(And let me purchase this Pavlovian Conditioning Wristband for over-eating before I dig in to these beauties… ) ((<– Just included for Lol’s))
Just consider: pillowy soft and moist chocolate cupcakes, topped with a delicately sweet and decidedly fruity strawberry buttercream. And also imagine: no unnecessary piping bags or equipment to create a beautiful bakery-esque frosting swirl. (Ziplocks are how I roll around here at The Gourmet Gourmand kitchen).
Basically, these cupcakes are my favorites. I know there are a lot of cupcake recipes on the internet. And please don’t flatter me with the inappropriate credit of inventing this recipe myself (although I kind of invented the frosting). The cupcake recipe was snagged from The Cupcake Project, where the author created 7 rounds of cupcakes that were taste-tested by a panel of judges. And the recipe included here is the one that they preferred. And I absolutely loved it as well.
The texture ended up being soft and moist, but definitely dense enough to hold up to a hefty mound of frosting. The flavor was decidedly chocolately and incorporated a combination of melted chocolate as well as cocoa powder. Dream. Come. True. I did not use any coffee to punch up the cocoa flavor, and didn’t miss it, but if you can’t imagine chocolate baking without, you are welcome to add 1 teaspoon of instant coffee/ espresso powder to the batter.Now the strawberry buttercream was a recipe invented in my own head. I basically took a whole bunch (read: 1/2 pound) of fresh strawberries, pureed them with a little water in the blender, and then cooked the heck out of them in a saucepan.
The idea with any fresh fruit frosting is that you need to remove a huge amount of the liquid from the fruit or else you’ll end up with a weeping, seeping mess. No one wants that.
So be prepared to watch and stir for a while as the strawberry puree cooks down, or buy yourself some strawberry jam to use instead. The puree will get kind of frothy for a while and then eventually settle down. The color should darken slightly. You’ll know its ready when it’s popping and spluttering similar to cooked polenta or grits, and have a similar consistency. After you’ve prepared your puree, make sure to strain it well with a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. My technique here is to “assist” by mashing it back and forth with a rubber spatula until the seedless puree seeps through. It should be thick enough that this will be required- it shouldn’t all pour through by itself. You will need to scrape off the bottom of the sieve to access all your lovely puree.
Volume-wise I ended up with about 5 tablespoons of puree.
Then proceed to whip up a buttercream as you normally would- butter and powdered sugar. And add that beautiful strawberry puree to add a punch of tangy strawberry flavor.
Decorate as you see fit! Enjoy!
Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting
_For the Chocolate Cupcakes_
- ¼ cup butter ½ stick, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate
- 2 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup room temperature water
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder optional
_For the strawberry frosting_
- 8 oz strawberries
- 2 tablespoons water if needed
- ½ cup butter 1 stick, room temperature.
- 3 cups powdered sugar
For the Chocolate Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with baking cups, or grease with cooking spray.
- Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat. Remove and set aside to cool to approximately room temperature.
- In a large bowl combine butter and sugar. Mix on medium speed until butter is incorporated into sugar and it is the texture of wet sand.
- Add in melted chocolate and mix thoroughly. Next add eggs and egg yolks. Mix until just combined.
- Next add vegetable oil, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix thoroughly.
- In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients- flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa. Whisk to combine and break up any lumps.
- Pour about ½ of the dry ingredients into the batter. Mix until just combined.
- (If using coffee or espresso powder, mix into water)
- Add ½ of the water and mix.
- Repeat until no ingredients remain.
- Fill cupcake liners until they are about ¾ of the way full.
- Bake for 19-21 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove from cupcake tin to a wire rack to cool.
To make the strawberry frosting
- Puree strawberries in the blender. If needed, add a few tablespoons of water to assist the puree.
- Pour puree into a small saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reduces and is about the texture of polenta/grits (takes about 6-7 minutes).
- Pour puree through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on the solids with a spatula, and into a bowl to cool. Puree will be thick.
- Next, in a medium bowl, cream the butter with hand-mixer on medium, until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, until mixed.
- Add 5 tablespoons of puree to the mixture. Mix well.
- Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.