Michigan Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes {Recipe Inside}

Summer is in full swing, and the heat is on! Summer not only brings good times, barbecues, and trips to the pool; it also brings tons of fresh, local produce, picked at the peak of harvest!

Michigan is an amazing place for buying local food. We grow many crops that are exported outside of the state including cherries, apples and strawberries. Eating local produce also has many benefits. Not only is it fresher, it helps support the local community. Many farms offer “U-Pick” options, where you can pick your own food and pay for it by weight. To see where the nearest U-Pick farm is to you, visit upickmichigan.com.

As Michigan strawberry season (June to July) quickly comes to a close, I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes that reminds me a lot of my childhood. Because I’m still a little girl at heart, I immediately thought about my grandmother’s strawberry shortcake. This time however, I wanted to do it with a twist.

Michigan Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes (adapted from CupcakeProject.com)

This cupcake is slightly more, ahem, gourmet, than the shortcake from my childhood, but it brought me back the second I tasted it. It features a brown butter cupcake, filled with a fresh strawberry and orange compote, and topped with a vanilla whipped cream frosting (a little indulgence is okay from time to time). It’s heavenly.

Here’s a look at the step-by-step process for making your own at home!


Photo credit: A Healthier Michigan

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For the Cupcake:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups cake flour, not self-rising

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 egg whites

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup whole milk


For the Compote:

2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, diced medium

Juice of 1 orange, about 1/3 cup

4 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon orange zest


For the Frosting:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Michigan Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

Cupcake Directions:
1. Melt butter over medium-heat in a small skillet or heavy-bottomed pot.
2. Continue to heat the butter, stirring periodically, until it turns brown (10-15 minutes). The butter will first boil with big bubbles (it's not done then). Then, the bubbles will get smaller and the whole thing will look more brown (that's when it's done).
3. Remove butter from heat and cool to room temperature.
4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
5. In medium-sized bowl, whip egg whites until light and frothy.
6. Slowly mix sugar into the egg whites.
7. Mix cooled browned butter and vanilla into the wet mixture.
8. Alternate mixing dry ingredients and milk into the wet mixture.
9. Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full (important!).
10. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.

Filling Directions:
1. In a small saucepan, combine orange juice and sugar. Bring to a boil, and reduce by half.
2. In a medium bowl, combine strawberries and orange zest.
3. Combine orange syrup mixture and strawberries. Mix, and set in refrigerator to cool.

Frosting Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
2. Beat with mixer until stiff peaks form.

Here’s the fun part!
1. Take cooled cupcakes (don’t do this while they’re hot!) and scoop out the middle.
2. Fill the cupcakes with the strawberry orange mixture, avoiding any extra syrup.
3. Spoon frosting into a large plastic bag, and squeeze out any extra air before sealing.
4. After sealing, push all of the frosting down into one corner of the bag.
5. Cut off the tip of the corner of the bag, and pipe frosting onto cupcakes.
6. Garnish with a strawberry and enjoy!

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