This strawberry buttercream frosting has REAL strawberry flavor, it has real strawberry bits and real sweet and tangy taste that you can only get from real strawberry, you know why? Because it uses real fresh strawberry, yes! All real, no artificial food coloring so say goodbye to those bottled liquid of gel food color. They don’t have any place for this frosting.
Isn’t it wonderful to use something fresh and natural to flavor your frosting? I’m not going to wipe my hands clean and say that I’ve never used any food coloring when making dessert because I did, quite a few times when I cannot find an alternative for natural flavoring. When I made my Purple Yam Jam and Purple Yam Chiffon Cake, I didn’t use food coloring as well. The color came from the natural color of fresh grated purple yam, natural is always better.
Although my no 1 favorite frosting is Chocolate Ganache, some dessert calls from something else than chocolate. My first go to options are either Whipped Cream Frosting or Vanilla Buttercream or a combination of both. From these two lies endless possibilities when it comes to flavor . From classic vanilla, to chocolate, mocha, espresso, matcha and strawberry flavors, all you need is a good base. My vanilla buttercream frosting is a good start, its small batch, easy to make and that is what I used for this recipe.
There are different route that you can take when making strawberry buttercream frosting:
- Artificial Food Coloring is almost always the easiest and tempting way to make it. Few drops and you get a nice pinkish color, but then where’s the strawberry flavor? Most of the time, all you get is a nice color but no strawberry flavor at all. If all that you care is to give a nice pastel color, then this might work for you but you cannot really call it strawberry flavor when there’s really no strawberry taste.
- Fresh Chopped Strawberry This gives you a real strawberry taste with all the bits and pieces of fresh strawberry, although it could sometimes lack the nice pinkish color that adds the charm to the strawberry cake (for instance). The problem with adding chopped strawberry in buttercream frosting is it could make the frosting watery at some point. This is because the strawberry has juice in it, and it will be just a matter of time before it comes out and make the frosting watery. Another big issue is if you want to use it for piping and decorative design. Those bits and pieces of strawberry chunk will not pass through the decorating tip, although you could have a work around of not using a tip but instead snipping the end of the piping bag to create a bigger hole, but that limits the design that you can make. This style could work if you use it for spreading on top of cakes and cupcakes, but it is advisable to serve the cake immediately before the strawberry juice starts to come out.
- Freeze Dried Strawberry I cannot find this in Canada, but I’ve read some people use it for flavoring. They do have it in amazon though if you are interested. You have to make them into powder form though before adding it in the frosting. I haven’t used it and I don’t know how all natural it is, but it appears to be a good alternative too. Adding a powdered flavoring will not thin out the buttercream frosting, you may need to add few tbsp of milk or cream to thin out the batter, but that’s normal in making buttercream frosting anyway.
- Strawberry Jam This although not all natural is another option to flavor buttercream frosting. Although you won’t need much, I find the flavor not as strong as when using fresh strawberry. Most commercialize strawberry jam and even Homemade Strawberry Jam uses quite a lot of sugar and that adds to the already sweet taste of buttercream frosting. Buttercream frosting is one of the sweetest frosting and it’s not like there’s a shortage of sugar in it that we want to add more. On the contrary, I like finding ways to reduce the sugar in it as I really find it sweet. But with buttercream, there’s only so much sugar you can reduce. If you reduce it too much, thus having more butter than sugar, it might not hold the shape when you pipe it. So unless you are fine with even more sweeter frosting, strawberry jam is also an option to flavor buttercream frosting.
- Puree and Reduced Fresh Strawberry This method is what I used for this recipe, something that I found in All Recipes website. It’s all natural, all fresh and it taste wonderful! It uses puree and reduced strawberries to flavor the frosting and it really gave that nice strawberry flavor with the natural sweetness and tangy taste that reduced the sweetness of the buttercream frosting. This method is what I like to discuss further. Read on.
How to Use Fresh Strawberry in Buttercream Frosting
So here how it goes. We are going to use real fresh strawberry and we are going to puree them in a blender, food processor (if making larger batch) or food chopper. That seals in the strawberry flavor, don’t worry about the seeds as they will even make the frosting looks nicer. I like the touch of the seed as it makes it more appealing and real, because it is really real strawberry. Once we’ve puree the strawberry, we need to reduce it so that it turns into a thick paste. Boil them and let the water evaporate, but make sure to stir it from time to time to avoid it from sticking in the pan, and from burning. The last thing you want is a burnt strawberry taste. Once it’s reduce, let it cool completely. This is very important as you will be adding it to the buttercream, we don’t want to consistency of the buttercream to be liquidy. You can even make it ahead of time, store it in a fridge and use the day you are ready to make the frosting. Remember, all you need is good Buttercream Frosting to add it and you’re good to go. It’s that easy, not as easy than opening a food coloring bottle or buying strawberry jam but it taste 101% better than any other options. I added whipped cream to the frosting to lighten the texture and to help reduced the sweetness and highly recommend you try it, although it’s optional. You can use store-bought ready to use whipped cream or you can make your own using my Whipped Cream recipe, it’s totally up to you.
I hope you’ll give it a try. Now let’s see the details on how to make it. Let’s get started!
- 2/3 cup fresh puree strawberries (about more than 1/2 cup fresh)
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 1 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar – sifted
- 4 tbsp whipping cream
- Wash and cut strawberries and place it in a blender; puree until smooth.
- Transfer strawberry puree to a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil, stirring often, until puree is reduced by at least half, about 20 – 25 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- In a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the butter until it becomes fluffy (approximately 5 minutes).
- Add icing sugar and mix until it gets a smooth texture (approximately 8-10 minutes).
- Add puree strawberry and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
- Gradually add whipping cream and whip until soft and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Storage: Keep in the refrigerator and let stand in room temperature before using for a more spreadable and ready to pipe consistency. Stir/Mix for 1 minute to restore texture smooth texture.
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