Hey, remember when I tried to make these cupcakes last year, but they failed so hard that I had to turn them into cake balls instead? ‘Cuz the strawberry cream cheese frosting I made was too runny (damnit, strawberry puree), and the chocolate ganache I decided to pour on top of the runny frosting made things 100% worse? So that instead of cupcakes I had a whole bunch of sticky, gross-looking goo-covered cake mounds that no one in their right minds would ever want to eat?
Yeah. It was a bad baking night.
Luckily, the cake balls turned out to be really delicious and were a big hit at work, but the thought of those drippy cupcakes still makes me cringe. I couldn’t have that hanging over me, so I decided to face my failures and try again this year. I was determined to make the PERFECT chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes, once and for all.
And check it out, guys – I did it! I tweaked a whole bunch of things in the recipe this time around, and it worked! The buttercream held up, the ganache hardened the way I wanted it to (and wasn’t too thin or clumpy), and the dipped strawberries turned out pretty well too.
You know what the trick was, for the buttercream? Freeze dried strawberries! I got the idea from my friend Sarah, who used freeze dried cherries in the frosting for her Cherry Garcia cupcakes. It’s such a genius idea, because once the freeze dried berries are processed into a fine powder, the powder can be mixed into your frosting to give it intense fruit flavor, without all the runny-ness that fresh berries can cause (see e.g., my pureed strawberry disaster).
With my new and improved, firmer frosting, I was able to put together cupcakes that not only looked impressive (put a chocolate covered strawberry on top of anything and it’ll look more impressive), but also tasted amazing.
Dense, darkly chocolate-y cupcake base + rich, sweet frosting (that tastes so strawberry-licious) + chocolate ganache shell that crackles when you bite into it + perfectly ripe strawberries dipped in chocolate = the perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day, or any other day.
It would have been a serious test of my willpower to keep whole batch of these beauties around the house, so I promptly packed everything up and pawned them off on my coworkers. Not to toot my own horn or anything but…people liked ’em 😀
If you like chocolate, strawberries, or strawberries covered in chocolate, this is the recipe for you. Enjoy!
Thanks for reading Just Putzing Around the Kitchen! To stay up-to-date on what I’ve got going on in the kitchen and what’s coming next on the blog, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest, or subscribe via e-mail (in the sidebar) to get new recipes sent directly to your inbox.
- ¾ cup dutch process cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate)
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup to 1 cup sugar (Depends on how sweet you want your cupcakes)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¾ cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup freeze dried strawberries, pureed into a fine powder
- 1-2 tbsp cream or milk (optional)
- 7 oz high quality chocolate, chopped
- 1-1/2 tsp light corn syrup
- 12 strawberries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.
- Add the vanilla and mix well.
- Add sour cream and mix well.
- Stir in dry ingredients.
- Divide batter evenly between each cup of your muffin tin. (About ¼ cup each, I’d say)
- Bake cupcakes for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and cool completely.
- While your cupcakes are cooling, make your frosting. In a medium bowl, beat your softened butter until smooth and creamy.
- Add strawberry powder, and mix until well-combined.
- Slowly add confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time. Mix until smooth. (Taste your frosting after each cup, to make sure it tastes OK to you. If 3 cups is too sweet, use less. If it’s not sweet enough, use more.)
- Add cream/milk, and continue to mix until smooth (this thins out your frosting a little so that it is more spreadable - feel free to skip this step if you like the consistency/thickness of your frosting after all the powdered sugar has been mixed in).
- Place chocolate pieces and corn syrup into a tall, microwave safe mug.
- Microwave on high for 45 seconds, then stir. Continue to microwave in 20 second intervals as needed, stirring after each time until chocolate is smooth and melted.
- Pipe frosting in thick swirls over each cupcake.
- Spoon about 1 tsp melted chocolate on top of each cupcake.
- Dip each strawberry into the chocolate, gently shake off excess, then gently press dipped strawberry on top of each cupcake.
- Allow cupcakes to chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes, to allow chocolate to firm up.