Strawberry Basil Cupcakes with Basil Buttercream | Cupcake Project

Strawberry Basil Cupcakes with Basil Buttercream

Strawberry Basil Cupcakes

Strawberry desserts fall into two categories: those that taste like freshly picked strawberries, like local hand-churned strawberry ice cream, and those that have an intensely sweet strawberry flavor, like strawberry lollipops or the strawberry syrup drizzled over diner strawberry cheesecake.  I’m a huge fan of the former.  Pile too much sugar into strawberry desserts and you lose that berry patch simplicity.

These strawberry basil cupcakes fit comfortably into the first category.  They are made with food-processed fresh strawberries, and basil sugar is used instead of plain sugar to give the cupcakes a more vibrant taste.   Instead of hiding the cake’s flavor behind a sweeter strawberry frosting, the basil buttercream complements the strawberry and brings out its flavor even more.  These are the cupcakes I’ll reach for again and again in the dog days of summer when no fake flavor will do and the earth is ripe for picking.

What You’ll Need to Make Strawberry Basil Cupcakes

Basil Sugar

To make strawberry basil cupcakes, you’ll need basil sugar and basil powdered sugar.  To learn how to make both, see my post on basil sugar.

Strawberry Basil Cupcakes with Basil Buttercream

Yield: 16 cupcakes

Strawberry Basil Cupcakes with Basil Buttercream


    Cupcake Ingredients
  • 1 cup basil sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup pureed fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • Basil Buttercream Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups basil powdered sugar
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix basil sugar, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add butter and mix until fully combined.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, oil, and vanilla until smooth.
  5. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  6. Mix in strawberries until just combined.
  7. Mix in milk until just combined.
  8. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.
  10. Basil Buttercream Instructions
  11. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on high speed.
  12. Mix in basil powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
  13. Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
  14. Mix in salt.
  15. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.
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9 Responses to Strawberry Basil Cupcakes with Basil Buttercream

  1. Amy August 2, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Strawberries and basil is one of my favorite combinations, especially because basil is my favorite herb. I’ll eat it on just about anything — pasta, pizza, tomatoes, eggs, etc — but I haven’t tried it in sugar or cupcakes yet! Another one of your creative and brilliant ideas; I love it! :)

  2. June August 19, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    The flavor combination sounds both strange and wonderful! I have a question, one you’ve probably answered elsewhere but I’ll ask anyways…how do you get the cupcakes to be so perfectly cylindrical? What kind of pan do you use? I just love the aesthetics.

  3. Susan E September 9, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    OK, I made the bail sugar, but do you make the basil powdered sugar the same way?

    • Stef September 9, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

      Yes! You make it the exact same way. Sorry for any confusion.

  4. Caitlin L. September 13, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    Would this work well for a full size cake?

    • Stef September 15, 2014 at 9:20 am #

      I haven’t tried it, but I think it would. You would just need to adjust the baking times.


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