champagne cupcakes with chocolate covered strawberries

Champagne CupcakesHappy New Year, everyone! My friend Cathy asked me to make some cupcakes for her New Year’s Eve/birthday party last night, and these were one of the two kinds she picked.  Perfect for a celebration! The cake is a light champagne chiffon cake, topped with a bittersweet chocolate ganache and finished with a chocolate covered strawberry. Yum!

Ingredients
For the chocolate-covered strawberries:

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

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 ¼ cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  •  ½ tsp. salt
  • 7 large egg whites
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar (superfine if you have it), divided
  • 5 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup champagne

For the ganache:

  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  •  ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature

Directions

To make the chocolate-covered strawberries, wash and dry the berries well.Choc Strawberries 1Melt the semisweet or bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl, either over a pot of simmering water or in the microwave (heat in 30-second intervals).  Use a small bowl to make the chocolate deeper, which will make dipping the strawberries easier.  Dip the strawberries into the chocolate, leaving approximately the top third of the berry uncovered.  Place the berries on a baking sheet lined with wax paper to set (if your kitchen is warm, you may want to put the berries in the freezer to help set the chocolate).Choc Strawberries 2Melt the white chocolate, again either in the microwave or over a pot of simmering water.  Transfer the white chocolate to a pastry bag (or a plastic bag with a tiny tip cut off of the corner).  Drizzle the white chocolate over the chocolate-covered portion of the strawberries and return to the refrigerator to set completely.Choc Strawberries 3To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Line 2 (or 3) cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy (make sure your bowl and whisk are completely clean and dry before beginning).  Add in  2 tablespoons of the sugar and increase the speed to medium-high.  Continue to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Transfer the egg whites to another bowl and rinse/dry the mixer bowl.

Switch the mixer to the paddle attachment.   Beat together the egg yolks, remaining sugar (1 cup plus 6 tablespoons), vegetable oil, and vanilla extract until well-combined.  Add in half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just incorporated.  Mix in the champagne until just combined, then add the remainder of the flour mixture, again beating on low until just incorporated.

Using a rubber spatula, fold in a third of the egg whites.  Once combined, gently fold in the remaining egg whites, being careful not to deflate the batter.  Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full with the batter and bake for about 13 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool the cupcakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.Champagne Cupcakes 2(p.s.- check out these awesome cupcake liners that my sister-in-law bought me! you can check her out at Love It Home Design):Eat More CakeWhile the cupcakes are cooling, make the ganache.  Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until steaming/just shy of boiling.  Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for about a minute, then stir gently to melt the chocolate.  Once the chocolate has melted, add in the butter and continue to stir gently until everything is combined.  Avoid over-stirring the ganache – the less you stir it, the shinier it will be.

To assemble, dip the top of the cupcakes in the ganache and immediately top with a chocolate-covered strawberry.  Place in the refrigerator to help set the ganache.  Serve at room temperature.

Yield: Approximately 32 cupcakes

Source: Annie’s Eats

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