Don't even think about putting that can of artificially flavored strawberry icing on your homemade cakes or cupcakes. You can easily make the real thing at home, using fresh strawberries, for a far superior and authentic flavor. There are a couple of simple ways to make strawberry icing from scratch, depending on your flavor and texture preferences. Mix the strawberries into classic buttercream for a fluffy icing that's easy to spread, or opt for cream cheese if you prefer icing that's slightly thicker and less sweet.
Strawberry Buttercream Icing
Wash and pat dry fresh strawberries, removing as much moisture as possible. Slice off the stems and chop the strawberries into tiny pieces. If you want a smoother frosting, place the strawberries in a blender and pulse until they are pureed.
Place unsalted room-temperature butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat butter with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer at medium speed, until it's fluffy looking. Use about 2 to 2 1/2 sticks of butter for every 4 cups of powdered sugar.
Add powdered sugar to the mixing bowl, about a 1/2 cup at a time, while continuously mixing, now on low speed.
Pour in the chopped or pureed strawberries and beat with the mixer for about 30 seconds. Use about 1/4 to 1/2 cup strawberries, depending on how strong you want the strawberry flavor to be.
Add in heavy cream, one teaspoon at a time, while still mixing, until the icing has reached your desired level of creaminess and thickness.
Strawberry Cream Cheese
Cut off stems from washed strawberries and cut into tiny pieces, or place in the blender and blend until pureed.
Add cream cheese and butter to a large mixing bowl. Beat together with an electric mixer on low speed, until light and fluffy. Use a 1/2 stick of butter for every 8 ounces of cream cheese.
Beat in the chopped or pureed strawberries until the mixture is somewhat smooth. Expect some small chunks if you used chopped strawberries. Use up to a 1/2 cup of strawberries.
Add in the powdered sugar, about a 1/2 cup at a time, until the mix reaches the icing consistency and flavor you prefer.
Add more powdered sugar to the buttercream or cream cheese icing if it is too thin; and milk, or pureed strawberries, if it is too thick.
Buttercream-frosted cakes can be stored at room temperature, no higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, for up to 3 days, and up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Cream cheese-frosted cakes must be refrigerated, and stay fresh for 1 week.
Store refrigerated cakes in an airtight cake carrier to keep them fresh for as long as possible.