Buttermilk Cupcakes with Strawberry-Balsamic-RedWine Frosting

The cupcakes that wooed Ina Garten and that Bobby Flay ate 3 of in a row and that Bob Tuschman called one of his very favorite cupcakes ever? Demand for the recipe has been only slightly less impassioned than demand for my meatloaf that changed the way Paula Deen makes meatloaf. (Um, not that I’m name dropping or anything.)

Look, the frosting recipe is a little complicated. But, like many complicated things, it’s worth it in the end. My husband would probably say this about me. I hope.

For a special touch, add a sliver of strawberry on top  of the each cupcake before baking. It sinks into the middle of the cupcake and is a pleasant surprise for die-hard strawberry lovers.

Buttermilk Cupcakes with Strawberry-Balsamic-Wine Frosting
Makes 30 cupcakes

For the Cake
4 cups cake flour
1 tsp. salt
2 ½ tsp baking powder
2 ½ tsp. baking soda
½ lb. butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ cups whole fat buttermilk

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 30 cupcake liners. In a bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate large bowl or standing mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk until just combined. Slowly add dry ingredients until just combined. Distribute batter into cupcake liners evenly and bake until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 lb. strawberries, tops cut off
1 ½ cup red wine
1 ½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 lb. butter, softened
1 lb. powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Swirl melted butter over a baking sheet (compact enough to slide into oven while cupcakes are baking, if you’re making them at the same time). Place strawberries, flat side down, on the sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes, until strawberries are very soft. Process strawberries in a food processor by pulsing about 10 times, until macerated.

While strawberries roast, combine wine and vinegar in a saucepan and cook over high heat until syrupy, which can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes – KEEP AN EYE ON IT, because it goes from too thin to burned very quickly. Reduce heat and add macerated strawberries, salt, and cornstarch. Cook for another minute, stirring constantly so the mixture doesn’t burn. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

In a large bowl or standing mixer, beat butter until creamy, then add powdered sugar until combined. Add strawberry-wine mixture until just combined.

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15 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this (as well as your recipes for the meatloaf and the pie). I am rooting for you on the FNS. I was hoping you’d still put up the recipe for the chicken wraps too. I keep hearing the judges question whether or not you have enough cooking chops – and yet you have pulled out some really great recipes so far. If you win or lose, I do hope you’ll continue blogging and sharing your recipes and the stories behind them.

  2. Lily says:

    At this point, I don’t know if you’re going to win, but I wish you would. I can take or leave (mostly leave) the rest of the remaining contestants and can say with all honesty that I can’t imagine ever watching Jeff do anything.

    I think you’re an amazing cook. I could have a butcher talk to me all day about a duck roast and I still wouldn’t be able to turn out anything like what you did. It looked so good I wanted to lick the screen.

    Good luck MB. Even if you don’t win, you’ve made me an avid reader of your blog.

  3. Rachel says:

    Wow, I wanted to grab these from Bobby on the show and have been dying to make them ever since. One question, can anything really substitute the red wine? Most of my family and friends aren’t comfortable with alcohol. I think you are a lot of fun to watch and will follow you whatever the outcome of FNS!

    • Mary Beth says:

      I posted on this above..I’ve never made this particular frosting without the wine, but you could probably just use the vinegar (don’t increase the amount), decrease cornstarch to 1 tsp. Or just incorporate the strawberry puree into the icing and make it strawberry icing!

    • Mary Beth says:

      I posted on this above…I’ve never made this particular frosting without the wine, but you could probably just use the vinegar (don’t increase the amount), decrease cornstarch to 1 tsp. Or just incorporate the strawberry puree into the icing and make it strawberry icing!

  4. Thanks for posting this recipe. I can’t wait to try it!

  5. gabriel says:

    what can i use instead of red wine? im only a kid1 But i really want u to win!

    • Mary Beth says:

      I love it that you’re going to make the cupcakes — I hope my 3-year-old grows up to have your drive! Well, I’ve never made this particular frosting without the wine, but you could probably just use the vinegar (don’t increase the amount), decrease cornstarch to 1 tsp. Or just incorporate the strawberry puree into the icing and make it strawberry icing!

  6. courtney says:

    Can you take the servings down some. 30 is a lot to just try them out.

  7. Aimee says:

    Thanks for posting this — they looked amazing on the show! I do like you and a number of the “chef”testants and hope many of you gets shows, just as FN/cooking channel has done for other final contenders. Best of luck!

  8. mia says:

    Mary Beth,sorry that you left, but I am going to try these,just made strawberry shortcake cupcakes Sat but these sound better,lol God Bless and will miss on tv! Mia

  9. Natalie says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, Mary Beth! I’ve been wanting it since I saw it on the show, because it sounded so unique. I also LOVE strawberries. I can’t wait to try it out.

  10. GERRY says:

    i am as enthralled to have finally found this recipe as i was saddened by your departure last night. I can see the remaining three contestants all having a popular show on the food network, but yours would have been one in the company of ina garten and nigella lawson, one that i would have loved, and would have welcomed everyone watching to love food along with you. best of luck with the future, i’ve added myself to your facebook fanpage and will be following your blog to see what you’ll be cooking up next.

  11. Cheryl says:

    Thanks for posting this recipe Marybeth! My kids and I were drooling when we saw them on FNS. I am on my way to pick up some balsamic right now!
    I am happy that I found your blog. I think your FN show would have been something unique. Somehow though, I feel we have not seen the last of you.
    Good luck!

  12. Jackie says:

    Yay!!!!! I was searching high and low for this recipe I want to try them out for my husband’s 30th bday party!!! Thank you so much for posting!!!! You’re awesome by the way!!

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