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close up of strawberry buttercream on a chocolate cupcake with a strawberry on top

Strawberry Buttercream

This strawberry buttercream made from real strawberries is sweet, bursting with fresh strawberry flavor, and has the slightest hint of lemon. It is perfect for stacking cakes, is great under fondant, and is so easy to make!
4.91 from 11 votes
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Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Chilling Time: 2 hrs
Total Time: 2 hrs 35 mins
Serves: 6 cups
Calories: 993kcal

Ingredients

Strawberry Puree

  • 32 ounces (907 g) fresh or frozen strawberries 6 cups
  • 4 ounces (113 g) granulated sugar 1/2 cup
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Strawberry Buttercream

  • 8 ounces (227 g) strawberry puree room temperature, 1 cup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 8 ounces (227 g) pasteurized egg whites room temperature
  • 16 ounces (454 g) powdered sugar 2 pounds
  • 16 ounces (454 g) unsalted butter room temperature, 2 pounds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Equipment

  • 1 Large saucepan
  • 1 Stand mixer with paddle and whisk attachments optional

Instructions

Making the Strawberry Puree

  • Place the fresh or frozen whole strawberries and sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, this will break down the berries and release the juices.
  • Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt. Stir to combine. 
  • Using an immersion blender, blend until the berries are a smooth consistency and there are no large chunks of strawberries. You can also pour the mixture into a food processor if you don’t have an immersion blender.
  • Return the berries to low heat and continue to reduce until the excess water has evaporated and you have reached a thick consistency, this can take up to 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning on the bottom of the pan. For this buttercream, we want a thick strawberry jam consistency.
  • Cool the puree completely before adding it to the buttercream, or it will melt the butter. The puree can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for 6 months. Pro-tip: Make the reduced strawberry puree during strawberry season and freeze it to use during the winter.
  • You will only need about a cup of strawberry puree for this frosting. I like to use the rest as a filling, on top of ice cream, or in my fresh strawberry cake or doctored box mix strawberry cake recipes.

Making the Strawberry Buttercream

  • Place the egg whites and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed and then whip on high speed for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the powdered sugar.
  • Add in the salt and vanilla extract.
  • Add the softened butter in chunks and whip with the whisk attachment for 8 to 10 minutes until it no longer tastes like butter. It will look curdled at first but this is normal, just keep whipping. 
  • If your buttercream continues to look curdled, remove about 1/3 cup of buttercream and melt it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds until it is barely melted. Pour it back into the whipping buttercream to bring it all together.
  • Switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for about 10 minutes to remove the air bubbles and create super smooth buttercream. This is optional but will make it extra creamy.
  • Add about 1 cup (8 oz) of room temperature strawberry puree and lemon zest to the buttercream and mix until combined. You can add additional strawberry puree a quarter cup at a time until your desired flavor is reached. The more puree you add the less structure the buttercream will have.
  • This buttercream has fresh fruit in it, so make sure it stays refrigerated. This recipe makes enough frosting to cover and fill an 8-inch layer cake. Store excess buttercream in the fridge for 2 weeks or freeze it for up to 6 months. Defrost the buttercream in the fridge and re-whip it before using.

Notes

Important Things To Note Before You Start
  1. If you want a quick and easy version of this frosting, you can use store-bought strawberry preserves instead of homemade strawberry puree. It won't have the same flavor, but will still be delicious!
  2. The best investment you can make when you’re getting started with baking is a digital kitchen scale
  3. Practice Mise en Place (everything in its place). Measure out your ingredients ahead of time and have them ready before you start mixing to reduce the chances of accidentally leaving something out.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 993kcal (50%) | Carbohydrates: 110g (37%) | Protein: 6g (12%) | Fat: 62g (95%) | Saturated Fat: 39g (195%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 163mg (54%) | Sodium: 377mg (16%) | Potassium: 314mg (9%) | Fiber: 4g (16%) | Sugar: 102g (113%) | Vitamin A: 2241IU (45%) | Vitamin C: 113mg (137%) | Calcium: 51mg (5%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)