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I know I’ve been gone for a while… again… In my defense, I’ve had no internet or computer for the last week, which makes it a little hard to do posts! 🙂 To make it up to you, I’m going to share some amazing cupcakes! Cupcakes make everything better, right? I totally thought I was being brilliant when I thought these up, that these somehow must be something that no one has ever made. Of course, I was wrong… It seems virtually impossible to make something that no one has made before, nowadays! But, in my defense, I do think these are different than most of the other chocolate-dipped strawberry cupcakes out there. Or maybe I’m just being hopeful!

I took a chocolate cupcake, filled it with some macerated strawberries, topped it with a strawberry buttercream, then finished it off with some chocolate ganache to truly epitomize a chocolate dipped strawberry. The components really melded wonderfully to mimic the flavors of the strawberry treats. And everyone loved them, which is always a good thing! 🙂

An interesting little story about when I made these… Whenever I’ve made Swiss meringue buttercream, I’ve never had a problem with the whole curdling effect and whatnot. And every time I make it, I think that to myself and hope that I don’t manage to jinx myself. Well, this time I did. I tried all the tricks that people use to help bring the frosting together again, and nothing seemed to be working. So I cheated, and it somehow worked! Which made me very happy with myself, that my frosting didn’t end up as a total epic fail, especially since I didn’t have enough strawberries to try again. So my personal trick, if all other attempts to fix a curdled buttercream fail, try adding some powdered sugar. A little bit at a time, beating for a while after each addition and crossing your fingers that it will come together. 🙂 But I’m thinking this was just a weird fluke as to why I had a problem, because this strawberry buttercream recipe has been used so many times by so many different people with such wonderful success. Maybe I was just having an off day.

So if you’re looking for a fun treat to serve at a fancy party, or as a way to say I love you to a special someone, or even just to make for fun like I did, please don’t hesitate to give these awesome cupcakes a try!!Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes

Cupcakes:
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¾ cup sour cream

Strawberry Filling:
1¼ to 1½ cups strawberries, finely chopped
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Strawberry Buttercream:
1½ cups fresh strawberries (8 ounces), pureed
4 large egg whites
1¼ cups sugar
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Chocolate Ganache:
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into very small pieces
½ cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla

To make the strawberry filling: In a small bowl, combine the strawberries and the sugar; toss to fully coat the strawberries. Set aside and allow to macerate while the cupcakes bake.

To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth; set aside and let cool slightly. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly mix in the vanilla extract then the cocoa mixture, beating until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating until just combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ of the way full. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the strawberry buttercream: Set a heatproof mixing bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F, or all sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot to the touch.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat on low speed for 2 minutes, gradually increasing to high speed. Beat until stiff peaks form and mixing bowl is cool to the touch. With the mixer on medium-low speed, gradually add a couple tablespoons of butter at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating on medium-high speed until thick and smooth. Add the strawberry puree and beat until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed. Switch to the paddle attachment and beat on low speed for 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles. Spoon frosting into pastry bag fitted with large decorating tip.

To make the chocolate ganache: In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the heavy cream until very hot, but not boiling; remove from heat. Place chocolate in a heat safe bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. Whisk the cream and chocolate until smooth and thoroughly combined; stir in the honey and vanilla. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep it smooth; don’t let it sit too long or the ganache will harden.

To assemble the cupcakes: Using an apple corer or a paring knife, cut out a well in the center of each cupcake; discard the cores. Fill each well with about 1 tablespoon of strawberry filling. Frost with strawberry buttercream then pour a spoonful of chocolate ganache over the frosting to finish the cupcakes. Refrigerate the cupcakes until the ganache has set. Store cupcakes in the refrigerator and bring to room temp before serving.

Source: Cupcakes adapted from Martha Stewart, frosting adapted from Annie’s Eats, ganache adapted from My Baking Addiction

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