Summer Strawberry Cupcakes (Small Batch)

Few flavors are more evocative of summertime than strawberry. These light but moist cupcakes are a unique, all-natural celebration of warm, sunny weather.

(Ironically, I baked them on a rainy afternoon!)

Sunny cupcakes – perfect for a rainy afternoon!

Hoping to expand my baking repertoire, I decided to spend a rainy afternoon perfecting a small batch of strawberry cupcakes.

The idea appealed to me for several reasons: (1) I love the flavor of strawberries; (2) I find pink cupcakes attractive; (3) I had a bowl of fresh, chopped strawberries that were starting to get a bit too mushy to eat on their own.

Notes on the Recipe:

Whipping Your Egg White: This recipe calls for one whipped egg white. I use a handheld electric mixer to beat my egg white to medium peaks. To do this, separate the egg white from the yolk and pour the white into a mixing bowl. Begin mixing your egg white on a medium-low speed, until the egg white forms a foam. Then, switch the speed to high and whip the egg whites until medium stiff peaks form. (The peak should hold its shape when you lift the mixer out of the whipped egg white). If you don’t have any electric mixer, you can whip your egg white by hand with a whisk. This works fine, but will take much longer (and require more work) than using an electric mixer.

Strawberry Puree: A fresh strawberry puree is added to both the cake batter and the frosting. I blend the strawberries (with a little bit of water) in a small blender. After the puree is mostly smooth, I strain the strawberries through a fine mesh strainer.If you don’t use the strainer, you may have a few seeds in your batter and frosting. You may also use frozen strawberries in this recipe. Simply allow the strawberries to reach room temperature before using.

Frosting: This butter-based frosting uses strawberry puree instead of milk. If you don’t want the additional strawberry flavor, use 1/3 to 1/2 tablespoon of milk in place of the strawberry puree. If you use the strawberry puree, add it gradually. If you add too much, your frosting will be runny.

Color: Fresh strawberries will naturally turn your cake and frosting a light pink color. If you prefer a deeper color, you may want to add a bit of food coloring.

Cost Analysis:

Vanilla, butter, and strawberries are the most expensive ingredients in this recipe. Frozen strawberries are a cheaper alternative, but might not have the same level of flavor provided by fresh strawberries. The full cost analysis is provided below.

Please note – the cost is based on what I paid for ingredients in the year 2020. Your actual costs may differ.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Small batch fresh strawberry cupcakes

  • Difficulty: easy
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Few flavors are more evocative of summertime than strawberry. These light but moist cupcakes are a unique, all-natural celebration of warm, sunny weather.

Ingredients

    For the cake:
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or other neutral oil
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 egg white (whipped to medium peak)
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries (about two large strawberries)
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • For the frosting:
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 8 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 fresh strawberry for strawberry puree (made during preparation of the cake)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream the softened butter, granulated sugar, and oil together in a mixing bowl.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Combine milk and vanilla extract in a separate small bowl.
  3. Gently beat flour mixture and milk mixture into batter until it is smooth. It is easiest if you alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  4. Create the strawberry puree for both the cake and the frosting. To make it, add three strawberries (or about 3/8 cup of sliced strawberries) and 1 teaspoon of water to a small blender. Mix until well combined. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the puree through the strainer (to remove seeds).
  5. Set aside 1/2 tablespoon of strawberry puree and refrigerate. (You will use this when you create the frosting). Add the remaining strawberry puree to the cake batter and gently mix it in.
  6. Whip your egg white to medium peaks in a separate mixing bowl. To do this, separate the egg white from the yolk and pour the white into a mixing bowl. Begin mixing your egg white on a medium-low speed with an electric mixer, until the egg white forms a foam. Then, switch the speed to high and whip the egg whites until medium stiff peaks form. The peak should hold its shape when you lift the mixer out of the whipped egg white. See additional pictures of the process above.
  7. Gently fold the egg white into your cake batter. Do not over-mix!
  8. Line a muffin tin with four paper liners (or grease). Pour batter into the liners until they are filled about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full. The cupcakes will rise in the oven, but not as much as other recipes I have made. If you fill 1/2 of the way full with this recipe, the baked cupcakes will not reach the top of the paper liners.
  9. Bake for 14-18 minutes. Check with a toothpick. It should come out clean when the cupcakes are done.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the muffin tin for 1 minute. Remove from muffin tin and allow to cool completely prior to frosting.
  11. For the frosting:

  12. Mix softened butter, powdered sugar, strawberry puree (made earlier), and vanilla with a mixer on low speed. It should form a thick buttercream. Make sure you add the puree slowly, starting with 1/3 tablespoon. If you add too much puree, the frosting will be runny. If the frosting is too thick, add a little bit of milk until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.
  13. Frost cooled cupcakes.
  14. Enjoy!

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Eggless Devil’s Food Cupcakes (Small Batch)

You need at least a few good eggless baking recipes in your repertoire. You may be short on eggs, or you may need to consider a friend or loved one with an egg allergy.

The lack of eggs won’t be what you are thinking about when you bite into these luscious treats. These cupcakes are rich and dense, with a pleasant and unusual texture that falls somewhere between a dense cake and a fluffy brownie. In fact, they may remind you of a grown-up version of some of your favorite childhood packaged snack cakes, but without all of the artificial flavors and preservatives…

Notes on the Recipe:

Soured milk: Combining vinegar and milk is a quick way to create “sour milk”. If you have sour milk that you would like to use up, you can use it in lieu of the vinegar and milk mixture.

Batter: This cupcake batter is very thick. The batter will not pour easily, and you will need to spoon it carefully into the muffin tins.

Cupcake Texture: These eggless cupcakes are drier than traditional cupcakes and have a texture similar to a cake brownie. They are very good, but taste differently than a traditional cupcake.

Cost Analysis:

Please note – the cost is based on what I paid for ingredients in the year 2020. Your actual costs may differ.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Eggless Devil's Food Cupcakes (Small Batch)

  • Difficulty: easy
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These eggless cupcakes are rich and dense, with a pleasant and unusual texture that falls somewhere between a dense cake and a fluffy brownie.

Ingredients


For the cake:
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1 tablespoon softened butter
– 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
– 2 tablespoons milk
– 3/8 teaspoon white vinegar
– 5/8 cup (or 10 tablespoons) flour
– 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
– 2 tablespoons boiling water
– 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/8 teaspoon table salt

For the frosting:
– 4 tablespoons softened butter
– 7/8 cup (or 14 tablespoons) powdered sugar
– 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
– 1 tablespoon milk
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease.
  2. In a small bowl, combine milk and white vinegar. Set this aside for 5 minutes to “sour” the milk.
  3. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and water in a separate small bowl and set aside.
  4. Add butter to a medium-sized mixing bowl and cream it with a mixer on medium-low speed.
  5. Add brown sugar and oil to the butter. Mix on medium-low until the mixture is combined.
  6. Combine boiling water and baking soda. Add this to the brown sugar mixture and mix until well combined.
  7. Gradually stir flour mixture and “sour” milk into the brown sugar mixture. Alternate between adding the flour and milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  8. Stir until well combined, but don’t over-mix the batter!
  9. Fill 6 cupcake liners about 1/2 of the way full.
  10. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Check with a toothpick. It should come out relatively clean when the cupcakes are done.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the muffin tin for 1 minute. Remove from muffin tin and allow to cool completely prior to frosting.
  12. For the frosting:

  13. Mix softened butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, milk and vanilla with a mixer on medium speed. It should form a thick buttercream. If it is too thick, add a little bit of extra milk.
  14. Frost cooled cupcakes.
  15. Enjoy!

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Vanilla Cupcakes (small batch)

Sometimes you just need something sweet! I have a sweet tooth, so my sometimes may be more often than yours. However, I think you will want to save this recipe as it is quick, inexpensive, and only make half a dozen cupcakes!

James and I live in a divided household regarding cupcake flavors. He is a chocolate fan and I am a vanilla fan. If you are like James, you may prefer our recipe for small batch chocolate cupcakes (click here for recipe). If you are like me, or don’t have cocoa powder on hand, continue on with this recipe!

A few notes on this recipe:

You can use oil or butter for the batter. I find that oil mixes in a little bit better, and results in a slightly more moist cupcake. It is also usually less expensive.

Only use 1/2 of an egg for this recipe. If you use the full egg, the cupcakes will taste like eggs! I tried and was not a fan… A simple way to split the egg is to lightly mix it in a bowl and use half of it.

For six cupcakes, only fill the cups 1/2 way full. This will result in regular-sized cupcakes. If you fill beyond 1/2 of the way full, you will need to cook them a bit longer and the recipe will only make 4-5 cupcakes.

Add the milk slowly when making the frosting. If you add too much milk, the frosting will be a bit runny. If it is too runny, add more powdered sugar.

Cost Analysis:

These cupcakes are pretty inexpensive to make at about $0.20 a piece.

Note: The costs are based on what I paid for ingredients in 2020 Your total cost may differ.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Difficulty: easy
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These vanilla cupcakes with a vanilla buttercream frosting are easy-to-make and delicious. The cupcakes cost about $0.20 a piece, and the recipe only makes six cupcakes!

Ingredients

    For the cake:
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (or softened butter)
  • 1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 large egg (gently mix egg and use half of it – or about two tablespoons)
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the frosting:
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 8 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/3 to 1/2 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Mix granulated sugar and oil together. Add 1/2 of the egg to the mixture and stir until combined.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly stir into the oil mixture, and beat until combined.
  3. Stir in milk and vanilla extract. Gently beat batter until it is smooth. Be careful not to over-mix the batter.
  4. Line a muffin tin with paper liners (or grease) and pour batter into cups. Fill 1/2 of the way full. If you would like over-sized cupcakes, fill 2/3 of the way full and the batter should make 4 cupcakes. Otherwise, it should make 6 regular-sized cupcakes.
  5. Bake for 14-18 minutes. Check with a toothpick. It should come out clean when the cupcakes are done.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the muffin tin for 1 minute. Remove from muffin tin and allow to cool completely prior to frosting.
      For the frosting:

    1. Mix softened butter, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla with a mixer on low speed. It should form a thick buttercream. Make sure you add the milk slowly, starting with 1/3 tablespoon. If you add too much milk, the frosting will be runny.
    2. Frost cooled cupcakes.
    3. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Cupcakes (small batch)

My sweet tooth has been a little out of control lately. Since James is a chocolate fan, I decided to make chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate buttercream frosting. If you prefer vanilla, you may like our small batch vanilla cupcake recipe.

As a family of two, large batches of baked goods can be problematic. We either eat all of the treats (bad for the waistline) or don’t eat all of the treats (waste of food and money). So, this recipe is perfect for us. It makes four cupcakes that cost about $0.37 a piece (see below for a cost analysis).

Cost Analysis:

Note: The costs are based on what I paid for ingredients in 2020. Your total cost may differ.

Picture Tutorial:

For the cake:

For the frosting:

Recipe:

Small batch chocolate cupcakes

  • Difficulty: easy
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These dark chocolate cupcakes with thick chocolate buttercream frosting are rich and delicious. The recipe only makes four, so you could eat the whole batch…

Ingredients

    For the cake:
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg (at room temperature)
  • For the frosting:
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 7 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Sift together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder
  2. Beat softened butter into the mixture of dry ingredients.
  3. Beat in water and vanilla for 2 minutes. If using a hand mixer, set it to medium speed.
  4. Beat in egg for an additional 2 minutes.
  5. Line a muffin tin with paper liners (or grease) and pour batter into cups. Fill the cups 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full. If you would like over-sized cupcakes, the batter should make 4 cupcakes. Otherwise, it will make 5-6 regular-sized cupcakes. Note: filling beyond 1/2 of the way full may cause your cupcakes to form a muffin-like top. If you prefer cupcakes without this, only fill 1/2 of the way full!
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Check with a toothpick. It should come out relatively clean when the cupcakes are done.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the muffin tin for 1 minute. Remove cakes from muffin tin and allow them to cool completely before frosting.
    1. For the frosting:

      1. Combine softened butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, milk and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl and mix with a mixer. After a minute or two, it should form a thick buttercream. If it is too thick, add a little bit of extra milk and mix until smooth.
      2. Frost cooled cupcakes.
      3. Enjoy!

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15 Minute Dangerously Delicious Lava Cakes

Before making these lava cakes, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I like chocolate?
  2. Do I have 15 minutes?
  3. Do I have $2?

If you answered yes to all of the above, you should proceed!

These lava cakes are one of my default recipes for entertaining. They are delicious and can be ready in just 15 minutes! My recipe is a modified version of a recipe I saw on Kraft’s website a few years ago (click here for original recipe).

The cost computation revealed that the lava cakes cost about $0.50 per person (without any whipped cream). See below for details:

Cost Analysis:

Please note, costs are based on what I paid for my ingredients. You costs may vary.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

15 Minute Dangerously Delicious Lava Cakes

  • Difficulty: easy
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Gooey and delicious lava cakes that are easy, quick, and relatively frugal at $0.50 a piece!

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces of baker’s chocolate (I use semi-sweet)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • a few sprays of cooking spray
  • chocolate syrup and whipped cream, if desired

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut butter and chocolate into pieces, place in a large microwave-save bowl (I use a large glass measuring cup), and microwave until the butter is melted. It usually take about a minute in my microwave on HIGH.
  3. Stir the butter and chocolate mixture until the chocolate is fully melted.
  4. Add powdered sugar and stir. Add egg and egg yolk and stir. Add flour and stir.
  5. Spray a cupcake tin (or small ramekins) lightly with cooking spray.
  6. Pour batter (about 3/4 of the way full) into cupcake tins.
  7. Bake 8 to 9 min. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  8. Use a butter knife to gently remove lava cakes from cupcake tin.
  9. Garnish with chocolate syrup and whipped cream!

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