Thursday, February 14, 2013

Strawberry champagne cupcakes for Valentine's Day

The older I get, the more I realize that I'm a big sucker for Valentine's day. I'm hyper aware that it's a Hallmark holiday and all, but I'm a big softie. Flowers still turn my heart into a pile of goo.

I wanted to bake a batch of cupcakes to share with all the sweeties in the office. I was stalking the Georgetown Cupcake website and noticed one of their seasonal flavors for February was strawberry champagne, described as "Classic madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake baked with fresh strawberries and champagne with a chocolate ganache core and topped with a champagne infused buttercream frosting and a ganache star." Sounds fantastic, amirite? I set out to try and dupe their creation. I usually prefer to post in chronological order and I have quite a few draft posts pending from the past month, but I'm going to skip ahead to today because these cupcakes take precedence.

Adapted from this cake, this buttercream, and this ganache

Ingredients for the cake:
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, diced
  • 1/2 cup good champagne (sweet rose champagne suggested)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake tins with liners (I had enough batter for 21 normal-sized cupcakes, weird number I know). Soak diced strawberries in champagne and let sit while you prepare the batter.

In a large bowl, beat together softened butter and sugar until creamy and light yellow. I might've softened the butter a little too much here, but nbd.

 Add two eggs one at a time, beating well to mix between additions.

Add milk and vanilla extract, then beat well to incorporate.

Add flour, salt, and baking powder. Fold in with a spatula until just incorporated, then beat until well mixed.

Yum batter.

Fold the strawberries into the batter (drain a bit if there's a lot of champagne that hasn't absorbed), then fill each cupcake cup to about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick. Meanwhile, prepare the ganache.

Ingredients for the ganache:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 9oz chocolate chips

Measure out chocolate chips and transfer to a small-ish bowl. I just eyeballed 9oz since I have no scale.

Heat heavy cream in a saucepan until steaming, then pour over chocolate chips. Let stand for a minute to soften.

Use a whisk to mix the chocolate chips and cream. It may look chunky at first but no worries, it will come together. Set aside so it can cool for a bit.

Once the cupcakes are out of then oven, allow them to cool to room temperature. You can make the buttercream frosting in the meantime.

Ingredients for the buttercream: 
  • 3 and 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature so that it has no bubbles (you can microwave for a bit to help it along)

In a large bowl, beat together powdered sugar and unsalted butter at low speed until incorporated, then at medium speed for two more minutes until fluffy. Add vanilla and champagne, then beat for an additional minute. Transfer to a piping bag (or in my case, I just used a quart sized freezer ziplock).

Now put your cupcakes together! Use a knife to cut out a chunk from the middle of each cupcake. Fill with chocolate ganache. Cut the pointy end of the cut out chunk off so that you're left with only a hat, and use the hat to cover the hole.

Frost cupcakes with the buttercream.

And add the ganache drizzle. I was trying to replicate Georgetown Cupcake's signature ganache flower on this one, but I obviously failed.

These are spectacular. Each time I make cupcakes I catch myself saying wow these are the best I've ever made, but I don't know how I'd trump myself this time. 

Comparison tasting at Georgetown Cupcakes. The texture of the cake and frosting were very similar, although mine was much more boozy while theirs had a much stronger strawberry flavor. Overall I was pleased.

Pretty much the story of my life... (source: exocomics)

Edit: I'm on Serious Eats!!

1 comment:

  1. Great recipe!! And what helpful photos! :)
    Sweet Lobby has a yearlong version of this cupcake too!