Easy Strawberry Cupcakes

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Ingredients:

1 (15.25 ounce) package french vanilla cake mix

1/2 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

1 cup greek strawberry yogurt

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup water

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup diced fresh strawberries

4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature (frosting)

1.5 pounds (24 ounces or about 5.5 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted (frosting)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (frosting)

about 8 medium fresh strawberries, pureed (frosting)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, Greek yogurt, oil, water, eggs and vanilla. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined. Fold in diced strawberries. Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes. The cupcakes may develop a slight divot in the center as they cool, but no worries, you'll cover that with delicious frosting. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare your frosting.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes. Turn the mixer down to low speed and gradually add in the confectioners' sugar until it is completely incorporated. Add in vanilla and 3 tablespoons of the strawberry puree, mix until incorporated. Turn off the mixer and check the buttercream for taste and texture. Gradually add in the last 2 tablespoons of strawberry puree until you reach the desired level of strawberry flavor. Please note that adding more than the recommended 5 tablespoons could result in a thinner frosting. Turn the mixer back up to medium-high speed and beat the mixture for about 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy.

3. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and if desired, garnish with fresh strawberries.

Bon Appetit!

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