But then in honor of Halloween, I went one step further, making a strawberry syrup to drizzle on top. I thought it would look spookily like blood! You can skip the syrup entirely, and top them instead with a fresh or freeze dried strawberry slice for the other 11 months of the year.
Ghoulish Strawberry Halloween Cupcakes
I started these cupcakes with a half batch of the best yellow cupcakes ever.
From Sally's Baking Addiction
1 cup freeze dried strawberries
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 cups confectioners' sugar
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Salt, to taste (I didn't feel that it was needed, so I skipped it)
Using a blender or food processor, process the freeze-dried strawberries into a fine powder.
You should have about a 1/2 cup.
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
With the mixer on low, add the confectioner's sugar, strawberry powder, cream, and vanilla.
Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes.
If it's too runny or thin, add an additional 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, and if too thick add 1 more Tbsp of cream.
Add a pinch of salt if the frosting is too sweet.
Frost cupcakes as desired.
Top with strawberry sauce (below) and bone sprinkles, if desired.
From The Pioneer Woman
2 pounds of strawberries, hulled (I used frozen, unsweetened strawberries, since it's October, and they're super expensive right now)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 lemon, juiced (I didn't have lemon, so I used 1/4 cup water)
A couple drops of red food coloring (optional) -- I used it, since I wanted mine to look "bloody" for these cupcakes
Place all of the ingredients (except the food coloring, if using) in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat.
Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly.
Allow the strawberries to cook for a good 5 minutes, or until the strawberries are very soft (FYI, frozen strawberries take longer than 5 minutes).
Turn off the heat ans use a potato masher to completely smush them to a pureed consistency (I used an immersion blender -- super easy!).
Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer placed over a bowl.
Use a spoon to stir the mixture so the liquid is forced through.
Continue until most of the liquid is in the bowl.
Set aside the pulp, in case you want to add some back into the finished sauce (I skipped this part, since I wanted mine to be super thin for these cupcakes, but would add it in in the future for, say, an ice cream topping).
Skim as much foam off of the sauce as you can.
Pour the skimmed sauce back into the same saucepan and boil again for 3 minutes over medium-high heat.
This is where I added the food coloring.
Skim any more foam that has formed on the surface.
Allow the sauce to cool slightly before pouring it into a pitcher or jar.
Add back a little of the pulp into the sauce if you like the texture, or just leave it plain.
Serve warm over vanilla ice cream, or refrigerate it to thicken and serve it cold. You can also reheat the sauce after refrigerating.
Or drizzle over strawberry cupcakes for a ghoulish looking treat!
Assemble the cupcakes
Allow the cupcakes to cool.
Pipe the strawberry icing onto the cupcakes. I used a star-like tip (Ateco 885), since I wanted grooves for the sauce to run through.
Using a piping bag or squeeze bottle, apply the strawberry sauce to the tops of the cupcakes and allow it to run down the grooves in the icing.
Top with small bone sprinkles, if desired.
Additionally, if not Halloween, you can skip the bone sprinkles or the strawberry sauce (but really, why would you? It's soooo goood!), and instead use a wedge or slice of fresh strawberry, a small strawberry, or a slice of freeze dried strawberry.