Vanilla cupcakes are stuffed with cream cheese filling and topped with strawberry buttercream and fresh strawberries to create Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes!
For the graham cracker crust:
- 1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
For the cupcakes:
- 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk at room temperature
- 2 large egg whites at room temperature
- 1 whole egg at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup heavy cream cold
For the cheesecake filling:
- 8 ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar sifted
For the strawberry buttercream frosting:
- ¾ cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar sifted*
- 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the strawberry topping:
- 1 cup diced strawberries
- ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
- To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners.
- To make the graham cracker crust, In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; mix well with a fork. Drop about 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down to line the bottom. (Note: I use the bottom of a dry measuring cup.) Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, and maintain the oven temperature.
- To make the cupcakes, in a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In a glass measuring cup, whisk the milk, eggs, vanilla and almond extract.
- In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and creamy, about 5 minutes. Alternate additions of the flour mixture and liquid mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture (3 dry additions, 2 wet), beating after each addition until incorporated. Continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Chill a clean stainless mixer bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes. Return bowl to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and then whisk the heavy cream on medium-high speed until soft peaks form (This is where a hand mixer comes in handy, or you can transfer the batter to a second bowl, wash the bowl and then whisk the cream in your stand mixer). Fold whipped cream into the cake batter.
- Divide the batter evenly among cupcake liners (about 2/3 full) and bake until a toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs, about 16-18 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on wire racks. Repeat with second muffin pan.
- To make the filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add the vanilla then gradually add the confectioners’ sugar. Beat until well combined.
- To make the strawberry frosting, puree the strawberries in a food processor. Strain the puree through a fine mesh sieve placed over a bowl to remove the seeds. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and half of the sugar. Beat on low speed until well blended. Add the other half of the sugar and two tablespoons of strawberry puree, mixing until combined. Increase speed to medium and add additional puree, a tablespoon at a time, until desired color and flavor is reached (I used all of the puree). Add vanilla and beat on high for about 30 seconds to lighten the frosting.
- To assemble the cupcakes, remove a small amount of the center part of the cupcake using a cupcake corer or pairing knife. Divide the cheesecake filling evenly among the cupcakes, filling the hole in the middle of the cupcake. Pipe frosting around the edge of each cupcake, leaving a well for the strawberry topping. Divide strawberry topping among cupcakes and sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Enjoy!