Rachael’s Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cupcakes
Valentine’s Day has been labeled and advertised as “the day for couples,” but I disagree. It should simply be “the day of love.” Valentine’s Day should be the day that you are reminded of all the people you love in your life—mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends, kids, and yes, significant others. I’m sure I left out a few groups of people (e.g., teachers, neighbors, pool boys). Go out of your way on Valentine’s Day to tell/show the people you love that you are so grateful they’re in your life. When my sister and I were kids, my mom had a fun, little tradition on Valentine’s Day. She’d place a couple unwrapped goodies (e.g., Valentine’s Day-themed pajama pants, a gigantic Hershey kiss) at the end of our beds for us to discover when we woke up. Her gesture was sweet and simple. I want to continue the tradition with my future kids.
Your mission on this upcoming Valentine’s Day, if you choose to accept it, is to identify several of the people you love in your life and do something out of the ordinary. Drop them a note, give them a call, or bake them something sweet. I have just the thing! Inspired by a chocolate-covered strawberry, I decided to attempt Chocolate-Covered Strawberry cupcakes. The following recipes for strawberry cupcakes and strawberry frosting are from Candace Nelson of Sprinkles Cupcakes (with some minor alterations). The recipe I found online accidentally omitted the ½ teaspoon of baking soda, which makes the cupcakes lighter. In addition, I (as well as other bakers) added a bit more strawberry puree to up the strawberry flavor.
1 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ cup whole milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
– Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/2 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.
– In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.
– In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
– With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
– Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely before icing.
½ cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
Pinch of coarse salt
3 ¾ cups confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
– Place strawberries in bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed.
– In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy.
– Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners sugar; beat until well combined.
– Add vanilla and 4 tablespoons strawberry puree; mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like strawberry ice cream. (Note: You could seriously eat this by the spoonful, just save enough to frost your cupcakes.)
2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped semisweet chocolate)
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
– Combine chocolate and oil in microwave-proof bowl and microwave for a minute. Take out and stir; microwave for another minute until completely melted.
– Transfer to a small, deep bowl and let cool for about 15 minutes.
– Holding each cupcake by its bottom, dip cupcake in the chocolate to coat frosting, allowing excess to drip off.
– After dipping all of the cupcakes, refrigerate for 30 minutes to let coating set.
What I learned from this experience:
- As delicious as this strawberry frosting is, it did not successfully dip in the chocolate coating. Therefore, do not use this frosting recipe if you plan to dip the cupcakes in the chocolate coating. Find a thicker, more solid frosting recipe. I used a store-bought brand which dipped successfully. However, the flavor of the homemade strawberry frosting was far superior to the store-bought brand. For the ones I didn’t dip, I topped with half of a chocolate-covered strawberry. Appropriate and delicious.
- The strawberries provide just a little pink coloring to the batter and frosting, but if you want more, just add a bit of red food coloring. I didn’t because I was okay with the natural colors. Also, I was out of red food coloring.
Though this creation consisted of strawberry cake topped with strawberry frosting, it was not too much strawberry. I brought these to our friends’ house and got rave reviews. I asked if they wanted to keep the extra cupcakes and I didn’t have to ask twice. I expected nothing less from a recipe created by Candace Nelson of Sprinkles Cupcakes.
Spread a little love this Valentine’s Day. Everyone deserves something sweet.