Will Run for Cupcakes

I’m training for an upcoming relay race–a very LONG, overnight, tiring run. Years ago, when we were still living in San Clemente (and living the fantasy), a storm called Sprinkles Cupcakes hit us hard. So hard were we hit that Raj used to leave work early on Fridays (let me clarify so as not to upset someone–this was considered physical training, PT, so it was a sanctioned, early leave from work) for what became known as the ‘Sprinkles’ Run.’ I suppose this ‘run’ isn’t as bad as it sounds, I mean he was burning calories by running, right? Raj would meet up with a small group of ‘work’ friends and fellow cupcake enthusiasts who set out on a five-mile run followed up by a jaunt into Sprinkles for a cupcake or two. Well actually, he’d call ahead and have a dozen cupcakes in various flavors (an on a good day, a shot of frosting for me) waiting to be picked up for himself, and me, and our dog Shanti. (Sprinkles makes great doggie cupcakes called ‘pupcakes.’) I could never meet up for these runs because I was too busy working, supporting the habit,…but that was a lifetime ago.
These days, I’m too busy looking for things to do. In honor of Raj’s ‘cupcake runs’ and because Valentine’s Day is just two days away, I decided to make these Sprinkles’ Strawberry Cupcakes.
I thought they turned out great. I was nervous about getting the frosting just right as the reviews on MarthatStewart.com were horrible–the frosting is runny, there’s not enough liquid, too much liquid, it’s disgusting…EXPLETIVES were seen in TWO reviews; it was that bad, seriously. After reading the reviews, I fought the urge to spend way too much money on imported, Betty Crocker “Strawberry” (artificially) flavored and brightly colored frosting at the grocery store. With trepidation, I continued on. It did take a few minutes in the mixer for the butter and powdered sugar to come together, but eventually they did. The frosting was perfect and slightly pink thanks to the addition of the REAL strawberry puree that I added.
Next up on the worry list was frosting the cupcakes. I don’t like the look of piped cupcakes (not home-made enough looking) and I prefer the dimpled look of Magnolia Bakery’s cupcakes to Sprinkles’. I was relatively happy with my attempts. In the course of my cupcake research yesterday, I read that it takes about forty hours of on the job cupcake frosting training to get the ‘dimple’ just right. I only have about 38 hours of training left to go.

Lastly, I added a few pale pink sprinkles that I’ve been hording in the larder for years (unsure why, courtesy of Nicole’s trip to Rome), along with a homemade heart-shaped sugar cookie (recipe which will be posted, next).

Sprinkles’ Strawberry Cupcakes

This recipe for strawberry cupcakes is from Candace Nelson of Sprinkles Cupcakes.

The recipe comes from The Martha Stewart Show, February Winter 2008

  • YieldMakes 1 dozen


  • 2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • Sprinkles’ Strawberry Frosting (follows)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
  6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

Sprinkles’ Strawberry Frosting


  • 1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

29 thoughts on “Will Run for Cupcakes

  1. How is it possible that you already have 2 votes for “excellent” but no comments. Let me guess? You and Raj gave yourself a star each. What is my prize today for first comment? The cupcakes look really good. i have made the Strawberry cupcakes from my favorite Southern cookbook “Screen Doors and sweet Tea”. They were very good. Just might have to try your Sprinkles strawberry cupcakes. What are you making for Valentine’s dinner? Not sure yet. Maybe lobster rolls. Kind of craving that. Joey ran 9 miles yesterday and had to do the intense Prefontaine workout. He deserves a cupcake or to for sure. Did you see his latest FB post about his new L lens. he says that it’s very sexy. Check it out. BTW, Wikipedia says very clearly that DS did not go to or graduate from Princeton.

  2. All these cupcakes and soooo many miles away.. Nicole will have to get busy with her cupcake wars so we all can benifit as neighbors… They look great and are you sure there is enough to take care of your man? I will be looking for day old deals on cupcakes and maybe Dick and I can share a cup of senior coffee at our small botique coffee shop, along with a tasty treat. I know these won’t ship but at least the pictures they say are worth a million..Keep on running and cooking.. Love, Dad

  3. This is from poser mom. Jen, the cupcakes are making me drool, not enough to make me whip up a batch or two. I enjoy your commentary that goes along with the photos. Be sure Nicole tells you about the “funeral cookies” and takes a picture for you. Love, Mom

  4. Those look AMAZING! I had a mix for Sprinkles’ Red Velvet cupcakes awhile ago but never made them and ended up throwing it away. Crumbs is the new cupcake place here right now and NBC4 did a special on them last week. I tried them a few months ago in Clarendon and wasn’t very impressed. I baked my Valentine’s Day cookies today and am decorating them tomorrow. They’re nowhere near as professional as yours but your baking is definitely my inspiration. Good luck at the relay race! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

    1. I can’t believe you’d throw away a Sprinkles mix. That’s just crazy talk.
      Be sure to post your cookies on your blog (which I keep checking for updates!). I broke down and made Valentine’s Day cookies for a hostess gift and then Raj passed out the rest at work. I’ll post them tomorrow. They weren’t as good as usual, but then what would you expect with a propane oven?
      Any new flavors at Buzz?

      1. I’ll be on the hunt for a new Sprinkles mix so that I can try it. I posted a picture of some of my cookies but it’s on FB and not my “blog”. I haven’t updated it in so long and I’m not sure I’ll get back to it. We’ll see. I hope you photographed your cookies! If you’re not blogging about them, you’ll at least have to e-mail a picture. I haven’t been to Buzz in awhile but I’m going tomorrow to pick up cupcakes for Valentine’s Day dessert so I’ll let you know what their latest special is. I’m also putting a box in the mail for you tomorrow courtesy of the Catholic Club.

        1. Your cookies look fabulous! I think they are SO worthy of a blog post. Seriously. I think you need to start a second blog–something catchy sounding with your former name Tart. Do it for the cookies.
          I was going to post on FB that you should sell these as a fundraiser for the Catholic Club, but I didn’t want to offend anyone.
          I’m glad to hear that you’re still supporting Buzz. Take pictures of the cupcakes. It will bring me a momentary moment of Buzz relief. I’ll post pics of my cookies later on today, but they’re not as good as years past.

  5. Strawberry cupcakes sound delicious, and well done for persevering and making them from scratch! It’s the only way. Not sure if you can get buttermilk out there in Amman, but if you can try my red velvet recipe for cupcakes. If you like them, of course. I’ve played around with a Martha Stewart recipe to some success–people say they’re better than Sprinkles. I can’t eat them because of the dairy, so I’ll trust them.
    Like your posts! Will be following. 🙂

    1. I love your red velvet cupcakes and I can’t get buttermilk here, but I’ve learned out of necessity how to make it from milk and vinegar. Your blog is amzing. Love the recipes and pictures. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.

      1. Thank you, and likewise–I wish I’d started a blog like yours when I lived in London. I look forward to reading about your adventures! I’m jealous of the spices you must be able to get there.

  6. Sprinkles cupcakes are huge here. I’ve never had one because I live in Chicago and most of the shops are in California. But, I really, really want to. 😦 I saw this on Martha and they looked amazing, Yours look so delicious I think I might give these a try. My kids love strawberries, so I think they would go crazy for these! 😀

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