap this with cream cheese!
  • if the buttercream is too warm to pipe onto the cupcakes:
    • just pop it into the pastry bag
    • chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes
    • check the structure
    • if needed, chill an additional 5-10 minutes
  • the buttercream can be made in advanced and stored in an airtight container in the freezer (long term ) or fridge (1-2 days)
    • bring to room temperature before using on the cupcakes
  • the cupcakes must be room temperature or chilled before applying the buttercream
  • frosted cupcakes should be stored in the fridge
small batch strawberry cupcakes
small batch strawberry cupcakes

more berry recipes to love!

small batch strawberry cupcakes

small batch strawberry cupcakes

these small batch strawberry cupcakes are made from a light, airy and buttery strawberry cake. topped with sweet and tart strawberry buttercream frosting. they are perfect for a small summer celebration or as a "just because" weekday treat.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Cooling Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins
Course Celebrations, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6 cupcakes


  • citrus zester
  • spice grinder or food processor
  • medium sauce pan
  • stand mixer with paddle and whisk attachments
  • OR electric hand mixer with beaters and bowl
  • 6 or 12 ct. muffin pan (standard size)
  • cupcake liners
  • cookie scoop, optional
  • pipping bag with frosting tip, optional


reduced strawberry puree

  • 1 c fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled and halved this will be reduced down to 1/2 c puree and reduced further to 1/4 c once cooked

small batch strawberry cupcakes

  • 2/3 c (90g) cake flour see notes for DIY version
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c (100g) granulated or superfine sugar
  • zest of one lime
  • 1/4 tsp rose water, optional up to 1/2 tsp if you like!
  • 4 tbsp (57g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 (45g) large egg white, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp (45g) sour cream or greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp (45ml) whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 c (59ml) reduced strawberry puree, room temperature

strawberry mascarpone buttercream frosting

  • 1/2 c (12g) freeze dried strawberries, reduced into strawberry powder
  • 6 oz. mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 6 tbsp (85g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2- 2 1/2 c (150-212g) confectioners (powdered sugar), sifted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tsp (10-20ml) milk as needed
  • pinch of salt
  • freeze dried berries for dusting on top, optional


reduced strawberry puree

  • Place prepared strawberries into a food processor. Blend/process until the berries are reduced to a liquid. Pour the strawberries into a medium sauce pan. Heat over medium heat until reduced by half (1/4 c), about 25-30 minutes.
    Cool to room temperature, about 20-30 minutes before using in the recipe.

small batch strawberry cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Line a standard 6 or 12 ct. muffin pan with 6 cupcake liners. Set aside 1-2 more in case of extras. Set the pan aside.
  • Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt together. Whisk together until well combined. Set aside.
  • Pour the sugar into a large mixing bowl. Zest the lime straight into the sugar. Add rose water and vanilla extract into the sugar. Using your hands or the whisk attachment, rub the sugar and flavorings together until a wet sand like texture appears.
  • Add the evenly cubed room temperature butter to the sugar. Beat butter and flavored sugar together on high for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg white. Beat on high for 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl along the sides and bottom.
  • Beat in the sour cream or yogurt until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl and beat all wet ingredients on medium high an additional 30 seconds.
  • Sift in 1/2 of the dry ingreidents into the wet. Stir by hand or on the lowest setting on the mixer until just combined. Add in the milk. Stir until just combined. Add in the remaining dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, with a few flour streaks still visible.
    Add in the cooled reduced strawberry puree. Stir on the lowest setting until combined.
  • Using a medium (2tbsp) cookie scoop, scoop even amount of cake batter into each of the lined muffin wells up to 2/3 full.
    If there is a lot of extra batter, line 1-2 more muffin wells with a cupcake liner. If there is just a little batter remaining, distribute evenly in all the filled cupcakes.
  • Bake in the center of the oven at 350 F/ 177C for 20-22 minutes. The center of the cake should bounce back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.
    Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Remove the cupcakes and cool an additional 30 minutes on the cooling rack until room temperature. Top with strawberry buttercream or enjoy as is!

strawberry mascarpone buttercream frosting

  • Process the freeze dried berries into a fine powder. Set aside.
  • Using a paddle attachment, beat the evenly cubed butter until light and fluffy. Add in the mascarpone. On the lowest setting, beat both together until combined. Go slow and stop frequently to scrape down the paddle and bowl.
    Once the butter and mascarpone are smooth and well combined, add 1 c sifted powdered sugar, strawberry powder, vanilla extract, 2 tsp milk and salt. Beat on low to combine. Once mostly combined, add 1/2 c sugar at a time until all the sugar has been added. Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl. Beat on high until smooth and creamy. Add 1-2 tsp more milk if needed.
  • Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Crush more freeze dried strawberries on top or top with one fresh strawberry for each cupcake.


diy cake flour: for 1 c (120-125g) cake flour, remove 2 tbsp (15g) all purpose flour from the 1 c all purpose flour. replace the 2 tbsp with an equal amount of corn starch. sift the new mixture together 3-4 times to fully blend together. 
since this recipe calls for 2/3, you can follow the above mentioned method with some flour leftover or you can scoop 4 teaspoons of cornstarch into a measuring cup. add all purpose flour leveled to the top to make 2/3 c using the spoon and level method. sift together 3-4 times. follow the remainder of the recipe as written. 
Keyword small batch baking, small batch cupcakes, strawberry and rose water, strawberry cupcakes with strawberry buttercream
did you make this recipe?tag @olivesnthyme on Instagram

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