Strawberry Cupcakes for Valentine’s Day

I have one Valentine’s Day tradition; every year I make a heart-shaped, strawberry cake. They started out as cakes from box mixes. And then as my baking prowess progressed, I began trying my hand at “from scratch” recipes. This year, since cupcakes seem to be “all the rage”, I thought I’d mix things up a bit and do strawberry cupcakes.

As with most new ventures these days, my journey began on Pinterest. After pinning several ideas, I settled on two criteria: the cake part had to use fresh strawberries and there had to be a chocolate element. I settled on these cupcakes from Annie Eats, this frosting from Martha Stewart Living, and these chocolate filigree hearts also from Martha Stewart Living.

What resulted was a moist, creamy, fresh tasting delicacy! The use of the fresh strawberries is the key to making these. And with the addition of the chocolate embellishments, they truly took on the taste of a chocolate covered strawberry!

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting and Chocolate Embellishments

Strawberry Cupcake Ingredients
(Adapted from Annie Eats)

  • 2 ½ cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chopped strawberries

Strawberry Cupcake Directions
makes 20-24 cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line cupcake pan with cupcake liners. (Note: If you are using a decorative liner, considered lining that with a plain white cupcake liner. By doing so, your decorative liner will stay bright and colorful instead of blending into the cupcake.)
  2. Chop your strawberries into small pieces, set aside.
  3. Measure flour, salt and baking soda into a medium bowl. Stir with fork to combine and set aside.
  4. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, mixing on medium speed until incorporated.
  6. Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla and beat, mixing on medium speed until mixture is well integrated.
  7. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and stir until just combined.
  8. Gently stir in chopped strawberries.
  9. Fill cupcake wells 1/2 – 2/3 full with batter (more if you want “muffin tops”, I wanted a fairly flat top, so mine were about 1/2 full).
  10. Bake for 20 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.
  11. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Strawberry Buttercream Ingredients
(Adapted from Martha Stewart Living)

  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, pureed

This made enough for 24, lightly frosted cupcakes (basically one layer of frosting). If you are inclined to heavily frosted cupcakes, I would increase the recipe by half.

Strawberry Buttercream Directions
makes about 5 cups

  1. Using either a double boiler or a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, whisk egg whites and sugar until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  2. Remove from heat and using either a hand mixer or stand mixer, whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, (about 6 minutes). Return speed to medium, and add butter, 1 piece at a time, making sure that the butter is well incorporated after each addition. (This is time consuming but well worth it process!)
  3. If you are using a stand mixer, switch to a paddle attachment. If you’ve been using a hand mixer, simply switch to low speed. Add strawberry puree while mixing on low speed, then beat until smooth, (3 to 5 minutes).
  4. If you want to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. If you are simply spreading the frosting onto the cupcakes, you can use it immediately.

Chocolate Embellishments Ingredients

4 to 6 ounces of chocolate (I used 60% cacao baking chips. You can use milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate – which could even be tinted with food coloring.)

Chocolate Embellishments Directions

  1. Trace hearts or other designs onto a piece of parchment paper. Flip the paper over and place it onto a baking sheet.
  2. Put chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on High for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Continue microwaving in 30 second intervals, removing and stirring until completely melted. (With this amount of chocolate, it shouldn’t take more than 1:30 minutes.)
  3. Spoon chocolate into a resealable plastic bag, snip off a small part of one corner and pipe the chocolate onto the parchment paper following the designs you traced. Make sure piping is at least 1/4 inch thick to avoid breaking when they are removed from the baking sheet.
  4. Place baking sheet in freezer for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Gently peel the embellishments off the paper and place them on frosted cupcakes.

Alternately, you could also simply pipe the chocolate onto the frosted cupcakes in stripes or swirls if you’d like the addition of the chocolate without the extra step of making the embellishments.

Perfect for sharing with the ones you love on Valentine’s Day!

Photos provided by the author.

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