It’s June, and June means summer. Even if summer doesn’t technically start for a few weeks, I feel like it’s time to bake with summer flavors, like strawberry. I bought a ton of berries during my last grocery trip – berries are one of my favorite things – and decided to make a puree from some of the strawberries. While strawberry and lemon pair very well, I’d never made a strawberry lime combination, so I decided to give it a try.
These cupcakes use both lime extract and lime zest, but if you didn’t have extract you could just use a bit more zest. They have a lovely, almost pound cake-like texture that pairs well with a smooth buttercream. While lime is the dominant flavor in these treats, the strawberry brings a nice amount of sweetness; next time, I might use a bit less zest or omit the extract in the cupcakes so the flavor is more balanced. They’re still delicious, though, so I consider them a win.
For the cupcakes
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lime extract
- Zest of half a lime
- 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons cake flour
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
For the strawberry buttercream
- 10 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup strawberry puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners; this recipe made 21 cupcakes.
Combine milk, vanilla extract, and lime extract; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine cake flour, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, then reduce mixer speed to low and add butter a few cubes at a time. Continue to beat for about 2 minutes, until the mixture looks like coarse sand.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour in the milk mixture and add the lime zest. Return to medium speed and continue to beat for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl well; the batter will become almost fluffy.
Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of batter into prepared cupcake pans, filling about 1/2 to 2/3 full.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from pans immediately and cool completely on a wire rack before filling and frosting.
For the frosting, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and vanilla extract on low speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add first three cups of powdered sugar in half-cup increments, beating until fully incorporated.
Slowly add strawberry puree, mixing until completely incorporated, about 1-2 minutes, scraping your bowl well. If your mixture is too thin, slowly add more powdered sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, until you reach a consistency that will be easy to pipe.
Fit a piping bag with a large star tip (I use the Wilton M1) and pipe swirls of frosting onto each cupcake; my recipe made exactly enough for all 21 cupcakes, which is kind of amazing, because that never happens.
Store in an airtight container at a cool room temperature or in the fridge for 1-2 days.