For the natural strawberry frosting:
- 1 cup strawberries
- ½ cup water
- 2-3 cups icing sugar
- ½ cup butter
For the vanilla cupcakes:
- ¾ cup white or cane sugar
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 ¼ cups cake flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Place the strawberries and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to simmer and reduce liquid by half. Remove from heat, straining strawberries in a strainer positioned over a clean bowl or measuring cup. Save the strawberry juice – cool if possible.
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Line two muffin trays with cupcake liners, or silicone baking cups.
- Beat the oil and sugar together for two minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla, eggs, and buttermilk, one at a time and incorporating fully between each addition.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add in 2-3 increments to the oil-sugar mixture, mixing completely between each addition.
- Fill the cupcake liners half full (about ¼ cup cupcake batter) and bake 12-16 minutes, until golden. Insert a toothpick and make sure it comes out clean – that way you will know your cupcakes are done.
- Cool in the muffin pan for 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
- Beat the butter and icing sugar together until smooth, and add in the strawberry juice until you reach the desired colour and consistency for your strawberry buttercream. (Add in more icing sugar as necessary.)
- Frost the vanilla cupcakes with the naturally pink strawberry frosting.