Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing - absolutely delicious and perfect for your next special event -  Valentines' Day, birthdays, any days!

Have you ever noticed that candy comes in the most GORGEOUS colors? I love to decorate with candy and my friends, both young and old, love it when I do!

Decorate? Yes, I use it to pizzazz up my table decors with an added bonus: my dinner guests get to sneak a nibble here, there and everywhere! Here (scroll down) and here are a few fun examples of decorating with candy.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing - absolutely delicious and perfect for your next special event -  Valentines' Day, birthdays, any days!

You might have to hunt a bit, but look for a store* or perhaps a specialty shop, that carries the tiny jelly beans and chocolate covered candies in a multitude of colors – pick out matching, contrasting or just fun colors and use them liberally on your dining and buffet tables. Sometimes I’ll even put tiny colorful bowls piled high with these delightful treats at each place setting. Oh, and children …………… well, they’ll just think you’re the best thing that ever happened!

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing - absolutely delicious and perfect for your next special event -  Valentines' Day, birthdays, any days!

I got so excited about the candy that I almost forgot about the delightful cupcakes. These Vanilla Bean cupcakes themselves are moist, yet light and are definitely my go-to recipe when I want dessert in a hurry. If you’re a frequent flyer at The Café, you might recognize them from this post or perhaps this one. They’re as easy as any commercial cake mix; you throw the dry ingredients in a bowl, stir, then add everything else and mix for thirty seconds – see what I mean? ………. super simple!


Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing - absolutely delicious and perfect for your next special event -  Valentines' Day, birthdays, any days!

But it’s the frosting that you’re  going to go gaga over – a buttercream dream with sweet, fresh strawberries! A beautiful sight with fabulous flavor! Unless, of course you don’t like fresh strawberries ……….. But if good strawberries mean “Spring” to you, like they do to me, and the sight of a “Strawberries for Sale” sign along the roadside makes your heart leap, then be assured, you’ll be thrilled with this delightful Fresh Strawberry Frosting on these delicious Vanilla Bean Cupcakes!

*My Super Target has a candy section with a huge assortment of Jelly Bellies, M&M’s and other fun candies in every color you can imagine.

 Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing - absolutely delicious and perfect for your next special event -  Valentines' Day, birthdays, any days!

Fresh Strawberry Icing

2 from 1 reviews

Fresh Strawberry Icing

  • Author:
  • Category: Dessert


  • 1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened
  • ½ cup fresh strawberries, halved
  • ¼ cup strawberry jam or preserves
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon half and half


  1. Combine strawberries and jam and puree in a food processor or blender.
  2. Place butter in the bowl of and electric mixer and beat for 3 minutes or until very fluffy and pale yellow.
  3. Add strawberry mixture, half and half and 4 cups of the powdered sugar. Beat again for 2 minutes. Slowly add more powdered sugar until consistency is smooth and creamy, fairly stiff but still spreadable. For piping you want it a bit stiffer so that the pretty edges will set up nicely. If your icing doesn’t hold up when swirled on cupcakes, it has too much liquid or has gotten too warm. Place frosting in the fridge for 20 minutes which will help it to stiffen. If it’s still too thin, then add a bit more powdered sugar, beat well and try again. Like anything else, after you do this a few times, you will know the correct consistency right away.
  4. Frost or swirl-pipe cupcakes or cake. I use a Wilton 1M or a Wilton 2D tip for really pretty swirling. For a great tutorial on piping cupcakes, check out this site!

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing

2 from 1 reviews

Spectacular flavor and color! These Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing are a taste treat for your next special celebration – or anytime the Sweet tooth fairy strikes!


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup buttermilk or sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350˚ F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter, buttermilk (or sour cream), egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.
  3. Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tins. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from tin and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.

41 thoughts on “Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing”

  • I am such a huge fan of your blogs and recipes, but I tried this one just knowing I have been able to trust your recipes in the past. I needed to make a good 40 of these and collected all of my ingredients and followed your instructions to the “t” with the substitution of sour cream instead of buttermilk. I ended up with a thick pasty glob. There has to be more liquid for this recipe. For the first time, I am disappointed in one of your recipes. I am still a fan.

    • Lorie, I’m so sorry this didn’t work for you. Thanks for your honest review. Not sure what the problem might have been. Sour cream should be a fine substitute for buttermilk. It’s a Cook’s Illustrated recipe which are usually no fail. Like I said, so sorry this didn’t work for you.

  • These are soooo cute. They remind me of the fresh strawberry cake I make each summer when those berries are so juicy. LOVE fresh berries in the cake and the icing. Your idea of using the candy as decoration is (as usual) so smart! Gonna try some for the Easter table. I just got a beautiful pastel cross for the middle.

  • I’m so sorry these didn’t turn out for you. I’ve made them numerous times and they’ve always turned out wonderful. It’s actually one of my go-to cupcake reicpes when I want a no-fail, super easy recipe. Not sure what the problem could have been but I’m sorry you wasted your time and good ingredients.

  • I have to wonder if any of the commenters made this recipe, or if they are just marvelling at the pictures. The cupcake recipe is a huge fail. There isn’t enough liquid and I ended up with a something closer to bread dough than cake batter.

    • The recipe says it makes 18 but I could only manage 16 rather short cupcakes, little flavor and a denser texture than I like in a cupcake. The icing however is fantastic and will make again with different cake recipe

    • I just made the cupcakes and they were not moist at all. They were very dense. I think I do better when I add the dry ingredients last. I also could only manage 16 small cupcakes. The icing was too sweet for me.

      • So sorry you didn’t like these. I’ve made them so many times and everyone’s loved them but we don’t all have the same taste, for sure. Yes, the icing is very sweet, indeed!

  • Thank you anonymous for spotting that error – you are right – it should be 4 ounces! Fixed!
    And yes you could definitely make a half a batch

  • i think i would be one of those kids grabbing a hnadful of jelly beans from your table! they look little precious little stones! YOur cupcake looks incredible with that frosting and colour!!

  • Those cupcakes are a work of art and worthy of a magazine cover. They even sound delicious.I have no talent with a piping bag, but I’m going to try to make these really soon. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  • Does your frosting ingredient have a typo perhaps regarding butter? It states 1 stick = 8 oz – should it not be 4 oz? These look amazing. Do you suppose I can scale down the recipe? Maybe a half-batch?

  • I love candy shops for the pure enjoyment of seeing all the pretty colors and treats more than for actually eating any of it! I think it’s a great idea to decorate with it. But your cupcakes totally stole the show here, they’re soooo pretty! I made strawberry buttercream once and it was not nearly this pretty. Time to make your recipe!

  • I am so using this frosting recipe when it is strawberry season (which should be early this year). Alas, even though we had a mild winter, we only had three of our strawberry plants make it through the winter. Guess I will be buying flats from the FM. (Love the candy idea for decor!)

  • If those beautiful cupcakes don’t look like springtime I don’t know what does! I love all those vibrant candy colors. Fresh strawberries in buttercream – it doesn’t get much better than that. Thanks for sharing your cupcake recipe. I’ve been looking for a good one.

  • They look just wonderful, I can almost smell them now!!! You always make everything so beautiful!! And I love the look of the heart cookies with the M&M’s scattered around them!

  • Thank you Lenia for such kind words, you are so sweet and you know that I enjoy your blog also. You always have something fun, unique and delicious to share!

  • Just gorgeous!!!! I can’t describe your delectable, tasty, mouth watering cupcakes any other way!

    Candy colors are SO pretty, that’s why I eat it!! 🙂 The cupcakes look beautiful and I love the strawberry frosting. I’m so happy that strawberries are coming back in season!!!

  • You never cease to amaze me,dear Chris!Whenever I visit your blog,I am so sure that I will see immages of sheer beauty like these heavenly cupcakes!And trust me,this is no flattery!It is the truth!
    With love and respect,
    your Greek friend!

  • Have you saved one of these for me?????? Because I’m hungry right now and I would definitly be please by one (or two) of these awesome cupcakes!

  • Heavens, that looks amazing. I love fruit, but the berries have my heart. It doesn’t matter what kind it is. Strawberries and their aroma remind me of spring. Ask the family, too, and they’ll tell you that vanilla is my flavor of choice in ice cream. So, I’m claiming this as made for me. Ok? 🙂

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