These treats bring big, bright spring energy to your table, no matter what time of year it is! The cupcakes bake up soft, sweet, and flavorful, thanks to lots of fresh strawberries and rich, delicious Dinner Bell Unsalted Butter. The macerated strawberries on top add another layer of deliciousness, and the buttercream is dreamy in every way — simple to make, super rich and buttery, and as fluffy and creamy as a cloud in the sky.
- To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 1 ½ muffin tins with paper liners.
- Pulse ½ of the strawberries in a food processor or blender to form a chunky purée, about 15 pulses. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together the 2 ⅓ cups flour, the baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the egg whites to a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a clean stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until combined.
- Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 additions alternating with the milk and lemon juice, mixing each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the strawberry purée and then the egg whites. Toss the remaining diced strawberries with the remaining 1 teaspoon of flour, and gently fold them in.
- Spoon the batter into cupcake liners, filling each well ⅔ of the way. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when gently touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To macerate the strawberries: In a medium bowl toss together the diced strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- To make the buttercream: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring 1 inch of water to a simmer. In a medium heat-proof bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt.
- Place the bowl over a pot, whisk gently until the eggs reach 160ºF on an instant-read thermometer, about 6 minutes. Make sure the water does not rise above a gentle simmer.
- Transfer the meringue to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until light, fluffy, and room temperature, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the butter 1 piece at a time. Once the butter is incorporated, increase the speed to high and whip until light and fluffy, 1 minute.
- To assemble the cupcakes: Spoon about 1 tablespoon of macerated strawberries on top of each cupcake. Transfer the buttercream to a large piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe and swirl the buttercream on top to taste.
- Enjoy! Leftover cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.