GC Market Day: Strawberry Cupcake Edition

GC Market Day is a new Garden Collage feature where we spotlight new, intriguing recipes using ingredients sourced almost exclusively from the Farmers Market– right down to the butter and honey. This week, we highlight June strawberry season with a new recipe for Farmers Market Cupcakes and Strawberry Lemonade–the perfect pink combo for a summer party.

Market day means possibilities. Walking into the market, the same foods that looks dingy in your supermarket (or even your fridge) are bright and inviting and irresistible. Market Day features will present a project inspired by the market, so that you can bring it home and really savor all that the market has to offer. Farmers markets have plenty of foods that, with a couple of staples from around the house, can lead to endless delicious and fun possibilities that can keep both kids and grown-ups engaged for hours.

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Not only will a delicious and beautiful project keep everyone busy, it makes the market a part of life in a real way. Farmers markets are not meant to be quaint destinations for window-shopping. They are meant to give the community access to passionate growers and makers. So let’s see what we can do when we squeeze out everything the market has to offer.

Strawberry Season Cupcakes and Lemonade

There’s something about cupcakes that seem artificial. Especially in the last ten years, wherein the cupcake game has gotten so out-of-hand with massive fondant sculptures and graphic designs that it’s hard to travel to a new city without stumbling upon multiple bustling cupcake shops. But cupcakes can be earthy and natural if they are inspired by what’s really in season. Strawberries make pretty great food coloring all on their own.

There are so many reasons to use local ingredients. Farm-fresh butter, especially in spring and early summer, has a bright yellow color and a sweet, bold flavor when the cows are grazing on spring grass. Bright gold, nearly orange, egg yolks whip up smooth and creamy and make baked goods richer without needing any fats at all. Plus, farmers market honey, especially unfiltered honey, can add serious flavor depending on the varietal.

When you work with ingredients of a place (with what chefs call “terroir”,) there are so many more variants and ways to customize the recipe to your market, in your town, in the month or even according to the week you visit. Below is a recipe for strawberry coconut cupcakes with a honey-sweetened strawberry lemonade. This recipe happens to be gluten- and nut-free, but we are confident that all will enjoy.

We chose to decorate our table with delicate and bright Sweet Williams. We encourage you to make it your own. Your flowers, your berries, your honey, your butter will all customize it for you, so don’t be too precious. It’s your market day.

Strawberry Coconut Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

  • Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes
  • Market ingredients (as many as possible):
    5 large eggs
    1 cup butter (unsalted)
    ⅔ cup honey
    ⅔ cup strawberries (chopped) – just under 1 pint
  • Other ingredients:
    ⅔ Coconut flour
    2 Tbsp Tapioca starch
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 Tbl Vanilla extract
    3 cups confectioners sugar (organic preferred)
    1 pinch or two sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients (coconut flour, Tapioca starch, baking soda, salt in a mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, honey, and vanilla extract.
  4. Vigorously mix wet ingredient into dry – the coconut flour with absorb the moisture very quickly but don’t worry.
  5. Fold in the chopped strawberries.
  6. Spoon batter into a lined cupcake tin and bake for up to 30 minutes  – start checking with a toothpick in the center at 20 minutes – the toothpick should come out clean.
  7. Let cupcakes cool completely before icing or eating (about 1 hour).
  8. For the icing, use a rubber spatula (or mixer) to gradually work the ½  confectioners sugar into the butter.
  9. Chop 2-3 strawberries and muddle in a mortar and pestle (or with a spoon at the bottom of a pint glass) and force the mush through a wire mesh strainer. Add the juice to butter and sugar, then add the remaining sugar. Feel free to increase or decrease sugar slightly until a firm but fluffy texture is reached. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before icing fully cooled cupcakes.
  10. Ice cupcakes with buttercream. Topping suggestions are the teeny tiny first strawberries of summer, shredded unsweetened coconut or edible flowers.

Local Strawberry Lemonade

  • Market ingredients:
    ¼ cup of honey
    ½ cup strawberries
  • Other ingredients:
    3 lemons


  1. Heat honey in a saucepan on low heat with 1 cup water until honey is dissolved. Allow to thicken for 5 minutes then take off the heat and let cool.
  2. Chop all strawberries and muddle at the base of a pitcher with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add the juice of 3 lemons to the pitcher along with the honey syrup – lemonade will be mildly sweet, so adjust quantities to taste.
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