Strawberry Cupcakes and a Surprise 70th Birthday Party

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

The month of May has always been busy for my family — completely filled with TONS of birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc.

This May in particular marked a milestone for our family as our parents turned 70! And although our mom is no longer with us we wanted to be sure to have a big celebration for our dad.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This past weekend, my siblings and I successfully threw a surprise birthday party for our dad filled with tons of family, delish food, and good times. Needless to say, Dad was pretty darn surprised when he opened the door to what he thought was going to be a small birthday dinner at my sister’s place. It took him a few minutes to realize that the house filled with people were there to celebrate his birthday!

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

As one of the desserts for the night, I decided to bake Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Cupcakes. They have been on my “must try” list for a long time and this was the perfect opportunity to give them a roll.

Truth be told, the cupcake itself was just “ok”. But the frosting was TO DIE FOR!!!!!!!! As in OH….MY….GAWD!

It was the first time I had made a true Swiss meringue buttercream and was a bit thrown off at how long it took to make—at least 30 minutes!!! But my patience truly paid off because after one taste, I was in heaven. The texture was so beautifully smooth and silky and it literally tasted like a Strawberry Shake!!! Not the least bit overly sweet and absolutely delicious. All night long I kept on saying, “It tastes like an In-N-Out Strawberry Shake!” Clearly, the cupcake is just a vessel for this amazing buttercream.

If you do decide to give this buttercream a whirl, be sure to take your time with it. Some reviewers say that their buttercream looked curdled or didn’t come together. Luckily I didn’t have this issue but I believe you’ve just got to be patient and definitely use room temperature butter. When all else fails—keep on whipping it!

And on another note, I would be scolded if I didn’t disclose that my sister was the one who added the strawberries on top! 🙂

As for Dad, he thoroughly enjoyed himself. After so many years of taking care of his family, it was nice to have a shindig just for him. In fact, he told everyone he cannot wait to see what we do for his 71st birthday!!!! 🙂



Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
From Martha Stewart
Makes 34 Cupcakes


2¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour, (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2¼ cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 cup whole milk
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups finely chopped strawberries, plus small strawberries for garnish

4 large egg whites, room temperature
1¼  cups sugar
1½ cups unsalted butter, softened, cut into small pieces
1½ cups fresh strawberries, pureed

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs and egg white one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions alternating with the milk, mixing each addition just until incorporated.  Gently fold in the chopped strawberries with a spatula. Divide the batter between the paper liners, filling each about ¾-full.  Bake until light golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Allow to cool in the pans a few minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While cupcakes are cooling, prepare the buttercream.  Place whites and sugar in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat, and attach bowl to a mixer. Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking well after each addition. Switch to a paddle attachment. With mixer on low, add strawberry puree, and beat until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Fill a piping bag with a fitted tip. Pipe on the buttercream on top of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with fresh strawberry slices.

 Note: For these cuppies, I used an open-star Wilton 4B Tip to pipe the buttercream. I also chose to use a slightly larger than standard cupcake liner for a fuller look. As a result I increased the baking time by 2-3 minutes.


41 thoughts on “Strawberry Cupcakes and a Surprise 70th Birthday Party

  1. My sis and I make these cupcakes pretty often during the summer since strawberries are plentiful. And my sis definitely doesn’t mind making the Swiss Meringue Buttercream! It really does taste like ice cream 🙂

  2. Happy Birthday to your dad! 🙂 He looks so happy~~! When you said strawberry milkshake from in-n-out, I was like… that’s my favorite milkshake!!!! I now know how great this frosting is. 🙂 Beautiful pictures and cupcakes Nam!

  3. What gorgeous cupcakes! I know what you mean about Swiss Meringue buttercream. It totally transformed my frosting life too 🙂 Now I rarely make regular buttercream unless I’m in a hurry! It’s so wonderful that your dad had a lovely birthday party… he looks so happy! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. you forgot to add that i washed, dried, and sliced the strawberries. signed, your sous chef for the day. haha. oh, and more importantly, i was the tasting advisor too! hahaha….

  5. Your dad is so adorable! He looks totally surprised and happy. We just threw a surprise party for my father-in-law’s 70th and I have to agree with you, it was nice to do something that was all about him for a change!

    By the way, does this butter cream recipe hold up in warm weather? I’m thinking about making macaroons for a shower favor, but my filling keeps melting on me after I take it out of the fridge.

    1. Hi Jamie!

      I think it depends on how warm it is bc I think most frosting/buttercreams don’t do too well in very hot or humid weather. It’s got a pretty stable structure but I wouldn’t recommend it being out too long 🙂


  6. I really appreciate your endeavour to make your dad happy. He reminds me of my own dad in India. And see, with his blessings, you are really in flying colours!
    The recipe is wonderful and the decoration, the throw of colours in the main picture is mind-blowing!! Congrats on being featured, a daughter like you deserves this (and more)!

  7. These look so delicious! I love strawberries and I love cupcakes – I know what I’m making this weekend! (Even if the swiss meringue buttercream does test my patience!)

  8. How awesome – – both the cupcakes and the surprise you gave your dad; he must have been so excited! These cupcakes look amazing, and I would definitely like to try making that strawberry meringue.

  9. Hey there! I recently blogged about a crazy good strawberry frosting that tastes just like ice cream. The key to the intense flavor was to use freeze-dried strawberries because fresh strawberries have the juices that can weigh a buttercream down. Anyway, you now have me curious about what an In-n-Out strawberry milkshake tastes like – I gotta try it when I’m near one next month!

    1. Yum! I was actually snacking on Trader Joe’s freeze dried strawberries while baking these cuppies. I had considered for a second on using them but wasn’t sure if the flavor would be so pronounced. But I will def try them now based on your recommendation!!!!

  10. My buttercream came out really thin, even after a night in the refrigerator. I can’t pipe it, so I just kind of poured it over the cake. : ( What did I do wrong? Perhaps I didn’t beat the egg whites stiff enough? Is it 1 1/2 cups strawberries, or 1 1/2 cups of puree?

    1. Hey there! Sorry to hear about your butter cream.

      As for the berries, it’s 1.5 cups of fresh strawberries that have been pureed.

      There are two reasons why I think the texture of your frosting was runny. First, you have to beat the frosting for quite some time for several minutes in between each pat of butter. Make sure each butter addition is well incorporated before adding the next. If the frosting looks soupy, continue beating until thick and smooth again. This can be another few minutes. Then, gradually add in the strawberry puree until smooth and completely incorporated. If you just put it all in at once, it will be too much moisture to incorporate at once.

      As I mentioned in the post, it took over 30 min for this butter cream to come together but it’s so worth it! Hope you’ll give it another try 🙂

  11. Thank you! I think I did not beat it long enough after each butter addition, and I did add the strawberries all at once, and I did use too much puree. 3 strikes! But I will try again because it tasted wonderful!

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