Strawberries are finally in full swing, which means that they smell like strawberries, look like strawberries (red inside and out!) and even taste like strawberries. I never really tire of baking with this lovely fruit, but baking with fruit does present its own special challenges: it tends to be wet so it upends the moisture balance in baking.
The solution this time? Make strawberry syrup! These gluten free strawberry cupcakes with sweet strawberry frosting are naturally pink (completely dye-free!) and undeniably impressive-looking.
You hardly need any sugar to make the strawberry syrup, since the strawberries themselves are really quite sweet right now. You can even use frozen strawberries if they’re not in season where you live—just thaw them first!
I went for the rustic frost on these sweet little cupcakes since it just seemed very back-to-the-earth. But of course you could pipe on the frosting and make it all fancy and stuff.
I couldn’t resist adding another dollop of strawberry syrup on top of each cupcake, since you don’t use all of the syrup in the recipe and it’s just so … pretty (and smells so good!). There are so many more things you can do with the leftover syrup, too: drizzle it on vanilla (or strawberry!) ice cream, whip it into cannoli filling, ooooh or maybe use it to make strawberry milk!
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Prep time:Cook time:Yield:15 cupcakes
For the strawberry syrup 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 to 4 tablespoons lukewarm water
For the cupcakes 1 3/4 cups (245 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used my mock Cup4Cup)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg (60 g, out of shell) plus 1 egg white (30 g) at room temperature, beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup (2.7 fluid ounces) strawberry syrup, at room temperature
1/3 cup (2.7 fluid ounces) milk, at room temperature
Strawberry Frosting 14 tablespoons (196 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 to 4 cups (400 to 460 g) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 fluid ounces) strawberry syrup, at room temperature
Milk by the half-teaspoonful at room temperature, as necessary
First, make the strawberry syrup. In a medium-size, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the strawberries, sugar, salt and 3 tablespoons water, and mix to combine. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally and adding the remaining tablespoon of water if necessary to prevent the mixture from burning, until the strawberries are softened and the liquid has reduced by about 1/4. Remove from the heat and place the contents of the saucepan in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pass the strawberry syrup through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. Set the syrup aside to cool.
Make the cupcakes. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease or line the wells of a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set it aside. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, egg, egg white, vanilla, strawberry syrup and milk, mixing to combine after each addition until just combined. Fill the prepared wells of the muffin tin about 3/4 of the way full with the batter, and shake into an even layer.Place the muffin tin in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean (about 19 minutes). Remove from the oven and and allow to cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the frosting while the cupcakes are cooling. In the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, place the butter and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add 3 1/2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar and the salt, and beat on low speed until the sugar is absorbed by the butter. Add the strawberry syrup and beat to combine. The frosting should be light and fluffy, and should hold its shape easily when scooped with a spoon. Add more confectioners’ sugar and/or milk by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
Finish the cupcakes. Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost the cupcakes generously with the frosting, and top with a small dollop of the remaining strawberry syrup.