Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

I had wanted to make these gorgeous looking cupcakes on New Year’s Eve, but soon figured out that they would take a lot longer than I had time for. Therefore, I saved them for the following day, considering no one does anything on New Year’s Day anyways. I found the recipe on Annie Eats Blog, once again. I not only loved the way they looked in her pictures, but also how she described them, “spongy and delicate” and “fabulous,” which is exactly what they were.

I was actually surprised when I tasted one, because they were truly spongy, and unlike any cupcake I had baked before. They’re perfect for Valentine’s Day, or New Years Eve, or even just for a night home with friends.

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes from – Annie Eats

yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
7 large egg whites
7 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar (regular is okay), divided
5 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup champagne

Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

24 fresh whole strawberries
6 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3-4 oz. white chocolate, coarsely chopped

Ganache:

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into two pieces at room temperature

Directions:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

1. To make the chocolate-covered strawberries, wash and dry the berries throughly.  Place on a paper-towel lined plate while preparing the chocolate.

2. Line a plate or baking sheet with wax paper.  Place the chopped semisweet or dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat in 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted.  (It is best to use a small bowl, so that the chocolate is deep, making for easier dipping.)

3. Carefully dip each strawberry into the chocolate, coating the lower part evenly and making sure to leave about a third uncoated.  Lift from the chocolate and shake gently to remove any excess chocolate.  Place on the wax paper-lined baking sheet.

4. When all the berries have been coated in chocolate, place in the refrigerator to set while you prepare the white chocolate.  Place the chopped white chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water.  Heat until melted and smooth.  Transfer to a plastic bag with a very small tip of the corner cut off.  Remove the berries from the refrigerator, drizzle the white chocolate over the chocolate-covered portion of the berries, and return to the refrigerator to set completely.

Champagne Cupcakes

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

2. Combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; set aside.

3. In the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they become foamy.  Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form.  Transfer the beaten egg whites to a separate bowl and set aside.

4. Rinse and dry the mixer bowl and return it to the mixer base, fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the egg yolks, the remaining sugar (1 cup plus 6 tablespoons), the vegetable oil and the vanilla extract to the mixing bowl; mix until well-combined. Add in half of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until incorporated.  Mix in the champagne, and then the remaining dry ingredients just until incorporated.

5. Fold in about one third of the egg whites with a rubber spatula to lighten the batter.  Gently fold in the remaining egg whites, being careful not to deflate the batter.

6. Divide the batter between the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4-full.

7. Bake for about 13 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops are golden.  Allow to cool in the pans 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Ganache

1. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Place the cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Pour half of the cream over the chocolate and let stand 30 seconds. Working with a whisk or rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles, starting at the center of the bowl and working your way out in increasingly larger concentric circles.  Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate, using the same circular motions.  When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter one piece at a time.  Don’t overwork it – the less you stir, the smoother and shinier it will be.  Let the ganache sit a few minutes, until it has thickened to an appropriate consistency for dipping the tops of the cupcakes.

Assembly

1. Dip the top of each cupcake in the ganache.  Immediately top with a chocolate-covered strawberry.  Once all the cupcakes have been assembled, transfer them to the refrigerator to help set the ganache.  Serve at room temperature.

* My brother took the strawberry off the top, and heated up the cupcake for about 10 seconds, and he said it was delicious!

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