Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a commission if you make a purchase using the link (click here for more information).
Pretty sure these are the best cupcakes I’ve ever made. The filling and buttercream were amazing. I can’t take any credit for a recipe for the actual cake part, so this post focuses on the filling, frosting, and putting it all together at the end. If you need a good vanilla cupcake recipe, try this one from Natasha’s Kitchen.
Ingredients – Filling
2 cups quartered strawberries
⅔ cup sugar
3 tbsp water
1 cup heavy cream
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (have a second package on hand just in case)
You will likely have some left over. This is definitely enough for 3 dozen, maybe even 4 (I’ll report back on this when I make the next batch.) I did 2 dozen and froze the rest of the filing for next time.
Ingredients – Vanilla Buttercream
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tsp heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter at room temperature
Colored sugar sprinkles or food coloring (optional)
Double the buttercream recipe if you like your icing super high (higher than the photo). This was just enough for 24 cupcakes frosted as shown in the photo.
Star baking the cupcakes before you start making the filling. This will allow the cupcakes enough time to cool before you fill and frost them.
Puree the strawberries. I used the Vitamix, but you could use any blender or food processor.
Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat to low and continue to cook while stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved. Add the strawberry puree, combine, cook over low for a few minutes, and put it in the fridge to cool.
Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Fold in the strawberry mixture. It’s OK if the strawberry mixture is not super cold at this point, but you don’t want it to be hot. Put the mixture in the fridge to chill. Once mixed, it will need to be cold for the next step. You can move on to the buttercream while it’s chilling.
Once the strawberry-cream mixture is cold (it’s very important for it to be cold!), add the package of vanilla pudding mix and beat for 2 minutes. Give it a few minutes to set. It shouldn’t be runny. It’s OK if it’s looser than a normal pudding or custard, but if it’s flowing right out of your piping bag before you even squeeze, it’s too runny. It’s OK if a small amount drips out.
- Troubleshooting – Too runny? Make sure you’ve left it in the fridge for several minutes to set. Still too runny? Whisk in another package of pudding mix. Start with half of a package, whisk in for at least a minute, let it sit for a few minutes to see how it sets. Add the rest if needed. Too firm? Whisk in some milk, a little at a time, until it loosens up enough.
Use the paddle attachment to your stand mixer – bonus if you have one with the flex edge.
Beat butter until it’s fluffy, then beat in the vanilla. Beat in powdered sugar and heavy cream by alternating ½ cup of powdered sugar and ½ tsp of heavy cream. Wait until the powdered sugar is fully incorporated before adding the next ½ cup. (This is a good time to use the pouring shield for your stand mixer. The powdered sugar tends to fly.)
Add sugar sprinkles or food coloring at the end. I just shook the sprinkles in until the buttercream turned pink and the sprinkles were incorporated throughout.
Finish the Cupcakes!
When the cupcakes and filling are fully cooled, use an apple corer to make a hole for the filling in the center of each cupcake.
Add filling to a piping bag. You can also use a plastic zip-top bag with a corner cut off if you don’t have a piping bag. I highly recommend using a piping bag with a tip for this, though, because it really gets the filling distributed throughout the center.
Pipe buttercream on top of each cupcake. I used Wilton tip #32.