Recipe Review

I Tried King Arthur’s Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcake Recipe, and It’s a Keeper

published Jun 4, 2023
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King Arthur's Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes decorated on plate.
Credit: Choya Johnson

If there’s one thing I won’t deny, it’s my love for cheesecake. While I can pretty much enjoy any variety of the dessert, my absolute favorite version of it is strawberry. I’m not ashamed to admit that I regularly take the long way home when I’m out just to be able to stop by a Cheesecake Factory en route to my destination to pick up a slice or two. 

When I can’t get to a Cheesecake Factory to pick up a slice, though, I love to stop by local bakeries to see if they have their own special version of anything cheesecake-based. In most cases, the lineup usually features something strawberry-based. And in just about every case, I’m choosing that one without a second thought given. 

So I’m sure you can imagine that I was thrilled when I stumbled across King Arthur Baking Company’s incredibly delicious-looking recipe for strawberry cheesecake cupcakes. Am I usually someone who likes to do a lot of baking? No, but I didn’t let that stand between me and my love for strawberry cheesecake. Here’s how it went.

How to Make King Arthur’s Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

This recipe is a bit layered, so if you have time to start in advance, my advice would definitely be to do so. 

Start by making your strawberry reduction (you can do this up to five days in advance) by rinsing strawberries, removing the stems and leaves, and dicing them. Add the now-diced strawberries to a pan along with granulated sugar. Mix to combine and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Once the strawberries have become soft and the juices are beginning to flow out, remove from the heat. 

Next, using a food processor or blender, pulse the strawberries until smooth. This should provide you with 1 1/2 cups of strawberry-flavored liquid. Add it back into your pan, bring it to a low boil over medium heat and continue to stir for 6 to 8 minutes. Once slightly thick, foamy, and dark in color, you’ll know it’s ready. 

In a small bowl, stir together your remaining sugar along with cornstarch before pouring into the strawberry mixture along with lemon juice. Stir at a low boil for one minute, remove from the heat, and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. You’ll be left with a cup of strawberry reduction.

While the reduction is cooling, preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare to make your cupcakes. After greasing a muffin pan or lining it with baking cups, use a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment and combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mixing at a low speed, add in your butter and combine until it delivers a “sandy” appearance. 

Next, beat in the egg, egg white, water, and vanilla extract, mixing well until no flour is visible. Be sure to stop the mixer periodically to scrape the bowl and attachments. If your mixture is thick at this point, don’t worry — this is what we’re going for. Add in your strawberry reduction and (optional) red food coloring, mixing on low speed until your batter is smooth. Scrape the bowl again and mix on low for another 30 seconds. Spoon the batter into the muffin pan and bake for 20 to 24 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

While your cupcakes are baking, make the filling and frosting. In your stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment, combine cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt, beating until smooth. Take some of the mixture and add it to a small bowl along with some lemon juice. Stir to combine, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use as filling.

Add heavy cream to the remaining cream cheese mixture and, using the whisk attachment of your stand mixture, whip on medium-low speed until soft peaks form. Then, sprinkle in confectioners’ sugar and whip again until stiff peaks form. 

When you’re ready to assemble the cupcakes, use a paring knife (or teaspoon cookie scoop) to scoop out a 1- to 1 1/4-inch hole in the center of your cupcakes. Set the top to the side and add a bit of the cream cheese filling, followed by a bit of the strawberry reduction to each hole. Add the top back, and after filling a piping bag with more reduction and your frosting, add to the top of your cupcakes. Finish it off with your graham cracker crumbs and garnish with a halved strawberry before stepping back and marveling at your incredible creation. 

My Honest Opinion of King Arthur’s Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

I’m not someone who does a lot of baking, so I went into this thinking it would be a bit challenging for me. And while I did get a little flustered throughout the process (mainly while trying to get my icing to look the best), I was very proud of the outcome — and, even more, the taste that the recipe produced. Seriously, these cupcakes were so good!

A fantastic combination of two of the best treats, I felt so good about myself after making these, and even gave myself a nice pat on the back after I was done. This is definitely not a quick and easy recipe, but the result is surely worth all of the work you put into it. 

Would I make them again? Without a doubt! Would I choose these over my favorite slice from The Cheesecake Factory? While the convenience of picking up a slice most likely will outweigh my desire to make these cupcakes multiple times in one month, I could see myself — with prep being a part of the equation — making these when I want a well-deserved treat. 

Tips to Make King Arthur’s Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

  1. Do some prep work. The recipe notes that there is a full hour of prep time to make these delicious cupcakes come to life, and you definitely don’t want to think that it’ll take any less. In fact, if this is your first time making them, you’ll probably want to add a little more time just to be safe. As such, you can make the process a bit easier by making the reduction, filling, and frosting a day or two in advance of creating the actual cupcakes.
  2. Don’t fill every cupcake. Although the combination of the strawberry reduction and cream cheese-based filling was delicious and I loved it in the first cupcake I tasted, I wouldn’t necessarily make a full batch including it. Truthfully, I felt as if it was too much. I kept a few to the side without the filling and enjoyed them with just the frosting on top. The result was still just as delicious.
  3. Don’t skip the graham cracker topping. Cheesecake isn’t really cheesecake without the crispy, sweet graham cracker crust. And while these cupcakes don’t have that as the base, the crumbles on top add the feeling it’s missing. Additionally, you could add a bit of the crumbles to the bottom of your cupcake liner if you feel like you need a bit more of the graham-y taste.