I get my baking inspiration from a huge range of sources, from a pin I see on Pinterest, to a dessert I try at a restaurant whilst abroad. This week’s inspiration was from a block of Lindt chocolate my mother gave me when I was feeling sick. “Chocolate is very therapeutic” she said (what a wise woman).
The richly dark chocolate contrasted well with the sharp and fruity slivers of freeze dried strawberry. It was delicious and a flavour combo I wanted to convert into cupcake form.
Strawberries are used 3 ways in this recipe, firstly as a fresh strawberry cupcake filling, next as a strawberry buttercream and finally as an eye catching and delicious chocolate-dipped decoration.
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk
- ½ tbsp white vinegar
- ½ cup brewed coffee
- ¼ cup flavourless vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ punnet strawberries, finely chopped (around 1 cup)
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp icing sugar (tailor this depending on how sweet your strawberries are)
- 120g butter, softened
- 4-6 cups icing sugar
- ½ cup milk, room temperature
- 1 tsp strawberry extract
- Dark chocolate for dipping
- Finely chop strawberries and place in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Add in lemon juice, cornstarch and icing sugar and let bubble over the heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool, if it’s still a bit chunky then squash with a potato masher.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
- Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.
- Combine the milk, vinegar, coffee, oil and vanilla extract in another bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined.
- With the mixer on low, carefully add in the dry ingredients. Mix until combined (the batter will be very thin).
- Fill cupcake liners about ⅔ full with mixture.
- Place a teaspoon of fresh strawberry filling into the middle of each cupcake.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
- Place the softened butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
- Gradually add in 4 cups of sugar, then the milk and strawberry extract (adding gradually prevents the icing from going grainy).
- Beat for around 3-5 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Gradually add the remaining sugar until it is thick enough to ice the cupcakes (you may not need all the sugar).
- Spoon the mixture into an icing bag with a nozzle attached and ice the cupcakes.
- Wash and try the strawberries.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl in short bursts in the microwave until smooth.
- Dip each strawberry into the melted chocolate until well covered, letting excess chocolate drip off into the bowl.
- Place on a baking paper lined tray to dry.
- Repeat the process until all strawberries are done, then adorn each cupcake with a strawberry.
I ran out of chocolate dipped strawberries, but fortunately these cupcakes also look beautiful as little pink roses!
I deliberately reduced the sugar in these cupcakes and increased the liquid ratio (from milk, coffee and oil) and it produced the most darkly rich and moist cupcake I have created to date.
If I was to create another cupcake inspired by a chocolate bar, what would you suggest?