When a triple threat comes together…
- chocolate cupcakes
- strawberry buttercream
- chocolate ganache
… our self control’s in serious trouble. And bonus: there’s strawberry hearts on top. Little cuties!
Here’s a cupcake I’ve been dreaming about since last Valentine’s Day when I showed you how I make strawberry frosting. Never really got around to making them, so I saved them for Vday 2018. And strawberry is fresh on our minds right now because helloooo fresh strawberry cake.
We’re taking my favorite chocolate cupcakes (the 6th most popular recipe from 2017!), filling with creamy strawberry buttercream, and topping with smooth chocolate ganache. All pretty straightforward recipes grouped together to create a new cupcake masterpiece. Unwrap the decadence.
Let’s start with chocolate cupcakes. You certainly don’t have to use my recipe for chocolate cupcakes– use your own or a box mix if you prefer it. But can I suggest you try my recipe if you haven’t yet? They’re exceptionally moist with plenty of chocolate flavor to satisfy. I won’t go into detail about how to make them today, but you can visit the recipe if you’re interested. There’s a video too!
Once the cupcakes are baked and cooled, let’s prepare them for the filling.
I’ve showed you how I fill cupcakes before, but a little refresher is nice.
- Take a small knife
- Carve a hole into the cupcake
- Spoon or pipe the filling inside
- Place the carved piece back on top
The cupcakes are about 1.5 inches tall, so you’ll want to carve a 1 inch deep section of cupcake out. This can be roughly 1 inch, a little less is perfectly fine. The section of cupcake you remove will be the shape of a cone (see below). I slice off a little of the narrow end of the cone because it won’t fit back on top with all the strawberry buttercream inside. Does this all make sense? Let me show you.
You certainly don’t have to use a piping tip + bag to fill the cupcakes– spooning the frosting in works too. I find a piping tip makes things a little more neat. Place the carved out piece on top. You’ll cover it all up with ganache, don’t worry.
Two ingredients here: pure chocolate and heavy cream/heavy whipping cream/double cream. To make the ganache, you’ll heat the heavy cream until warm and pour over the chopped chocolate. Use pure chocolate. You know the 4 ounce bars you buy in the baking aisle? I like Baker’s, Ghirardelli, Nestle Toll House, or Lindt baking bars. Chop the chocolate into super tiny pieces. The smaller the pieces, the quicker and easier they’ll melt to create the ganache.
The ganache has to cool down and thicken up before spreading on the cupcakes. So I suggest making the ganache right after the cupcakes come out of the oven. This way the ganache can cool as the cupcakes cool.
Want to take your chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes to the next level? Top with red wine chocolate ganache instead of plain ganache. Best Valentine’s Day ever.
Let me know if you try this cupcake combination!
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes
- 1 batch of chocolate cupcakes
- 1/2 cup (5-6g) freeze-dried strawberries*
- 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups (240g) confectioners' sugar
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
- one 4-ounce (113g) semi-sweet chocolate bar, coarsely chopped*
- Bake the chocolate cupcakes. As the cupcakes cool, I suggest you make the chocolate ganache in step 2. This way the ganache can cool down and thicken as the cupcakes cool down. Saves you time!
- Make the ganache as the cupcakes cool: Place chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it begins to gently simmer. (Do not let it come to a rapid boil-- that's too hot!) Pour over chocolate and let it sit for 2-3 minutes to gently soften the chocolate. Then stir until completely combined and chocolate has melted. Cover and refrigerate until it's thick and a spreadable consistency, about 1-2 hours. You don't want it runny. The longer it's chilled, the thicker it will be.
- Make the frosting: Using a blender or food processor, process the freeze-dried strawberries into a powdery crumb. You should have around 1/4 cup. Set aside. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, strawberry powder, heavy cream, and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Taste. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. Set aside.
- Fill the cupcakes: Using a sharp knife, cut a circle/hole into the center of the cooled cupcakes to create a little pocket about 1 inch deep. The piece you removed will be the shape of a cone. Spoon or pipe frosting inside each carved out cupcake-- use however much frosting will fit. (I use Wilton piping tip #12 to fill cupcakes.) Slice off the pointy end of the "cone" piece of cupcake you removed so that it can fit on top of the filling. Place on top of the filling.
- Frost each cupcake with thickened chocolate ganache. I use my small icing spatula. If you'd rather pipe the ganache on top, let the ganache chill in the refrigerator for several more hours, so it will be the thicker consistency to pipe.
- Store leftover cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Make ahead tip: Prepare cupcakes 1 day in advance. Keep cupcakes covered tightly at room temperature and fill/frost the day of serving. Strawberry frosting and chocolate ganache can be prepared the day before too. Cover each and refrigerate overnight. The ganache will be nice and thick! Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting, filling, and serving.
*Here is the separate post on how to make the strawberry buttercream. You can read all the details about the frosting in that blog post. The freeze-dried strawberries are the secret. Where to buy freeze-dried strawberries? I always find them in my regular grocery store in the dried fruit aisle. Wegmans and Giant carries them, as well as Trader Joe’s and Target. Keep your eyes peeled– they’re more commonly found that you think! If you can't find freeze-dried strawberries, try strawberry whipped cream instead.
*Use real, quality chocolate. You can find the 4 ounce baking bars in the baking aisle. I like using Ghirardelli or Baker's brand. You can use 4 ounces (heaping 2/3 cup) of quality chocolate chips instead, but the ganache won't be as smooth.
Top with strawberry heart slices! Super simple. Watch this video for how to cut strawberries into hearts. I rounded off the top of the heart and cut each into thin slices to top the cupcakes.
Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!
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SHOP THE RECIPE
Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.
Glass Mixing Bowls | Small Icing Spatula | Cupcake Liners | Cupcake Pan | Icing Bags | #12 Round Icing Tip | KitchenAid Food Processor | KitchenAid Stand Mixer | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Freeze Dried Strawberries
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