My friend, Franzi, celebrated her birthday yesterday, and I wanted to bake her a really special cake. With the help of her best friend and roommate, Mandy, I decided to make her a strawberry cake. At the time, I didn’t have a recipe of my own for a strawberry cake. And most of the recipes I found online got their strawberry flavor from a box of artificially flavored strawberry gelatin. I thought I could do better than that. And more importantly, I wanted bake my friend a cake flavored with real strawberries, not artificial flavorings… so this is what I came up with.
This is a play on my citrus olive oil cake, the twist here being the strawberries. The flavors of real strawberries and lemons go beautifully together. And these cupcakes taste just like a summertime classic, strawberry lemonade. The best part is that the cupcakes are made with olive oil instead of butter. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the strawberry buttercream, which I topped each of the cupcakes with to look like roses. But hey, at least you’ll know exactly what’s in your frosting, unlike in store bought frostings, which many are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. Truth be told, these cupcakes are can be enjoyed without the frosting, —then again, why would you want to?
Strawberry Lemonade Olive Oil Cupcakes
- 3 lemons
- 2 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen, diced
- 1 ½ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 ¼ cup sugar, divided
- 3 large eggs
- ⅓cup milk
- ⅓ olive oil
- homemade strawberry frosting
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare your muffin tin by lightly greasing the edges before inserting cupcake liners.
Next, dice the strawberries and set them aside in a small bowl. Note: If you are using frozen strawberries, allow them to thaw slightly, about 10 minutes then, carefully dice them with a sharp knife.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set the flour mixture aside. Zest the lemons with a microplane, and add the zest to another medium-sized mixing bowl along with the eggs and 1 cup of the sugar. Set the lemons aside for the glaze. Whisk the egg mixture until well incorporated. Then, add the milk and olive oil and whisk vigorously for about 30 seconds.
Now, add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk together just until there are no lumps. Then, using a rubber spatula, fold in the strawberries, making sure they are well incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake pan using an ice-cream scoop, and bake in the center of the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden-brown, and a cake tester (e.g. toothpick, etc.) comes out clean when pierced through the center of a cupcake. In the meantime make the lemonade glazing syrup.
To make the glazing syrup, combine the remaining ¼ cup of sugar along with the juice of at lease two of the lemons. Simmer over medium low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then, turn off the heat, and set the glaze aside until the cupcakes are baked.
Once the cupcakes are done, allow them to cool slightly for 5 minutes. Loosen up the edges of the cupcakes that they can be easily removed once they have been glazed and cooled. Then use a toothpick or skewer and poke holes into each of the cupcakes. The holes will allow for the glaze to seep through each of the cupcakes. Next, glaze the cupcakes with the syrup using a pastry brush or spoon, making sure that the syrup penetrates the holes that you’ve made with the toothpick. Allow the syrup to absorb into the cupcakes.
It’s best to glaze the cupcakes while they are still slightly warm. Use as much of the glaze as you like. I used about half of the glaze for my last batch.