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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes

Last winter, I spent lots of hours in my car driving to various residency interviews in other states.  During all these long drives my mind would inevitably wander to the subject of food, and often cupcakes.  On my way to Iowa I was particularly bored, so I tried brainstorming some of my own variations of cupcakes.  I thought up these cupcakes during my drive, but never put my plan into action.  Recently I decided I wanted to bring in some treats to one of the salons I frequent, and I recalled this idea.  These seemed very salon-ish to me, luxurious and all that, so I decided to give them a try.  I made a champagne chiffon cake for the base, dipped the top in a bittersweet chocolate ganache, and topped with a chocolate covered strawberry.  And voila!  Simple and elegant cupcakes.  The staff of the salon was very grateful to receive these and they seemed to really enjoy them.  I think these would be perfect for a bridal shower or brunch!

My original plan was to use the cone method to fill these with a fresh strawberry each, but I experimented with one cupcake and quickly decided that was not the best idea.  The cake is fairly spongy and delicate, and once I removed enough of a cone to fit a berry inside, there really wasn’t much cake left.  I wanted the cake to play a starring role, so I nixed that idea.  I thought these tasted fabulous.  Though the champagne flavor was noticeable before the cupcakes were dressed, it was really muted by the ganache and strawberry on top.  If you want to emphasize that flavor more, you could drizzle the cakes with a champagne syrup before topping them.  I only baked about 16 cupcakes because I didn’t need more than that, and ended up dumping a significant amount of batter.  I think I could have gotten at least 24 out of the whole batch and possibly more.  Same thing with the ganache – I had quite a bit left over, but it would have been used if I had made more cupcakes.

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes
Ingredients:
For the chocolate-covered strawberries:
24 fresh whole strawberries
6 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3-4 oz. white chocolate, coarsely chopped

For the cupcakes:
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
7 large egg whites
7 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar (regular is okay), divided
5 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup champagne

For the ganache:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into two pieces at room temperature

Directions:
To make the chocolate-covered strawberries, wash and dry the berries throughly.  Place on a paper-towel lined plate while preparing the chocolate.


Line a plate or baking sheet with wax paper.  Place the chopped semisweet or dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat in 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted.  (It is best to use a small bowl, so that the chocolate is deep, making for easier dipping.)


Carefully dip each strawberry into the chocolate, coating the lower part evenly and making sure to leave about a third uncoated.  Lift from the chocolate and shake gently to remove any excess chocolate.  Place on the wax paper-lined baking sheet.


When all the berries have been coated in chocolate, place in the refrigerator to set while you prepare the white chocolate.  Place the chopped white chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water.  Heat until melted and smooth.  Transfer to a plastic bag with a very small tip of the corner cut off.  Remove the berries from the refrigerator, drizzle the white chocolate over the chocolate-covered portion of the berries, and return to the refrigerator to set completely.


To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  Combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; set aside.  In the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they become foamy.  Add 2 tablespoons of the 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 (1 cup plus 6 tablespoons), the vegetable oil and the 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 about 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 of 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.  Don’t overwork it – the less you stir, the smoother and shinier it will be.  Let the ganache sit a few minutes, until it has thickened to an appropriate consistency for dipping the tops of the cupcakes.


To assemble, 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: cake adapted from Baking Bites, ganache from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

  • http://www.jennyisluckyinlove.blogspot.com Jenny from Lucky in Love

    These look fantastic!! I am SO going to make these!!

  • http://cookingwithcarrie.blogspot.com Carrie

    Wowzers! Great picture! Looks yum-o-licious!

  • http://Annie'sEats,June19,2009 Teresa

    Can you use a cheap champagne? Is it important to use “cake” flour or will “all purpose” flour do just as well. Do you really use “bittersweet” chocolate for the ganache with no sugar?

    Thanks for your help.

  • http://www.womanwithawhisk.com Woman With a Whisk

    They look beautiful, and are definitely glamourous!

  • http://www.bigsislilsis.com LilSis

    Beautiful!!

  • http://oneshotbeyond.wordpress.com/ oneshotbeyond

    lots of work for a great payoff…the presentation of these is outstanding!

  • http://www.bitemekitchen.blogspot.com rose

    WOW these look gorgeous! Let’s see; I like champagne, chocolate, strawberries AND cupcakes! I will definitely have to make these =D

  • http://frenchknots.blogspot.com pamela

    I love strawberries! And a cupcake to boot. I love this idea and it would be great to make for any girlfriend get together! Yummy!

  • http://food-my-your-way.blogspot.com mike

    I love strawberries. Just finished strawberry ice cream.

  • http://www.cakebatterandbowl.com Kerstin

    Definitely perfect for a shower, they look lovely!

  • Annie

    Hi Teresa,
    You can use cheap Champagne if you want – that’s really your call. Cake flour is best, but all purpose is okay – just Google to find out the substitution ratio (it’s usually about 1 cup minus 2 tbsp. all-purpose for every 1 cup cake flour, I believe). Yes, I use bittersweet chocolate for the ganache – this is dark chocolate, not unsweetened. You can use whatever chocolate you prefer, but bittersweet is my favorite for ganache.
    :) Annie

  • http://chewonthatblog.com Hillary

    I don’t think it gets much better than this. At first I thought these were simply chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes – but champagne too? I’m amazed. I want one.

  • http://baseballbakingandbooks.com ingrid

    That was super thoughtful of you!

    They do look very elegant and classy.
    ~ingrid

  • http://cabernetwine.net/category/champagne Champagne Sparkling Wine

    This is a very nice and original variation on cupcakes.

  • http://simplemornings.blogspot.com amy

    please give me one??? :)

  • kristen

    making these for my new man (the guy who helped me design my living room at Ethan Allen for free!)

  • http://joelens.blogspot.com Joelen

    These look fabulous! Great job and I love how elegant the presentation and flavor is!

  • http://www.browneyedbaker.com Michelle

    These are gorgeous!! I need an occasion to make them!

  • http://delishfood.wordpress.com ash

    pretty!!

  • nutmegnanny

    OMG these look amazing!!!

  • carolyn

    It didn’t say when to put in the egg whites…just to put them aside I got lost after that… so i folded them in after everything was put in the batter? Are the tops supposed to be kinda sticky after baking? I did finish them wow… with the help of my daughter and her two guy friends they were really impressed with the out come !!! we displayed them in a red clear rectangle platter! thanks for sharing your ideas!!

  • Annie

    Hi Carolyn,
    I am so sorry that I missed the line indicating when to add the egg whites. I have corrected it now, and you did it correctly. For future reference, you can always check the source where I found the recipe (linked at the bottom of the entry) to see their instructions and maybe help clarify something I did not word correctly. But I definitely appreciate you letting me know so I can fix any errors. I don’t remember the tops of mine being sticky after baking – not sure why that would be. Anyway, I’m glad they turned out well.
    :) Annie

  • Michelle

    Mmm, these are delicious, one thing I did learn while making this recipe is BOTH my children need to be napping! My two year old created way more work then necessary and I’m glancing over at the remainder of the champagne thinking it could be a nice stress leaver before cleaning chocolate off the floor. ;)

  • Alexis

    Made these today for my bestfriends birthday, they came out wonderful. And by the way the whole batter made 32 cupcakes which was wonderfulcuz i could leave some behind at my house… thankyou for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  • http://les-inseperables.blogspot.com Neni

    Wow, thanks for this awesome cupcakes!!
    I baked them yesterday and although they didn’t look as nice as yours, they taste wooonderful :)

  • http://www.partycupcakeideas.com Sprinkles

    OMG these look amazing!! I couldn’t not include them in my five fruity cupcake post at http://partycupcakeideas.com/five-fruity-cupcake-ideas/ Is there anything better in the world than cupcakes and champagne?

  • Jessica

    Any idea how many days in advance I could make these? Should they be stored room temperature or in the refrigerator once the ganache is set?

  • Annie

    These are probably best assembled the day you plan to serve them, since chocolate covered strawberries don’t keep well before getting mushy. Room temp is fine.

  • http://ahealthypassion.com kate@ahealthypassion

    omg these look incredible perfect for valentines day!

  • Julie

    Man, did I botch these. Lesson learned: if you overbeat your egg whites, START OVER! Do not attempt to make them work in the recipe, lest you end up with pretty-looking but weirdly flavorless cakes strewn with bits of cooked egg white!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Natalia-Springhower/1270580959 Natalia Springhower

    Wonderful cupcakes! I did some with ganache and some with cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese frosting version is our favorite. Thanks for sharing the recipe!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Natalia-Springhower/1270580959 Natalia Springhower

    I’m back…with the left over ganache cupcakes, I did a swirl with cream cheese frosting on top of the ganache and oh my! The results are over the top!

  • Nene

    SOoooooooooo good….!! My sister just made this for a friend and just OH my god…. I seriously love you..!! Just amazing.. She woke me up at 2: 30 in the morning to tell me about them- something I was very upset about- and I was just going to take a peek but when I saw them I was just compelled to eat them…. So unwillingly and in a trance I took a bite and tasted something incredibly wonderful… Just recalling the flavor brings tears to my eyes…..

  • Ashley21rose

    Do you think these would work with the bubbly juice they make for youngsters in the “wine bottles” I’m looking for a fun, sophisticated looking and sounding prom dessert.

  • Karaschnaidt

    Hi Annie, do you think it would be okay to add strawberry puree to this recipe?

  • annieseats

    To which part of the recipe?

  • Karaschnaidt

    To the actual cake..to make it more of a strawberry taste

  • annieseats

    That will affect the cake texture, etc.

  • Kate

    I wanted to half the recipe would you go with 3 egg whites/yolks or 4? Thanks so much!! :)

  • annieseats

    I would probably put 1 egg and 1 egg yolk in a small bowl, lightly beat it with a fork, and then add approximately half to the batter. Enjoy!