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I am lucky enough to have my mom in town for Mother’s Day this year. Keeping that in mind, I wanted to do some sort of fun mother/daughter activity. After a little research and some online browsing, I decided to rent a tiny house for the two of us in Ybor City, FL and then journey over to Weeki Wachee Springs (where the mermaids live). The only problem was the tiny house was only available for next weekend which left me gift-less for the actual holiday itself. Naturally I decided that some sort of craft/homemade treat was in order, and I hit the inspiration jackpot when I came across this Instagram page. Monogram Cupcakes. Exactly the sort of thing that I was looking for! I did make a few adjustments, you know, to Julie-fy it a bit. I shrunk things down and made mini cupcakes, added a few sugar wafer butterflies here, a strawberry cookie mushroom there, but all in all, I was really pleased with how it turned out.
My mom was so excited when she saw it. 10/10 would make again. Of course you know this didn’t exactly fix my “no gift on actual Mother’s Day” since I gave it to her already. Clearly I didn’t think that one through. Oh well, we’ll just have to do brunch on Sunday. Oh no! Not brunch! Anything but brunch! Is it still considered a gift if it’s also sort of for you?
In honor of the impending weekend holiday, I decided that recipe #10 of my 12 should be inspired by one of the most traditional Valentine’s Day day desserts. So I give you Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes by The Cake Blog!
For the Chocolate Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with cupcake liners.
- In large bowl combine all dry ingredients: flour , sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk until well combined.
- Add oil and sour cream and mix together with whisk.
- Gradually add water and continue to whisk.
- Add vanilla and eggs and whisk until combined.
- Fill cupcake lines 2/3 full with batter.
- Bake for 16 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Let cupcakes cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to finish cooling.
- Once cupcakes are completely cool frost with Strawberry Cream Cheese and Chocolate Ganache.
For the Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
12 oz cream cheese, softened
5 Tbsp strawberry puree (from 3/4 cup frozen strawberries)
1/2 tsp vanilla
6 cups confectioner’s sugar
- In bowl of stand mixer combine butter and cream cheese and beat on medium speed until creamy.
- Add strawberry puree and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Gradually add confectioner’s sugar 2 cups at a time and mix until well combined.
- Place frosting in piping bag fitted with Wilton tip 2D. Hold piping bag straight above cupcake and squeeze and wiggle piping bag slightly and pull straight up to create the ruffled look.
- Place cupcakes in refrigerator for about 15 minutes to let the frosting set up.
For the Chocolate Ganache:
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp corn syrup
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Place heavy cream and corn syrup in saucepan and heat over medium-high heat just until simmering.
- Put chocolate chips in bowl.
- Pour cream over top of chocolate chips and let sit 5 minutes, do not stir.
- Once chocolate begins to melt, stir mixture until chocolate is completely smooth.
- Allow chocolate to cool and firm up a little bit before drizzling over top of cupcakes.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries:
12 oz Ghirardelli Dark Melting Wafers
- Line baking sheet with wax paper.
- Wash and completely dry strawberries.
- Place Ghirardelli Dark Melting Wafers in bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals stirring after each, for about 1 and a half minutes, until chocolate is smooth.
- Dip strawberries in melted chocolate so they are about 3/4 the way covered. Place strawberries on prepared baking sheet.
- Once all strawberries are dipped place in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to allow chocolate to set.
- Add Chocolate Covered Strawberries on top of cupcakes.
*Keep cupcakes stored in air tight container in refrigerator until ready to enjoy.
- My favorite cupcake to date, they were seriously….WOW.
- Everyone who tried it completely flipped, even people who didn’t normally like chocolate or didn’t like cream cheese based frostings.
- The buttercream recipe was a little off. I had to add an additional two cups of powdered sugar to get the frosting to the right consistency. With the 6, it poured out the end of my piping bag (ziploc bag with the corner cut off).
- Building it was a little labor intensive and tricky. Even after fixing the frosting consistency issue, I had a little trouble keeping everything together. Trying to layer frosting, ganache and then balancing the dipped berry? Yeah, there might have been a little bit of swearing. I think next time, and there will be a next time, I’ll frost…wait a bit…and then add the rest.
And we’ve now made it to #9 of 12. This weekend my mom and I whipped up a batch of these Almond Cherry Cupcakes by Your Cup of Cake. I found this recipe a while ago, but I knew my mom LOVES maraschino cherries and I wanted to hold on to it until she could be here to try them.
Almond Cherry Cupcakes:
1 box white cake mix
1/3 C. oil
3/4 C. milk or buttermilk
1/2 C. sour cream or plain yogurt
2 tsp. almond extract
1 C. Maraschino cherries, roughly chopped
1 C. butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
3-4 C. powdered sugar
milk, if needed
20-24 Maraschino cherries with stems for decoration
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pan with cupcakes liners.
2. Sift cake mix into a small bowl to remove any lumps and set aside.
3. In a large bowl combine eggs, oil, milk, sour cream and almond extract until smooth.
4. Stir in cake mix.
5. Fold in chopped maraschino cherries.
6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 17-22 minutes.
7. Almond Buttercream: Beat butter for 2 minutes. Add almond extract and slowly add in powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. If it becomes too thick, add a little milk.
8. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and top with sprinkles and more Maraschino cherries. Now go kiss your man and feed him a cupcake!
Copyright © YourCupofCake
- I swear I didn’t burn these; that is just the cupcake wrapper!
- This is one of the most popular cupcakes I’ve ever made. My mom liked it and so did Andy’s coworkers.
- That being said, I didn’t really care for it – the cake was great on it own; I liked the almond flavor and the slight tang left by the sour cream, but paired with the frosting it was a little overly sweet. Which a lot of people like, it just isn’t my cup of tea.
- Even though I didn’t care for the frosting, it was a perfect buttercream; my mom could have just had a bowl of frosting and been perfectly happy.
- I will definitely have to make theses again. Gotta keep the people happy!
Moving right along, I am at cake recipe #4 of 12 for my 28 before 29 list. This recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes comes from the blog Audrey’s Apron. I met Audrey at the Maiedae Mixer a couple of weeks ago and bonded over a shared love of food and an appreciation for fur babies (even though she isn’t blessed with any of her own). As promised, I checked out her food blog as soon as I was back in Tallahassee, and I found a lot of really great recipes I wanted to try, the first being the previously mentioned Red Velvet Cupcakes.
For the cupcakes:
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk (you can also mix 1 cup milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice, stir, and let it sit for 5 minutes.)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 oz bottle red food coloring
For the icing:
- 1 box powdered sugar
- 8 oz cream cheese (full-fat), softened
- 1 stick butter (I used salted), softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
1). Preheat the oven to 300F. If making cupcakes, place paper liners in muffin tins (I got about 16-17 in a standard muffin tin).
2). In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add sugar, oil, and buttermilk.
3). Add the flour and baking soda, mixing well to blend.
4). Add the vanilla extract, vinegar, and red food coloring. Mix until well blended (it should all be red–make sure there’s no white batter hiding at the bottom!)
5). Carefully fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6). For the frosting: in the bottom of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar gradually, continuing to blend. Add the vanilla extract and combine again.
Alternate baking times:
If making a 3 layer cake: bake 25 minutes.
If making mini-cupcakes: bake 25 minutes.
If making a 9×13 cake: bake 30 minutes.
Her cupcakes were much prettier than mine, but even with my lack of frosting skills the end result is lovely. LOVE that super intense red.
- The cupcakes were incredibly light and fluffy; I would even go as far as to call them “cloud-like”.
- The cake was a little overly sweet when I tasted it on its own, but when it was frosted, the sweetness was balanced perfectly with the tangy richness of the cream cheese frosting.
- We overfilled our cupcake liners, so our cook time was 25 minutes instead of 15.
- Rachel, my baking buddy, told me that “traditional” red velvet cake has cocoa powder in it. I didn’t know, and I don’t think the flavor suffered, but the next time I make these (which will be very soon) I may throw in a couple of tablespoons just to see what happens.
A new cupcake shop named Gigi’s just opened up right around the corner from my house. Andy and I had been watching the construction for a while since we usually get stuck in rush hour traffic right outside the shopping center where it went in. We gave it about a week and then we picked up 4 cupcakes on our way home from the grocery store. Here is how it went.
We picked out Cookies & Creme, Wedding Cake, Apple Pie and Banana Split.
Banana Split – Strawberry cake with banana frosting, dipped in chocolate shell and garnished with a cherry, chopped nuts and a banana slice. Not really my thing, but Andy liked the mix of flavors and said he’d definitely get it again.
Wedding Cake – White cake with vanilla frosting and white sprinkles. Not really Andy’s thing, but I enjoyed it. I like to get a baseline for the quality of a company’s cupcakes by ordering the plainest thing they have on the menu. Complicated flavors are actually easier to execute than simple ones, and this simple cupcake was amazing. I’d get it again over all the other flavors because it was just that good.
Apple Pie – Spice cake with cinnamon frosting, apple pie topping and cinnamon crumbles. Andy and I both agree that while this was a good cupcake, it would have been better had they dialed back the sweet a little bit or added more of the tart apple pie filling.
Cookies and Creme – Chocolate cake with Oreo frosting and Oreo crumbles. This was Andy’s favorite; a little sweet for me, but still pretty good.
Overall Gigi’s cupcakes were really good; we don’t really eat cupcakes a lot, but we’ll definitely go back. Check out the website for their daily flavors. For my gluten free friends, Gigi’s has Gluten Free Friday ever week where they make 3 special gluten free flavors (you have to go to the store to find out what the flavors of the week are).