Posted by on Jan 18, 2011 in Recipe | 2 comments

Hey guys! Yes, yes I know. Its been a while, so let’s begin this post by talking about cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes to be exact. With strawberry buttercream. Woohoo! Recently, cupcakes have become my thing. They are so simple to whip up, and taste yummy as snacks and dessert. Plus, they’re ready to take and go, and everyone gets their own portion. Wonderful.

I decided to make these babies after seeing a recipe from Confessions of a Tart. The picture won me over, so I decided to give it a try. What can I say? Pictures can speak a thousand words…

The cupcakes came out beautifully, with the airy and moist cupcake balancing the rich and buttery cream perfectly. Upon taking my first bite, I sighed with content as the dark, semi-sweet chocolate mixed with the tart strawberries… Heaven. Surprisingly, the cupcakes are a breeze to make. Just mix some stuff up, melt some chocolate, and throw it all together in a bowl. The buttercream however, was a beast! All I can say is that you must have the patience and endurance of a monk. If you whip it like it’s the end of the world, you’ll get wonderfully smooth and creamy buttercream. Otherwise, you’ll end up with some clumpy watery concoction that looks like it should be coming out, NOT in. Of course, the cupcakes are delicious either way. The buttercream just adds the cherry to the ice cream.

So, for the cupcakes you will need: -with my personal alterations-

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces or more
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I just used Nestle semi-sweet pieces)
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) Dutch-processed cocoa (I used Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa)
3/4 cup (3 3/4 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) sugar (I used less, it’s up to you)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (4 oz) sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350F and prepare a standard-sized muffin pan.

In a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl set over barely simmering water (not touching the water), combine the butter, chocolate and cocoa. Heat until the butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.

In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and baking powder.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs just to combine – then add the sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk until smooth and fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined.

Add the flour and sour cream in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Whisk only until each addition disappears into the batter. Don’t overmix, but make sure the dry and wet ingredients are fully combined before proceeding.

Divide the batter evenly among 12 muffin cups and bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes and then set on a rack to cool to room temperature before icing.

Now, I find that some recipes say they will make 12, but I always end up with more. However, this recipe gave me exactly 12, so no worries!

On to the buttercream: -with personal alterations-

4 egg whites
3 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature (make sure they are really at room temperature!)
1 cup sugar (I used a bit less)
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
8 oz (about 1 cup) strawberries, fresh or frozen (If using frozen, thaw. I used fresh though.)
Place the egg whites, sugar and a pinch of salt into a heat-proof bowl set over barely simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water and that steam doesn’t get out). Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites are hot to the touch – when you rub the mixture between your fingers, it should be smooth, without granules of sugar.

Transfer to the bowl of a mixer, making sure no condensation from the other bowl gets into the egg whites. Whip with a whisk on high speed until the egg whites form stiff (but not dry) peaks and are glossy, about 10 minutes. This may take much, much longer depending on your mixer.

Cut the butter into 1 tbsp pieces and add it, one piece at a time, until it’s completely incorporated. It’s important that the butter is really at room temperature. Continue beating on high speed. The mixture will first look like curdled soup; then, it will look like curdled cream; then, just when you’re ready to cry and give up in despair, it will magically transform into wonderfully smooth buttercream. Trust me, this will happen. Do not give up, just keep whipping that thing like crazy!

Switch to a paddle attachment and, with the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla. Beat for about a minute until incorporated. Then, still on low, gradually add the strawberry puree and beat for 3-4 minutes, until the strawberries are completely incorporated and all the air pockets are gone.

Then, just pop it into a squeezy tube to decorate your cupcakes! I happened to have one from Taiwan that came with several different heads to choose from. Enjoy!~

If anyone decides to give this a try, please tell me how it went! Did the buttercream put up an epic battle or was it just me? Until next time!

– Jas

Photographs taken by Jasmine Hwang

2 Comments

  1. Jan-19-2011

    Nice cupcakes, I always wonder how to pipe those butter cream on top of a cupcake…should try it out one day xD

  2. Jan-19-2011

    Definitely give it a try! It’s the funnest part. =] If you don’t have a fancy squeezer, try getting a plastic bag and cutting small lines into it. It’ll result in a less circular shape than just cutting the corner off, lol.

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