Perfectly Pink Strawberry Cupcakes

It was my boyfriend's mom birthday this week so I knew I was going to whip up a batch of birthday cupcakes but I couldn't decide what kind. But when I went to the store and saw a sale on a large crate of perfectly ripe red strawberries, I knew strawberry cupcakes was just the ticket. No better way to celebrate Spring than with Perfectly Pink Strawberry Cupcakes.

These strawberry cupcakes definitely aren't made with any strawberry artificial flavor or gelatin, only the real deal. I started out by finely chopping up two full cups of strawberries.
And folded those juicy sweet strawberries right into a vanilla buttermilk batter. 
The cupcakes turned out so moist and full of chunks of strawberries, you could just eat them with out frosting like a not so healthy strawberry muffin ;) But a fluffy pink strawberry cream cheese frosting makes them even that much more perfect. 
I wanted the frosting to not just be perfectly smooth with a strawberry taste but also still have some smaller chunks of strawberries throughout because I like when people can see what they are eating. So I just finely chopped and then smashed with a fork a couple of strawberries and added that to basic vanilla cream cheese frosting. 

I love how addition of the strawberries made the frosting the same color as my mixer!! You can never have too much pink!

What I love about this strawberry cream cheese frosting is that its not overly sweet and really light and fluffy unlike many buttercream frostings that are just so heavy and sweet that you can only eat a little without feeling sick. This frosting you can seriously eat spoonfuls beware and don't say I didn't warn you :) 
I just frosted these cupcakes with a butter knife... this particular frosting is too runny to pipe on because I added so many chunks of strawberries and their natural juices. 
The cupcakes look beautiful with just a big smear of the pink frosting (the frosting was actually even a little pinker in person- the photos don't do it complete justice) but I thought it would be fun to top each cupcake with a big strawberry.
How fun to use the star ingredient as the main decoration so people know right away what flavor the cupcakes are.
You could also use strawberry slices to decorate if you aren't able to get your hands on such a big crate of strawberries like I was.
Look at those big chunks of strawberries in the cake...YUMMY!
These Perfectly Pink Strawberry Cupcakes were a hit. One of my friends who was a taste-tester doesn't even normally like strawberries desserts (weird I know) and loved them! Next time you are craving a sweet treat make sure to try out this recipe! 

Perfectly Pink Strawberry Cupcakes

For the Cake:
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup unsalted butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
¼ cup oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups chopped strawberries
For the Frosting:

4-5 large strawberries
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tbsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
Sift flour, salt and baking soda into a medium bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in chopped strawberries. Fill cupcake wells ¾ full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the frosting, finely chop the strawberries and then use a fork to mash them until only small pieces of strawberries remain and the juices are released. Beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add vanilla extract and the mashed strawberries and their juice until incorporated. Frost cupcakes and top each one with a whole strawberry.

adapted from Annie's Eats