They`re nutritious, packing fibre and vitamin C, but are most prized for too-good-to-pass-up flavour. You may be tempted to eat them all straight from the vine or container, but be sure to save some for this delectable treat. Make sure you buy the best berries with rich red colour and fresh green caps.
Heat oven to 350°. Line 18 standard-size cups with paper liners.
Cupcakes: Mix chopped strawberries, ¼ cup granulated sugar and lemon rind in medium-size saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and mixture is thickened. Spoon into small bowl; let cool completely, for about 1 hour.
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
Beat together butter and the remaining 1 cup sugar in medium-size bowl until fluffy, about 2-minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after adding each one. Beat in the vanilla essence.
On low speed, beat flour mixture into butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk and ending with flour. Swirl in cooled strawberry mixture to create a marble pattern. Divide batter equally among prepared cups.
Bake in 350° over for 18 to 20 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when gently touched. Let cool in cups on wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Un-mold cupcakes onto rack to cool completely.
Frosting: Beat together butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla in medium-size bowl until smooth, about 3 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.
Garnish: Place cut strawberries on large plate. Liberally brush melted jam over each piece. Set aside.
Frost tops of cupcakes. Top each with glazed strawberry pieces.