Strawberry Blossom Cupcakes

Kelly Madey, 39, lives in Quakertown, Pa., with her husband and two sons. She and her boys are "crazy for strawberries" and love to pick them on the local farm when they are in season. She wanted to create an "intense strawberry cupcake both in flavor and aroma."

STRAWBERRY BLOSSOM CUPCAKES:

2 1/2 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1/3 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard cupcake pans with 24 paper cupcake liners. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add eggs. Mix until smooth and creamy. Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Mix until combined. Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Mix until just combined. Stir in strawberries. Place batter into each cupcake cup filling each half full. Bake cupcakes for approx. 18-20 minutes. Let cool.

FROSTING

1/2 cup fresh whole strawberries

2 tablespoons strawberry liqueur

1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

16 oz. cream cheese

3 sticks unsalted butter

3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla

Place strawberries, liqueur and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir mixture and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool and then place mixture into a food processor/blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, mix the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Slowly add the confectioner sugar and mix until combined. Add the vanilla and mix until combined. Add the strawberry puree and mix until combined.

Frost cupcakes and serve.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

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