Oh strawberries. Juicy. Sweet. Plump. Beautifully red. Naturally heart shaped. Fun fact: I also recently learned that North Carolina is the #3 for harvesting the most strawberries in the United States. Personal fact: As much as I enjoy chocolate, I will always pick strawberry shortcake over a brownie sundae!
These cupcakes do require some love and attention but it’s not everyday that someone is having their first double-digit birthday and turning 10! So these were made upon request from my little fruit loving princess.
At the risk of being called a party pooper and in every attempt to reduce sugar, I lightly frost my cupcakes. Making a swirl gave them a fun look which may distract one from wondering where’s the rest of the icing. Maybe?
After searching pages and pages on the web, I decided to make Minimalist Baker’s Strawberry Beet Cupcakes. They do not require eggs, are colored naturally with beets, and Minimalist Baker offers solid recipes. I used canned beets because they are easier and cheaper, did use organic strawberries because berries are normally high in pesticide levels, and I splurged on strawberry extract because I wanted to make sure that flavor came through.
They go in the oven pink as can be:
And come out looking like strawberry speckled muffins:
The icing was easy to whip up with a hand blender and very creamy and fluffy at room temperature but firmed up enough in the fridge to hold a design. Don’t let the beets in these cupcakes scare you! I swear they only offer color and sweetness and not any beet flavor.
Below is the recipe based on the Minimalist Baker with my modifications.
Natural Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes
Modified from Minimalist Baker’s Strawberry Beet Cupcakes
Makes 10 cupcakes
1 cup canned light coconut milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp strawberry extract
1/4 cup beet puree (I drained canned beets, pureed half of them in a blender, and scooped out from there.)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil or nonGMO canola oil
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries (measure after dicing)
1/3 cup Spectrum Organic Shortening OR 3/4 stick butter (unsalted)
1.5-2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp beet puree
1/2 tsp strawberry extract
Splash of any milk
Directions for cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place liners in muffin pan.
2. Mix together the coconut milk and the vinegar in a large mixing bowl and set aside. This curdling reaction is your egg substitute!
3. Add in the extracts, oil, beet puree, and sugar and whisk well.
4. Sift in dry ingredients: flour, baking soda & powder, and salt. Mix until no big lumps but do not overmix which can can result in a dense and firmer cake.
5. Gently combine strawberries in by folding. Folding just means using a spatula or spoon to add in toppings with a motion that keeps scooping the batter onto itself until well mixed.
6. Fill liners 3/4 full of batter and bake for 30 minutes. Without opening the door, turn off oven and allow cupcakes to sit in there an additional 5 minutes. I cooled mine in the muffin pan for another 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. I let them sit out as long as I could before frosting.
Directions for icing:
Beat butter or shortening until creamy. Add in extract, beet puree and then powdered sugar gradually, beating in as you go.