Be Mine?

I've been dreaming about these cupcakes for a couple weeks now.  I saw this recipe for strawberry cake a couple weeks ago, and the gears started turning.  Here was my train of thought...

Strawberry cake--> pink--> Valentine's Day!--> hearts! --> chocolates!--> OH MY GOD. CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRY CUPCAKES!

So before I knew it was writing on Facebook to my friend Leah, who own's my fave kitchen store, Hill's Kitchen, asking for heart-shaped cupcake molds.  I got the last set in the store!  I ordered another set from Amazon, and then started talking about these hypothetical cupcakes to all of my coworkers.  So tonight was the night.  Tomorrow's the big day for all you lovaaahs out there!  Maybe make your valentine some sweet cupcakes to show your love!

There are some great things and not-as-great things about this cake.  Not so great? Waiting for strawberries to thaw, separating egg whites, making strawberry puree.  Great? Leftover strawberry puree, juice, egg yolks...can someone say ice cream?!  I'm really hoping to find a good recipe in the next couple days.  Anyway!  Cupcakes!

I'll warn you now, this batter is SO good.  I walked into our living room, where Jeff was watching TV, holding the bowl of batter and said, "Okay. I know I'm pregnant. I know this has raw egg whites in this, so I shouldn't eat it. But I did. And oh. my. gawd.  It's SO good!!!"  It tastes kind of like strawberry ice cream!  Delish!  When you get caught in the kitchen with your finger in the bowl, don't say I didn't warn you!

The original recipe, below, featured a champagne buttercream (wow!) but I thought it would be so delicious to just dip these in chocolate ganache, like a chocolate-covered strawberry.  Plus, they are perfect for the heart-shaped molds!  These cakes would be so excellent with any type of frosting, though.  I think it might be my new favorite recipe!  Dee-lish!

Adapted to cupcakes from Cook Like a Champion

Makes about 24 cupcakes

For the strawberry purée:
  • 24 ounces frozen strawberries, thawed

 For the cake:
  • 3/4 cup strawberry purée, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened

To make the strawberry purée, pour thawed strawberries into a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl to remove any liquid. Save liquid for a later use or discard. Purée strawberries in a blender or food processor and set aside 3/4 cup for the cake. The remaining 1/2 cup can be used to fill the cake, top ice cream, make daiquiris or almost anything else you can think of.

To make the cake, preheat oven to 350º. Prepare a cupcake pan, either with paper liners, cooking spray, or use silicone molds like mine on a baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together strawberry purée, milk, egg whites and vanilla. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt on low speed. Add butter and continue mixing until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the purée mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Divide the batter evenly among the pans (a kitchen scale works wonders here) and smooth tops with a rubber spatula.

Bake cakes for about 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in molds for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Ganache:
•4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped (I just used chips, unchopped. Mini chips would be even better)
•1/2 C heavy cream
•2 Tbsp light corn syrup

To make the ganache, put the chocolate in a small mixing bowl. Combine the cream and the corn syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over the chocolate right away, and stir slowly until all of the chocolate melts and the ganache is silky and shiny. (It takes a while! Be patient and keep stirring, it will get there!).

Dip the top of each cupcake in the ganache, tapping gently to remove the excess. Return the cupcakes to the wire rack to let the glaze set up, at least 30 minutes.

The cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container in the refridgerator for up to 3 days.

The finished product got the hubby seal of approval, so you KNOW they're good!

 And just for kicks, here's a pic of me and my valentine from the Capitals game on Saturday (in our new jerseys!).  Happy Valentine's Day everyone!


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