Rich, moist, and bursting with strawberry flavor, these dense little cupcakes are more like pound cake than your typical cupcake. Be sure to have all ingredients at room temperature, about 70° F, before mixing. The recipe may be doubled, and the cakes freeze beautifully.
Put butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and fit it with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to high. Keep mixing on high speed until it looks light and fluffy, about 8 minutes. This is called “creaming.” While you are creaming the butter and sugar, stop the mixer two or three times to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
While the butter/sugar mixture is creaming, sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the gelatin to mix well. Set aside until needed.
In a separate bowl, mix the mashed strawberries, milk, and vanilla together. Reduce speed to low, and add one egg. Turn the speed back to high and mix until the egg is combined with the butter mixture. Add another egg in the same manner until it is combined with the butter mixture. Repeat with the last egg.
When eggs are completely mixed into the butter mixture, reduce speed to low and add 1/3 of the flour mixture. When the flour is combined with the other ingredients, add half of the milk mixture. Turn the mixer on medium speed and mix until the ingredients are combined.
Reduce speed to low and add another 1/3 of the flour mixture. Mix to combine. Throughout the mixing process, turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
Add remaining milk mixture. Increase speed to medium and mix together well. Reduce speed to low and add the remaining flour mixture. Mix on low speed for a few seconds, then raise the speed to medium. Mix until you have a smooth batter.
With an ice cream scoop*, scoop an even amount of batter into each muffin cup. Bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove cupcakes from oven and cool completely. Pipe or spread frosting onto the cooled cupcakes, then decorate with your favorite sprinkles and decorations.
Make It Ahead: The baked and completely cooled cupcakes will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
*Helpful Hint: Spray the inside of the ice cream scoop lightly with vegetable oil spray before scooping the cookies. The dough will slide out easily and the scoop will be a breeze to clean!.
Makes 12 cupcakes
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Increase the speed to high, and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Throughout the mixing process, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
Put the frosting in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes before you try to use it for piping or spreading on the cupcakes. This will help to stiffen up the frosting.
Make It Ahead: Make the frosting up to 3 days in advance. Store, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator. The baked and completely cooled unfrosted cupcakes will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups