These Strawberry Crunch Cupcakes are my take on the classic strawberry crunch ice cream bars we all ate as kids. They are filled with nostalgic memories and bright strawberry flavor. They are vanilla and strawberry Jell-O cupcakes, topped with vanilla buttercream, and a delicious strawberry crunch layer.
Strawberry Crunch Cupcakes
You are going to LOVE these cupcakes for FOUR reasons…
- The strawberry Jell-O in these vanilla cupcakes gives them the best strawberry flavor without overpowering the other elements
- They are topped with my Not So Sweet Buttercream which is stable, not as sweet as traditional buttercream, and has a delicious vanilla flavor.
- The strawberry crunch tastes identical to the ice cream bars. All credit goes to the freeze-dried strawberries.
- They are made with ingredients you can find year around, no waiting for strawberry season.
All of these elements are quick and easy to make. I will say, it does require a few more steps than normal and a pinch of patience. But don’t worry these cupcakes are so worth it!
Strawberry Jell-O Cupcakes: buttermilk, oil, an egg, vanilla, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, strawberry gelatin and water.
Vanilla Not So Sweet Buttercream: butter, cream cheese, vanilla, powdered sugar, meringue powder, cornstarch.
Strawberry Crunch: vanilla Oreos, freeze-dried strawberries, and butter.
Your Game Plan
Make the vanilla cupcakes. Whisk together your dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients, and fold the warm water into the batter. Divide the batter and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Once done, pop them in the refrigerator to cool.
Whisk strawberry gelatin. Whisk together your boiling water and strawberry gelatin. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Poke cupcakes and drench in strawberry gelatin. Use a fork to poke the cupcakes and do not be afraid to press all the way to the bottom and multiple times. Add 1 tablespoon of strawberry gelatin to each cupcake. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours or until the gelatin has set.
Make strawberry crunch. In a food processor pulse all ingredients until they are crumbs.
Whip up vanilla buttercream. Beat together your butter, cream cheese, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and beat until light and fluffy.
Decorate cupcakes and eat!
What if I do not have buttermilk? No problem. All you are going to do is take a 1/2 cup of milk and add a 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar. Give it a good stir and allow it to sour for about 15 minutes.
I don’t have a food processor to make the Strawberry Crumble. A great alternative is to place all the ingredients into a gallon bag and roll it with a rolling pin until crumbs form. You can also use a meat cleaver to lightly beat down the ingredients.
Can I use sugar free gelatin? Of course! Follow the directions as normal and you will have no problems.
I don’t have a piping bag or piping tips. There are a couple alternatives in this situation: (1) you can use a knife or spatula to frost the cupcakes and (2) you can place the frosting in a gallon bag and cut the tip off to make your own piping bag.
Is there any way to simplify this recipe? I want you to use my recipe of course! But if you are crunched for time and still want to make these, I recommend you use a store-bought vanilla cake mix and vanilla frosting. You will still follow the basic directions.
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Strawberry Crunch Cupcakes
Strawberry Jell-O Cupcakes
- ½ cup buttermilk; room temperature
- ¼ cup Canola oil
- 1 egg; room temperature
- ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granular sugar
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup water; luke warm
- 1.5 ounces strawberry gelatin
- ½ cup water; boiling
- 6-8 vanilla Oreos
- .5 ounce freeze-dried strawberries
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter; melted
Not So Sweet Buttercream
- ½ cup unsalted butter; room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese; room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon meringue powder
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Strawberry Jell-O Cupcakes
- Set your oven to 350° F (177° C) and line a 12 cavity muffin tin with baking cups or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, granular sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Create a well in the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and the egg.
- Fold everything together until just combined, careful to not overmix.
- Slowly pour the warm water into the batter, stirring at the same time. The batter should be loose with no lumps of batter.
- Divide batter equally into the 12 cavities, filling them 2/3 of the way full.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the cupcakes no longer appear glossy on the top and spring back to the touch. A toothpick test should come out clean.
- Let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes in the muffin tin. Then remove the cupcakes and place them in the refrigerator to cool completely.
- While the cupcakes cool, prepare the strawberry gelatin. In a small bowl add boiling water and strawberry gelatin. Whisk until incorporated and set aside.
- Once the cupcakes are cooled, poke several holes in them with a fork. You want plenty of holes so the gelatin has places to seep in.
- Using a spoon, pour the slightly cooled strawberry gelatin over the cupcakes.
- Place the cupcakes in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours to set up.
- In a food processor pulse together vanilla Oreos, freeze-dried strawberries, and melted unsalted butter until fine crumbs.
- Pour into a shallow-wide dish or plate and set aside.
Not So Sweet Vanilla Buttercream
- Using a stand mixer, on medium speed, beat together the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl sift together the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and corn starch.
- On low to medium speed, add 1 cup of the powdered sugar mixture to the cream cheese mixture at a time, scraping down the bowl between each cup.
- Once combined, turn stand mixer to high and beat for 30 seconds.
- Fit piping bag with a coupler and piping tip of your choice. Fill with buttercream, tie off with a rubber band, and set aside until ready to use.
Decorating the Cupcakes
- Pipe a layer of buttercream on top of the entire cupcake. Dip it into the strawberry crunch until evenly and well coated.
- Pipe a swirl in the center and on top of the strawberry crunch, leaving some of the strawberry crunch exposed.
- Continue until all 12 cupcakes are decorated. Serve.
- In the refrigerator, covered, for four to five days.
- In the freezer, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to three months.
If you make my Strawberry Crunch Cupcakes, don’t forget to leave this recipe a rating, comment, or like. Tag me on social media using the hashtag #EntirelyElizabeth when sharing your own personal photos making this recipe. I would love to see your version and know your thoughts!