13 February 2014

Strawberries and Champagne Cupcakes

What do you think of when you think of Valentine's Day?  Chocolate, Strawberries, Champagne?  Well I have a special cupcake recipe that combines all of these delicious treats.  These strawberries and champagne cupcakes are a sure fire way to your "special someone's" heart.  But, I have to warn you, they are very time consuming.  I spent almost an entire day creating these bad boys, but they are definitely worth it!  This recipe calls for a homemade strawberry cake batter, strawberry champagne filling, topped with a champagne buttercream and chocolate hearts.

So... let's start with the the cake batter.

For this recipe you will need:

1 1/3 cups of frozen or fresh strawberries (I would only use fresh if they are in season)
3 cups of flour
2 tsp. of baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cups of whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup of butter at room temp.
1/2 cup of coconut oil
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake trays with 24 liners.

First you want to cut up the strawberries and put them into a food processor.   Combine until you get a fairly smooth texture (it is okay if it is a little chunky).  It should look like this:

You can set the strawberries aside.  Then, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  Then cream your butter and coconut oil until light and fluffy using the paddle attachment on a standing mixer.  (Note: I normally put the coconut oil in the microwave for about 10 seconds to let it get a little soft.  It does leave a very slight coconut taste, so you can always remove the coconut oil and replace with butter.  I really like the moisture that coconut oil brings to the recipe, so I like to use it.)  Next, add in your sugar, one cup at a time.  Take your strawberry puree and mix it together in a separate bowl with the vanilla and milk.  Take your dry ingredients and add about half slowly into your mixer.  Then, add in you strawberry mixture.  Lastly, slowly add the rest of your dry ingredients.

If you used fresh strawberries, your mixture will be a normal vanilla color with chunks of red.  However, if you used frozen strawberries, then you will have a slight pink color to the batter.

Take your batter and fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way.

 Pop in the over and cook for about 22-24 minutes.  Here is what they will look like:

Let cool and core out the center for your filling. 

Next you want to make the filling:

Here are the ingredients:

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup champagne
2 1/2 cups frozen or fresh strawberries
4 tbs. cornstarch
3/4 cups of sugar

In a medium saucepan, whisk together your water, champagne and cornstarch.  Allow to thicken until it is reduced to about half.  Then add in your strawberries cut into bite size pieces and add in your sugar.  Cook at medium high heat for about 10 minutes and allow to thicken.  Then set aside and cool.  Note:  you may want to make this first because it does take about an hour to cool.

Fill your cored cupcakes with the filling.  They should look like this:

Next comes the champagne buttercream frosting. You will need:

2 sticks of butter
3 1/3 cups of powdered sugar
1/3 cup champagne
1 tsp. vanilla
4-5 drops of red food coloring (optional)

In a standing mixer, again with the paddle attachment, cream together your butter.  Slowly add in 3 cups of the powdered sugar, stopping and scraping down the sides with a spatula when necessary.  Then add in your champagne and vanilla.  Then, add in the last of your powdered sugar to thicken up a little.  Mix on medium high until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Then add in your food coloring and mix on low until you get the desired color.

I applied my frosting using a piping bag and Wilton's Open Star 1mm tip (my favorite :-))

Lastly, you can make your candied hearts.  I also managed to spell out "love" for V-day. I melted my chocolate in the microwave for 1 minute at medium power. Stirred and put in again for 30 seconds.  That did the trick!  Then allow the chocolate to cool for about 5-10 minutes and put into a piping bag.  I then let it cook for another 5 minutes so the chocolate wasn't too runny and hard to work with.  It helps to run under cool or warm water to get the right texture you want.  Then cut the tip of the piping bag about a quarter of an inch up and pipe your shapes onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  See below:

Allow to cool int he freezer for about 20 minutes or so and they should pop right off!  Be sure not to make the lines too thin or the chocolate will break.  Top your frosted cupcakes with the chocolate and ta-da!  An impressive V-day treat is ready to be served.

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