These cupcakes were such a sweet ending to a wonderful meal. At first glance, you’d think the strawberries are missing – but fear not, they’re just tucked inside! To pull together our strawberry-themed affair, I figured we needed a really fantastic dessert that would blow everything else out of the water. And so became these cupcakes!
The recipe begins with a basic chocolate cupcake recipe. The cupcakes baked up beautifully, but within minutes of being removed from the oven, they all collapsed! I am partial to cupcakes with nicely round domed tops, so this was a bit disappointing at first sight – but after tasting one that had accidentally broken, all doubts were gone. The cupcakes were great! Ultra soft and tender, with a generous crumb, and a smooth chocolate flavor.
While the cupcakes were baking, I made a strawberry chocolate ganache, which would become the filling for these cupcakes. With just a few simple ingredients – cream, chocolate, vanilla, strawberries – it’s really something wonderful, and surprisingly simple. After the ganache I whipped together the very basic vanilla buttercream, and then got to assembling the cupcakes.
The finished product was something visually stunning, and sinfully sweet. Combining each of the humble components elevated them all to a whole new level. The delicious chocolate cupcakes got a boost of chocolate flavor from the strawberry-sweetened ganache. The vanilla buttercream – too plain on it’s own – worked magic on the cupcakes offering a creamy, sweet, buttery contrast to the deep, dark, dense cupcakes. A full bite incorporating each of the components was simply divine.
** One small note, the ganache recipe included is also for a glaze, which I omitted for simplicity sake. That being said, I think it would be a nice touch!
Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from Cupcake Blog
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup high quality unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with 16 paper liners and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, and beat until well combined.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a medium bowl to combine. In a separate bowl (or a liquid measuring cup), stir the milk and vanilla to combine. Set aside.
Add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat just to combine, then add about a half of the milk and continue to beat until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, ending with the dry ingredients. Once all ingredients have been added, turn up the speed and beat for about 10 seconds.
Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 2/3’s full. Bake cupcakes for about 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Strawberry Ganache Filling and Glaze
9 ounces (128 grams) Valrhona 85% cacao (or any bittersweet chocolate)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup strawberries, diced
Chop chocolate and transfer into a heat proof bowl. Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.
Add vanilla and salt. Stir until combined. Divide the ganache in two approximate equal portions. In the first portion, mix in the chopped strawberries. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill. Leave the second portion on the counter to cool down. You want the filling to thicken up before the glaze.
Once the filling is thick, fill the cupcakes with it. Then glaze with the glaze. See assembly instructions below.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4-6 cups powdered sugar
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.
Add the milk, vanilla extract, and 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat at low speed, occasionally stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar to arrive at the consistency and sweetness you like.
Cut a small cone out of the center of each cupcake to make space for the filling, as shown in this post. Fill cupcakes with strawberry ganache. Spoon a tablespoon of glaze on each filled cupcake and smooth to evenly coat the surface. Top with buttercream frosting and a strawberry garnish, if desired.