I think that chocolate and strawberries are a good thing together. Chocolate dipped strawberries in particular, I mean, what else could directly mean ‘yum’? Well, I’m sure a lot of other things, like ice cream…and yummy fattening food. Oh how I love it.
However, that isn’t something that I was starting this rant about, I didn’t go into the ‘New Post’ category to write about fattening and delicious food. Wait, yes I did. Wait, no I didn’t. Wait…yes? No?
Its official. Standing up (and running around) nonstop starting from the time you wake up at 6:00 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. then taking the time to think and write semi-essays causes a fire in your brain that results in the damage of thought process. Are you asking for English?
My brain hurts.
My dad told me that, when he was in high school (a high school football star in the 60’s, btw. I’m quite prideful of my footballing, motocrossing, downhill skiing, golfing, swimming, and sitting father.), his coach wouldn’t let them drink fluids during a trying two-a-day practice in the sweltering Oklahoma summer heat, and that wet towels were provided for them to suck on during certain times of the practice. And that they put duct tape on their legs. And that, if they had a boo boo, their coach told them to, “Rub a little dirt in it”.
My dad thinks that high school football players need to give that a try for a day, then we’ll see how tough they are.
*insert maniacal laughter*
Strawberries and chocolate walk hand-in-hand, like peanut butter and jelly, bread and butter, peas in their pod, children and cake, Thelma and Louise. You know, things that just work spectacularly together. I had made strawberry cupcakes before, but found them to be heavy, soggy from the strawberry chunks, and really quite dense. That wasn’t what I was wanting to come out of a light and ethereal cupcake, or the lie that was the cupcake that i had made before. In tribute to internet memes, the cake was a lie.
So I set out to try out something different, how could I improve a recipe that wasn’t enjoyable? I needed to use strawberries, it needed to be pinkish tinge, not the Pepto Bismol that I see so often in the grocery store bakeries. It needed to be natural and delicious, with a subtle sweetness and an aftertaste that makes you think “Oh! Strawberries!”
I had used fresh strawberries before, which is totally fine (their taste was absolutely amazingsauce.) but I felt that they made the texture of the cupcake a bit…off-putting. Then again, I don’t like chunky strawberry yogurt. I don’t like to be interrupted by a random chunk of fruit. I wanted to make it smooth and delicious, so thats when I opted to use frozen strawberries that are mashed with sugar. When frozen strawberries thaw, their inner cell structure is so heavily damaged from ice crystals that it basically makes them little water (or juice!) balloons. They won’t be firm like fresh strawberries, but soft and mash-able. That’s what I went for, and it worked.
The thick puree made the batter a pretty pink color without being overwhelming, and so when it all went together, it became a lighter tone.
The batter, when combined with the egg whites, turns out to be a nice rosy pink color. Its subtle and pretty, my favorite color of pink! The best!
The color is a bit different in this photo, their color keeps that VERY subtle pink color, and they are very light and pretty. I put the ganache on very thinly, because ganache can overwhelm everything very easily. So make sure to keep it thin, or just use vanilla frosting. Its very light and not sweet to the extreme, as well as having a nice strawberry flavor. Needless to say, I think I win.
I’m going to go rub some dirt on my brain.
1/4 C. Cake Flour
1 1/2 C. All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
About 10-15 frozen strawberries, sliced and thawed
1 1/8 C. Granulated Sugar plus 3 Separate T.
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
3 Large Eggs, separated
1 Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
1/2 C. Milk
1 C. Bittersweet Chocolate, melted
1/2 C. 2% Milk
-Mix together both flours, salt, and baking powder, preheat oven to 350. Prepare ganache, melt chocolate, then heat milk up until hot, pour over chocolate and allow to sit for at least 2 minutes, whisk together until smooth and combined. Chill until thickened, at least two hours.
1. Combine thawed sliced strawberries with 1 T. granulated sugar and stir to combine. Allow to sit for 30 minutes then, using the tines of a fork, mash strawberries until well-mashed and a thick puree forms.
2. Cream butter and sugar together in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes on medium. Add egg yolks, one at a time, until well combined. Pour in strawberry puree and vanilla extract and mix until smooth, about two minutes.
3. Starting and ending with the flour mixture, slowly pour in flour and milk alternatively until both have run out. Make sure the mixture is smooth.
4. Whip egg whites with remaining 2 T. granulated sugar until they reach stiff and glossy peaks, being careful not to take them too far and overbeating them. Pour 1/3 of egg whites into the batter and stir to combine. Add another third and fold in the mixture gently, making sure that you get the bottom of the bowl as well. Fold in the remaining third.
5. Pour batter into prepared lined muffin tins, filling each cup about halfway full. Bake in preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
6. Beat cooled ganache until lightened and slightly fluffy (it will not be as fluffy as a cream-based ganache will be, but it will be thick and more easy to work with). Spread on a thin layer to the completely cooled cupcakes. Enjoy!