Champagne Cupcakes with Choco-Dipped Strawberries

They look so rugged. So messy. But the more I look at them, the more they grow pretty to my eyes. My personal mantra is:  LOVE YOUR OWN 🙂 Just so you know…

Seriously, I will have a re-match with the styling part of the cupcakes. Promise.

I got the original recipe from Annie’s Eats. Lovely, lovely site. There are really lots of wonderful recipes there. You can actually compare our photos. The normal scheme of things would be that if you compare “before” and “after” photos, the “after” should be a huge improvement of the “before.” Unfortunately here, that’s not the case. My “after” looks terribad compared to Annie’s “before” 🙂

I’m sharing with you the recipe though because no matter how messy my cupcakes turned out to be, they’re still darn good when it comes to taste 🙂

 

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

For the cupcakes:
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

For the 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:

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

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.)

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.

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.

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  Combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; set aside.  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.  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.

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

To make the ganache, 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.

To assemble, 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.

 

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