A few weeks ago, I had a few girlfriends over for a wine and cupcake tasting party. I baked up four different flavors of cupcakes, and paired each flavor with a wine to bring out or complement the cupcake’s flavor. Cupcakes, wine, and a few girlfriends are a perfect combo for a great night. I have been dreaming up a lot of cupcake flavors, and this gave me the perfect chance to try a few.
Have you read the book The Lovely Bones? My book club read it awhile back. I had mixed feeling about the book, and usually try to avoid books with creepy, child molesting murderers, but there were a few things about the novel that I did like, one part being the author’s depiction of heaven. Each person in heaven is given their own, unique space that reflects what they love in life. If this is truly what heaven is like, I can guarantee you that my space will be filled with these chocolate-covered strawberry cupcakes… so feel free to stop by my heavenly pad if you’re hungry, but let’s not rush it, okay?
My first attempt at these chocolate strawberry cupcakes was based on the Sprinkle’s strawberry cupcake recipe. I adapted the recipe a tad, and frosted them with my creamy, white chocolate frosting. Finally, I garnished them with chocolate-covered strawberries. My girlfriend, Melissa, loved these. For me, the combination of strawberry cake and white chocolate frosting was divine, but I did have one reservation. I won’t make excuses. All I can say is that I’m a girl raised on cake mix from a box. Many cupcakes from scratch are denser than cake from a cake mix. The dense cupcakes are not my preference. I’m a cake mix girl at heart, and proud of it!
Our cupcake and wine tasting was a success, but even I was a little cup-caked out. That changed when I heard about Duncan Hine’s “Red Carpet Cupcake Challenge”. Duncan Hines is sponsoring the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards this year, and is asking contest participants to submit an Emmy worthy cupcake recipe that uses a Duncan Hines product. My mind immediately flashed back to those almost perfect chocolate-covered strawberry cupcakes.
I’m not sure what the specific criteria the judges will be using, but I have a feeling this might be part of it:
- widespread audience appeal
- dressed in formal attire (It’s the Emmy’s for goodness sake. I’d be humiliated if my cupcake showed up on the worst dressed list.)
- has to taste fabulous… I’m talking standing ovation fabulous!
That’s where Round 2 of my quest to create the perfect Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cupcake began. It took three more batches of cake batter for me to award it Emmy worthy status. I did feel a little wasteful throwing out so much cake batter, but once I started, I wasn’t about to stop until it was exactly how I had envisioned.
So here’s the deal. I’m not one to ask for help. In fact, I bag my own groceries at the store. The bag boy or manager always comes running to take over (you think they’d know by now). I guess they assume I’m an unhappy, impatient shopper, but the reality is I like doing it myself ~ Control freak? People-pleaser? Let’s just say, way too much of both! (Could that be why I’m still single after four years post divorce? Okay, let’s not analyze that one right now.)
Back to the contest… This contest relies on help. The cupcake entries are narrowed down to ten, based on the highest numbers of votes they receive. People can vote for their favorite every day until July 28th. Here I go, with great trepidation (can’t believe I’m about to ask this)… If you think this cupcake is award winning Emmy material, or if you just feel like helping a girl out, you can vote for me again and again and again daily. There I said it! If I win, I promise to throw another cupcakes and cocktails party, and you’re all invited because I’m a people-pleaser, and proud of it!
Vote for me here! Pick Me! Pick Me!
Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cupcakes
(Created by ME!)
Makes approximately 30 cupcakes
1 box (4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
½ cup sour cream
2/3 cup pureed strawberries (This requires approximately one cup of whole strawberries prior to pureeing)
A few drops of pink gel coloring ~ optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
Puree one cup of whole strawberries. Reserve 2/3 cup of the strawberry puree.
Blend cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil, and sour cream at low speed until moistened. Add strawberry puree. If you want the cupcakes to come out a little pinker, add a drop or two of pink gel coloring.
Beat at medium speed until well combined (approximately two minutes). Fill cupcake liners two thirds full. Bake immediately for approximately 15 minutes, or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before frosting.
White Chocolate Frosting
(created by, ME)
4 oz. white chocolate baking squares
1 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Melt white chocolate using the double boiler method or microwave. If using microwave, microwave at thirty second intervals and stirring in between until completely melted. Set aside melted chocolate to cool.
Sift powdered sugar in a medium-sized bowl.
Combine butter, whipping cream, vanilla, salt in an electric mixer. Gradually add in powdered sugar until well combined. Frosting should be fairly stiff if piping onto cupcakes.
Pipe or spread frosting onto cupcakes. Top cupcakes with half of a chocolate covered strawberry, just prior to serving. Refrigerate cupcakes if not serving right away.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
(no idea who is responsible for this fabulous combo)
15 small to medium-sized fresh strawberries
Milk or dark chocolate for dipping
White chocolate to decorate
Wash strawberries and dry completely. Cut strawberries in half. Melt chocolate, either using double-boiler or microwave method. Dip strawberry halves into melted chocolate and place on waxed paper to set. Pipe thin lines of white chocolate across strawberry for garnish. Refrigerate until ready to serve cupcakes.
- To get the frosting the consistency that you like, you may need to add a little more cream, or powdered sugar to the frosting.
- If you want to pipe the swirl, use Wilton’s 1M tip.
- If you’re piping the swirl, double the frosting recipe.
- It’s a little tricky to dip strawberry halves. The stems can break if you’re not careful. You’ve been warned.
- Do not top cupcakes with chocolate strawberries until you’re ready to serve. Otherwise, the juice from the strawberry will start to seep out.
- If the temperature is very warm outside, your frosting may melt a bit. This is fine and makes it easy to spread (yet impossible to pipe). If you want to pipe the icing, refrigerate the frosting until it firms up a bit.
- These taste great both straight from the fridge, and at room temperature. Yes, I tried both ways.
- I made the icing with a (4.4 oz) Lindt white chocolate bar, worth every penny. (YUM!)
- To make the cupcakes a pretty pink hue, I added two drops of Americolor Rose gel coloring. (Remember, food coloring is your friend.)
Thanks for voting!