Friday, April 9, 2010

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes



This is the last of the recipes I will be posting from the Baby Shower I helped host. I will be the first to admit, this dessert does not scream baby shower, but it does scream ultra girly and fun and since all of the guest were ladies, I knew they would be perfect! Since I was in class the majority of the day before the shower I knew I couldn’t make a cake that was really detailed, so I thought this we be a good alternative. Who doesn’t like a chocolate covered strawberry AND a cupcake?!? The cupcake itself is a chiffon cake, which is another first for me. I have previously never made a chiffon cake.  I will be the first to admit, I think I like regular cake batter more. Chiffon cake seems to be more of a sponge cake with an almost bubble crumb. If I make this again I would probably use a regular, vanilla cupcake batter, but if you’ve had chiffon cake before and enjoy it, use the recipe below.

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

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For the chocolate-covered strawberries:

24 fresh whole strawberries

6 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

For the cupcakes:

2 1/4 cups cake flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

7 large egg whites

7 large egg yolks

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup champagne

For the ganache:

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

To make the chocolate-covered strawberries:

Wash and dry the berries thoroughly. Place on a paper-towel lined plate to dry.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Place the chopped semisweet chocolate over a double boiler until melted. Dip the strawberries into the chocolate, coating the lower part evenly with the melted chocolate. Place on baking sheet and into refrigerator to set.

For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place paper liners in cupcake pans.

Combine cake flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; set aside. In the clean, dry bowl for a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they become foamy. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer the beaten egg whites to a separate bowl and set aside.

Rinse and dry the mixer bowl and return it to the mixer base, fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the egg yolks, the remaining sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla extract to the mixing bowl; mix until well-combined. Add in half of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Mix in the champagne, and then the remaining dry ingredients just until incorporated.

Fold in about one third of the egg whites with a rubber spatula to lighten the batter. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites, being careful not to deflate the batter. Divide the batter between the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 13 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops are golden. Allow to cool in the pans 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely

To make the Ganache:

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Place the cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour half the cream over the chocolate and let stand 30 seconds. Working with a whisk or rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles, starting at the center of the bowl and working your way out in increasingly larger concentric circles. Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate, using the same circular motions. When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter one piece at a time. Do not over mix. Let the ganache sit a few minutes, until it has thickened to an appropriate consistency for dipping the tops of the cupcakes.

To assemble Cupcakes:

Dip the top of each cupcake in the ganache. Immediately top with a chocolate-covered strawberry. Once all the cupcakes have been assembled, transfer them to the refrigerator to help set the ganache. Serve at room temperature.

Source adapted from: Annie’s Eats, originally from Baking Bites and Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

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