Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

This post is sponsored by Greetabl, but all thoughts and ideas are my own.

I am so excited to be working with one of my favorite partners again on something special. If you aren’t familiar with Greetabl, they are a small business that creates custom gifts for every occasion. You pick a custom box design (designed by different artists) and add a custom message to the recipient and well as photos that they can tear off and save. Then you choose a small gift to go inside the box. They work with a lot of small businesses as well. Some items you can find include candles, candies, jewelry, keychains, card games, tea, beauty supplies, enamel pins, and more!

For this collaboration I created a small batch dessert, vanilla cupcakes with strawberry buttercream frosting. It makes six cupcakes which is perfect for date night (and a few leftovers for the following days) or even an at home celebration with your family and kiddos. They are fun to make, delicious, and can be customized with fun sprinkles, like my favorite from Sprinkle Pop.

I can’t wait to share more about this collaboration with you all below with this recipe and the whole date night with details, set-up, etc. over on the post: Valentine’s Date Night.

small batch cupcakes

Table of Contents

freeze dried strawberries in a blender blended

What makes a cupcake light and fluffy?

Cupcakes take a few things to become light and fluffly, let’s chat about them.

  1. Whipping your batter creates air within it. Whipping it for about 2 minutes of just butter and sugar is ideal. Then keeping the speed fairly low because you can OVER WHIP. If you over mix, you could end up adding too much air, which causes the cupcakes to fall.
  2. Add in your flour in two batches and slowly. If you add it too fast or too much at a time you might lose the air you added in with the wet ingredients.
  3. Egg whites can contribute to a light and airy cupcake. Although egg yolks add fat and moisture, egg white can add air.
  4. Sifting your flour, baking soda, and baking powder can also add some air to the batter.
whipped strawberry buttercream frosting in a bowl

What is the secret to super moist cupcakes?

There are a lot of methods to get a super moist cupcake. Mine takes a few different methods. However, be sure to use thick or double up on your cupcake liners, because they are definitely moist.

  1. Adding in extra fat content. The fat in this is the butter and the egg. You can get even more moisture from swapping out butter for a neutral oil. However, oil does make cakes a bit denser. So, I like to mix a moist, but light and fluffy, so I use butter.
  2. Egg yolks! I do have another vanilla cupcake recipe (yields 30 cupcakes) that uses lots of egg whites and they are super fluffy, but need 2 yolks for moist. Linked here: Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.
strawberry buttercream frosting in a piping bag

How do I make a batch of six cupcakes?

Ingredients

Vanilla Cupcakes

Wet Ingredients

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg large, room temperature

½ tsp vanilla extract, can be clear for a whiter cake

Dry Ingredients

1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp flour

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

Milk

1/4 cup milk, room temperature

Strawberry Buttercream

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

½ tsp vanilla extract

2 cups powdered sugar sifted 1-2 times

1 cup freeze dried strawberries, divided

2 ½ Tbsp Milk

Optional Toppings

Sprinkles

Edible flowers

small batch vanilla cupcakes with strawberry buttercream with berries and flowers

How do you make a small batch of cupcakes from scratch?

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare 1 muffin/cupcake pan with oil or cupcake liners. If using a cupcake pan with 12 wells, prepare the middle 6 and two side/middle wells.
  2. In a stand mixer beat your butter and sugar for about 2 minutes on a medium-low speed with a paddle attachment, until fluffy. crape sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Add in your egg and egg white until thoroughly combined. Scrape down sides of bowls. Then add your vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. In a medium-large mixing bowl mix your dry ingredients for the cake and mix (flour, baking flour and soda, salt).
  5. In 2 batches add in your dry mixture into the wet mixture on a lower speed, alternating with 1 batch of your milk. 1/2 dry ingredients, the milk, 1/2 dry ingredients. Don’t over mix.
  6. Scoop batter evenly into 6 cupcake liners/wells, filling only 2/3 full. There might be about 1 Tbsp of batter in the bowl, which is fine.
  7. Lightly slam the cake pans on the counter to try to get rid of any major air bubbles. Fill up remaining 6 wells with 1 Tbsp of water.
  8. Bake each for about 16-19 minutes. Check with a toothpick until clean. Pull cupcake pan out of the oven and let the cupcakes cook in the pan for about 10-15 minutes. Then remove cupcakes onto a cooling rack until cooled to room temperature.
cupcake with strawberry frosting and sprinkles

How do you make strawberry buttercream frosting from scratch?

  1. Using your mixer and the paddle attachment again, whip the butter for 8 minutes on medium speed. Scrape sides of the bowl every 1-2 minutes or as needed. The butter will become very creamy! Add in the vanilla until combined.
  2. While butter is mixing, pulverize freeze dried strawberries in a blender or food processor until large chunks are gone. Mine took about 60 seconds.
  3. Sift the powdered sugar into a separate bowl. Then sift 3 Tbsp of strawberry dust into that same bowl. Mix gently, it won’t full incorporate since they are different textures.
  4. Add the powdered sugar strawberry mixture into the butter in 2 batches. Go slowly until incorporated, scraping sides of bowl as needed, then mix on medium for 1 additional minute. The frosting should become very light and fluffy.
  5. Add in milk ½ Tbsp at a time and incorporate. You might find you need a little less milk or a tad bit more to get it the right consistency for your preference of piping.

Assembling cupcakes?

  1. Place frosting into a piping bag and use your favorite tip. Take a cooled cupcake and pipe frosting on top of cupcake.
  2. Decorate as desired. You can add full strawberries, sliced strawberries, sprinkles, edible glitter, or powdered sugar.
close up with of strawberry frosting with sprinkles

FAQs on Small Batch Cupcakes

Do you let cupcakes cool before frosting?

Yes! Always cool them fully. Let them sit in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then move to a cooling rack/cooling grid to cool fully. If you add the frosting while cupcakes are still warm, the frosting will melt and slide off.

How can I make strawberry frosting taste better?

This is all about the pulverized strawberries. They add the most flavor. Be sure to sift them through a sieve to keep about the seeds, but this adds the best flavor. Also adding in just the little bit of vanilla extract pulls out even more of the strawberry flavor.

Other Recipes to Try

small batch cupcakes

Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 52 minutes
Servings: 6 cupcakes
Author: Amanda Wilens

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer

Ingredients

Vanilla Cupcakes
    Wet Ingredients
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 egg room temperature, large
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract can be clear for a whiter cake
    Dry Ingredients
    • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp flour
    • ½ tsp baking powder
    • ¼ tsp baking soda
    • ¼ tsp salt
    Milk
    • 1/4 cup milk room temperature
    Strawberry Buttercream
    • ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 cups powdered sugar sifted 1-2 times
    • 1 cup freeze dried strawberries divided
    • 2 ½ Tbsp milk
    Optional Toppings
    • Sprinkles
    • Edible flowers

    Instructions

    Cupcakes

    • Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare 1 muffin/cupcake pan with oil or cupcake liners. If using a cupcake pan with 12 wells, prepare the middle 6 and two side/middle wells.
    • In a stand mixer beat your butter and sugar for about 2 minutes on a medium speed with a paddle attachment, until fluffy. crape sides of bowl as needed.
    • Add in your egg and egg white until thoroughly combined. Scrape down sides of bowls. Then add your vanilla and mix until combined.
    • In a medium-large mixing bowl mix your dry ingredients for the cake and mix (flour, baking flour and soda, salt).
    • In 2 batches add in your dry mixture into the wet mixture on a lower speed, alternating with 1 batch of your milk. 1/2 dry ingredients, the milk, 1/2 dry ingredients. Don’t over mix.
    • Scoop batter evenly into 6 cupcake liners/wells. Lightly slam the cake pans on the counter to try to get rid of any major air bubbles. Fill up remaining 4 wells with 1 Tbsp of water.
    • Bake each for about 16-19 minutes. Check with a toothpick until clean. Pull cupcake pan out of the oven and let the cupcakes cook in the pan for about 10-15 minutes. Then remove cupcakes onto a cooling rack until cooled to room temperature.

    Small Batch Strawberry Buttercream

    • Using your mixer and the paddle attachment again, whip the butter for 8 minutes on medium speed. Scrape sides of the bowl every 1-2 minutes or as needed. The butter will become very creamy! Add in the vanilla until combined.
    • While butter is mixing, pulverize freeze dried strawberries in a blender or food processor until large chunks are gone. Mine took about 60 seconds.
    • Sift the powdered sugar into a separate bowl. Then sift 3 Tbsp of strawberry dust into that same bowl. Mix gently, it won’t full incorporate since they are different textures.
    • Add the powdered sugar strawberry mixture into the butter in 2 batches. Go slowly until incorporated, scraping sides of bowl as needed, then mix on medium for 1 additional minute. The frosting should become very light and fluffy.
    • Add in milk ½ Tbsp at a time and incorporate. You might find you need a little less milk or a tad bit more to get it the right consistency for your preference of piping.

    Assemble the Cupcakes

    • Place frosting into a piping bag and use your favorite tip. Take a cooled cupcake and pipe frosting on top of cupcake.
    • Decorate as desired. You can add full strawberries, sliced strawberries, sprinkles, edible glitter, or powdered sugar.

    Notes

    – How to get eggs room temperature: I would suggest leaving them on the counter for 1-2 hours to get room temp. However, if you forget or run out of time, another option is to place the eggs into a bowl of warm water (not hot) for about 10-15 minutes.
    – How to get butter room temperature: I usually leave mine on a plate on the counter for a couple hours. Or maybe on the oven if it’s being used for something else. If you are in a hurry you can zap in the microwave in very short increments. Just don’t melt it.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 637kcal | Carbohydrates: 101g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 578mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 83g | Vitamin A: 775IU | Vitamin C: 482mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 9mg
    Tried this recipe?Mention @amanda.wilens or tag #amandawilensmakes