These sweet Almond Cupcakes filled with roasted strawberry puree and topped with this incredible Strawberry Buttercream, make for a delicious sweet treat. They make the perfect bake for baby showers, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Spring afternoon treats or Summer picnics!
We are big strawberry fans in my household and I've been wanting to incorporate a strawberry buttercream with a cupcake for a while. In terms of flavour unisons, strawberries and almonds are a perfect match and make these cupcakes a dreamy creation.
I adore baking with fruit, especially with strawberries as their natural sweetness goes hand in hand with baked goods. My Strawberry Crepes, Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars, Victoria Sponge Cupcakes and Roasted Strawberry Mascarpone Icecream hero this divine fruit well.
The sweet nutty almond flavour in the tender, light sponge is filled with the surprise roasted strawberry puree that soaks ever so slightly into the almond sponge leaving you with a delectable cupcake.
The puree is also added to a traditional American buttercream resulting in the prettiest shade of pink frosting that tastes divine atop the almond cupcakes. Not only do these look absolutely gorgeous, but they also taste even better than they look!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Unbelievable flavour. Roasting the strawberries accentuates their sweet flavour so much and this, teamed with the almond cupcakes, creates unreal flavour.
- They are the sweetest to look at. These are over the top girlie, I know, but let's roll with it! The pale, delicate almond sponge with that beautiful pale pink buttercream is pretty as a picture.
- Both elements are simple to make. The almond cupcakes come together in ten minutes and after a quick stint in the oven, they don't take long to cool. The strawberries can be roasted whilst they are cooling and buttercream is made in only a couple of minutes.
- Butter: I prefer to use unsalted to control the salt added later in the recipe. If using salted butter then omit the salt later on. Ensure butter is at room temperature.
- Sugar: Beat the sugar with the butter for a full 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. This incorporates air which results in a light and tender sponge. Make sure the butter is at room temperature first!
- Eggs: Use large and ensure they are at room temperature.
- Almond Extract: This is an optional ingredient. It intensifies the almond flavour. Feel free to sub out with vanilla extract if you'd prefer.
- Flour: Use plain flour (all-purpose), not self-raising flour as there is baking powder to help lift the sponge.
- Ground Almonds: The ground almonds add incredible moisture and nuttiness to the cupcakes. We also call them almond meal here in the UK. Don't be mistaken for almond flour, this is a different product- more on that in my FAQ section below.
- Baking Powder: The leavening agent for the cupcakes.
- Salt: Always required to cut through the sweetness. It helps balance out the flavour. I find American Buttercream can be overly sweet and definitely needs a pinch of salt.
- Whole Milk: Substitute with almond, oat or soy milk, yogurt, sour cream or creme fraiche. Whatever you have on hand. The batter needs just a little loosening up.
- Chopped Almonds- these actually get used to decorate the cupcakes with. It's an optional extra but I love that it carries on the flavour of the almonds into another crunchy, textural element. Info on toasting almonds in the notes section of the recipe card.
Roasted Strawberry Buttercream
Don't be intimidated by the roasted part. It's super simple to do and you only need strawberries and sugar to do this part.
- Strawberries - Go for seasonally juicy and ripe strawberries that will bake beautifully. The riper they are=the more flavour you'll get.
- Sugar - I add just a little sugar tossed with the strawberries in the roasting pan. As the sugar heats and breaks down into liquid form, it will help draw out the natural juices from the strawberries and slightly caramelise in the pan. Again- great for flavour!
The buttercream uses a very simple and standard list of ingredients.
- Butter. Like in the Almond Cupcakes, I like to use unsalted butter so that I can control how much salt I need to use.
- Powdered Icing Sugar. The basis of any great American buttercream. If there are any lumps when you weigh it out then pass it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove them.
- Vanilla Extract & Salt. The vanilla extract added more layers to the flavouring, plus the salt counteracts the sweetness.
- Strawberry Puree. once the strawberries are roasted, they take about 5 seconds to whizz in the blender. Adding a couple of tablespoons flavours and naturally colours the buttercream. The remaining puree gets spooned into the centre of each cupcake as an extra little strawberry kick!
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
Let's dive nose deep into How we make these Almond Cupcakes and then how to make the Strawberry Buttercream. Even though I've broken it down into lots of process shots, you'll see just how quickly both the cupcakes and the buttercream come together.
Almond Meal Cupcakes
1. Preheat the oven, prep the pan and cream your butter. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Add 12 paper cupcake cases into a cupcake pan (Image 1). It's now time to cream the butter and sugar together. The butter has to be at room temperature and cream for a good 3-5 minutes. The sugar needs to have dissolved and the butter turned pale in colour. (Image 2 & 3)
TIP: Scrape down the base and sides of the bowl halfway through creaming the butter and sugar together. This ensures an even, consistent aeration of the butter.
2. Beat in the eggs. Time to add the eggs. Just a word of warning, once all the eggs are mixed in, the mixture can look a little curdled. But don't worry, this is totally normal - when we add the flour in a bit, the batter comes together to a more normal consistency!
One at a time, add the eggs into the stand mixer bowl one at a time and beat well after each addition. Again, scrape down the sides and base of the bowl halfway through the process! You can add the almond extract into the mixture too at this point (Images 4 & 5).
3. Sift flour and then add in dry and wet ingredients. Quickly sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl and give it a mix together. Then add half of the flour mix, all the ground almonds and the salt into the stand mixer bowl and beat until just mixed together (Image 6 & 7).
Then add the milk in and beat again. Lastly, add in the remaining flour mixture and beat until you still see a few flour streaks remain (Image 8 & 9).
TIP: When beating the final addition of flour into the batter, you beat until a few flour streaks remain so that you don't end up overbeating. If you do over mix, then this can activate the gluten strands in the flour and create a less tender sponge. This advice stands when adding flour to any batter!
4. Bake! The batter is ready to distribute evenly amongst the cupcake case. The quickest and easiest way of doing this is to use an ice-cream scoop. But using a spoon is totally fine too! The batter should fill no more than ¾ of each case (Image 10 & 11). Bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes until golden on top or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean (Image 12). Take the pan out of the oven and set it aside on a wire rack for the cupcakes to cool.
Note: Leave the oven on at 180°C (350°F) as we need to roast the strawberries whilst the cupcakes are cooling. (If you are super organised you can roast the strawberries the day before you bake the cupcakes. It will thicken beautifully in the fridge.)
Roasted Strawberry Buttercream
Roasting strawberries is incredibly simple to do but creates the most impact on taste. Strawberries, especially when not in season and not at the optimal ripeness, can lack flavour. If you whizzed them up in the blender they might end up being watery and lacking in flavour. The simple way to draw out that flavour is to roast them. Let me show you how to do this.
1. Roast strawberries and blend. Prep: Hull and quarter the strawberries. Place them onto a small baking tray and sprinkle the sugar over the top, then toss them lightly so that the sugar coats the strawberries. (Image 13 & 14)
Roast: Pop the tray into the oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes. Toss the strawberries have way through the roasting time. The strawberries should still be holding their shape but are soft and the juices thickened around the edges of the pan (Image 15).
Blend: Spoon the strawberries and all the delicious juice and sticky bits from the bottom of the pan into the cup of a blender and leave it to cool for five minutes or so, then pulse until totally smooth (Image 16). At this point, you can pass the puree through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the seeds, but I don't bother with this. Pour the puree into a shallow bowl and pop it into the fridge or freezer. This will help speed up cooling it down.
2. Make the buttercream. The buttercream comes together quickly and the whole process of roasting the strawberries and making the buttercream can be done whilst the cupcakes are cooling. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, or use hand-held electric beaters, until is pale and thick. 5 minutes, no less!
Then add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt and beat on low (to avoid the icing sugar dust cloud!!), until mixed together (Image 17). Lastly, add two tablespoons of the cooled puree (Image 18). Beat the buttercream for another 3 to 4 minutes. If it's too thick, add a little more puree, or if it's too soft, then add a ¼ cup of powdered icing sugar at a time.
The buttercream should be light, airy and smooth (Image 19 & 20).
TIP: If the buttercream has lots of little air bubbles throughout, you can knock them out by using a rubber spatula to stir the buttercream in the bowl, whilst smoothing it against the edges of the bowl. It can take a couple of minutes but is worth it if you want a totally smooth buttercream.
Assemble the almond cupcakes, puree and strawberry buttercream together
1. Fill cupcakes with strawberry puree. Using a small pairing knife or a teaspoon, scoop out the centre of the cupcake. Don't go right to the bottom though, about two-thirds of the way down will do. Then spoon a teaspoon of the puree into the holes. (Image 21)
2. Pipe buttercream and decorate. Spoon the roasted strawberry buttercream into a piping bag fitted with your favourite piping nozzle (I used an open star tip), and pipe buttercream onto all of the cupcakes (Image 22 & 23). You can then sprinkle the chopped almonds over the top, or pop the nuts onto a dish and gently roll the sides of the buttercream into them as I did in Image 24.
And that's it! You have yourself a tray of beautiful, tasty, elegant Almond Cupcakes with the most delicate swirl of Roasted Strawberry Buttercream.
Variations / Substitutions
- Strawberries. Sure you can substitute the strawberries with other berries such as raspberries, blackberries or even cherries. You may need to adjust your bake time and your amount of sugar depending on how tart the fruit is. Also, different fruit has different moisture levels. If it's too liquidy, then you'll ruin the buttercream. Pop the puree into a saucepan and heat it for 10-15 minutes for it to reduce and thicken.
- Ground Almond: If you want to change up the nutty taste then you can use ground hazelnuts. Or pulse some pecans, walnuts or pistachios in a food processor to create your own ground nuts. Just don't turn it into nut butter!
- Different topping: The almond cupcakes are the perfect base for any type of buttercream or frosting. Throw in some chocolate chips into the cupcake batter and make a chocolate fudge frosting. Or top with a whipped white chocolate ganache such as that used on my White Chocolate Cupcakes.
- Infuse with alcohol: The next time I make these, I want to add a little Amaretto to the almond batter for a little boozy kick. I'm thinking this would taste incredible!
Pro tip re-cap
- Scrape the base and sides of your bowl frequently. Do this throughout creaming the butter, when mixing in the eggs, and when making the buttercream.
- Don't over mix the batter. When making any cake batter, we don't want to activate the gluten as this leads to a less tender sponge once baked. Stop mixing when you can still see a bit of flour in the batter.
- Simplest mess-free way of portioning out the almond batter into the paper cases is to use an icecream scoon. One level scoop per papercase usually does it!
- Stir out the air bubbles from the buttercream. The aim is to have light and airy buttercream, but beating it can often lead to trapped air bubbles. Smooth the buttercream against the edges of your mixing bowl whilst stirring it. That releases the bubbles and creates a smooth mixture.
Frequently asked questions
Here in the UK, almond flour isn't a commonly bought product sold on the shelves of mainstream supermarkets. It's generally found in health stores and can be fairly pricey to purchase. I know that in the States it is more commonly found and hence used in recipes.
Personally, I have never baked with it but from what I read, yes you can use almond flour in the cupcakes. That being said, ground almonds have a very specific graininess and texture that you notice in the baked sponge. You definitely won't achieve this when using almond flour. Personally, I have never baked with almond flour, but if you do a straight swap, then let me know how you go!
I would make each of the components separately, store and assemble on the day that you are serving them. Make the almond cupcakes and store them in an airtight container. The strawberry puree can be made and stored in the fridge - you can make this two days in advance. The buttercream (minus the strawberry puree) can be made and refrigerated for up to a week. When ready to add the strawberry puree, bring the buttercream to room temperature and beat in the mixer for a minute or so before adding the roasted strawberry puree.
Absolutely not. If you don't have access to fresh strawberries then you can add a tablespoon or two of strawberry jam or freeze-dried strawberry powder to the buttercream. The taste will be slightly different but still delicious.
How to store and freeze
To store: Place cupcakes in an airtight container and store for up to 2 days at room temperature or up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Allow cupcakes to come to room temperature before eating. Store leftover strawberry puree in an airtight container for up to five days in the fridge.
To freeze: Place undecorated cupcakes in a ziplock bag or freezer-safe container and store them in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature. The buttercream can be stored in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
Equipment you’ll need
- Standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment: For making the Almond Cupcake batter and Strawberry Buttercream.
- Cupcake pan: Get your party started by placing paper cases in your trusty cupcake pan.
- Blender: The amount of strawberry puree is only small so a Nutribullet Blender was a perfect size. If you don't have a blender then you could try mashing the roasted strawberries. It will create a different texture though.
More recipes highlighting the almond flavour
If you tried these Strawberry Almond Cupcakes or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you're there!
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Almond Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Recipe
- 170 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 50 g granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 5 ml almond extract, optional
- 125 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 70 g almond meal (ground almonds)
- 45 ml whole milk
Roasted strawberry buttercream
- 200 g whole ripe strawberries
- 15 g granulated sugar
- 115 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 320 g powdered icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar), sifted
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 40 g flaked almonds , toasted and finely chopped
- Preheat the oven, prep the pan and cream your butter. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Place 12 paper cupcake cases into a cupcake pan.In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar and beat on medium to high speed for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Scrape the base and sides of the bowl half way through.
- Beat in the eggs. Add in your eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the almond extract, if using, and beat again until combined.
- Sift flour and then add in dry and wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, add the almond meal and mix together. Add half of the dry ingredients into your stand mixer bowl and beat on low until combined. Add in the milk and beat again until mixed through. Lastly, add in the remaining dry ingredients and beat until just combined and a few streaks of flour remain.
- Bake! Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake cases, filling each one to ¾ full. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the oven on at 180°C (350°F).
Roasted strawberry buttercream
- Roast strawberries and blend.Prep. Hull and quarter the strawberries.Roast. Place them onto a half sheet baking tray. Sprinkle over the sugar and toss lightly. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the strawberries are softened, and juices have thickened and gone sticky. Toss the strawberries halfway through the cooking time.Blend. Remove from the oven and scrap strawberries and their juices into a blender or Nutri Bullet. Make sure to scrape in all the sticky bits too. Pulse until the strawberries are pureed. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate or freeze whilst making the buttercream, to cool the puree down.
- To make the buttercream, In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add your butter and beat on high speed for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add in the powdered icing sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and beat until the butter and icing sugar have combined. It may look a bit lumpy at this point. Add in 30 grams (2 tablespoons) of the strawberry puree and beat the buttercream for another 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in 15 grams (1 tablespoon) at a time to the buttercream if it is too thick.Note: If you add too much strawberry puree, then the buttercream may look curdled. To fix this, add in 25g (¼ cup) of icing sugar at a time and mix until the buttercream comes together again.
Assemble the almond cupcakes
- Fill: Using a small sharp knife, core out the centre of each cupcake, making sure not to go all the way through to the bottom. Fill the holes with a teaspoon of strawberry puree. (This step is optional). Any remaining strawberry puree can be stored in a sealed jar and refrigerated for up to five days.Pipe: Transfer the buttercream into the piping bag fitted with your favourite piping tip. I used an open star tip for this recipe. Then pipe each cupcake with a swirl of strawberry buttercream. Gently press the chopped almonds all around the sides of the buttercream; alternatively, sprinkle over the top. Serve immediately.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.