Even though I am a huge chocolate lover, these are one of my favorite cupcakes! Baked right on top of a buttery brown sugar graham crust, stuffed with strawberry filling, topped with a smooth cream cheese frosting, and finished with a ripe juicy strawberry, these cupcakes the ultimate indulgence.
The addition of tangy sour cream cream and lemon juice give the cupcake a nice, soft, cheesecake-y flavor. The best part about these cupcakes is you can swap out the strawberry for your favorite fruit flavor, like blueberry, raspberry or cherry. It's the perfect cupcake for a Sunday brunch or special occasion, great for children and adults alike!
Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes
Yield: 14-16 standard cupcakes or 2-3 dozen minis
Graham Cracker Crust:
- 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, plus extra for garnish
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Vanilla Sour Cream Cupcakes
- 1 1/8 cup (126g) cake flour
- 1 cup (200g) granulated white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 6 tablespoons (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) sour cream
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 large egg + 2 large egg yolks, room temperature (separate when cold)
Strawberry Filling (Note: You may use strawberry preserves, jelly, or pie filling/topping for a quick and simple alternative or follow the fruit filling recipe below)
- 12 ounce bag of frozen (or fresh) strawberries
- 3/4 cup water, more or less
- 1/2 cup pure cane, granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Cheesecake Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 (8oz package) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar), sifted
- 6 strawberries, sliced in half for garnish
Combine graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter. Line a cupcake pan with baking cups. Spoon about 1 tablespoon into bottom of each baking cup and press down with the bottom of a cup or your fingers (use about 1 teaspoon per cup with mini cupcakes).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with baking cups.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar and mix for about 30 seconds to distribute the ingredients evenly and aerate the flour. Beat in the softened butter and oil on low speed until it is moistened and looks like wet sand, about 45 seconds.
Distribute the batter between baking cups, over the crust (about 3-4 tablespoons batter each, for standard, or 1 1/2 tablespoons batter each, for minis). Bake standard size cupcakes for 16-18 minutes and minis for 8-10 minutes, or until your finger leaves a slight impression on the tops of the cupcakes when pressed and inserted toothpick comes out clean or with with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Do not over bake. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Thaw and strain juice from frozen strawberries into a measuring cup. Add enough water to the thawed strawberry juice to get 3/4 cup of liquid (If using fresh fruit, just use 3/4 cup water). Press the thawed or fresh strawberries through a fine mesh strainer, into a bowl if you do not want seeds in your filling (you should get between 1/3 - 1/2 cup of pulp) or simply cut strawberries into small pieces.
In a small saucepan, combine fruit juice/water mixture, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and has reached a boil. Remove from heat, and cool completely. Stir pulp/strawberries into cooled mixture.
(Note: You may also use fruit preserves, jelly, or pie filling/topping for a quick and simple alternative.)
With an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth (make sure they are both at room temperature so you do not get lumps in your frosting). Gradually beat in 2 cups powdered sugar until incorporated, adding more until desired consistency is reached. Add vanilla and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
Fill cupcakes with fruit filling (see video below, or click here for a variety of techniques for filling a cupcake). Frost cupcakes, sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs and top with a strawberry cut in half length wise.