When I was a little boy I was crazy about those chocolate Hostess cupcakes. The ones with the white swirl on top. Do you remember those? I’m sure you do, they’re pretty popular, or at least they were back in the early nineties when I was growing up. Well anyhow, I couldn’t get enough of them. My sister on the other hand hated them. She wasn’t (and still isn’t to this day) the biggest fan of chocolate. She was all about the twinkies, though, which I could never get down with. They weren’t my cup of tea. I secretly loved that she had her own strange tastes and that she didn’t like chocolate cupcakes because it just meant there was more for me. Those classic white swirled cupcakes have always inspired me and for the longest time I’ve wanted to make my own version of them on the site, but I never got around to it, until now. What better time to do it than on Valentine’s Day when chocolate desserts are sort of a must.
I actually saw a photo of cupcakes with handwritten “I love you’s” on the internet, and I knew I needed to take the idea and run with it for Valentine’s Day. It just felt so right. Copying is a form of flattery after all, right? Thanks Martha Stewart for the smart idea. You’re always one step ahead of everyone else. So the design has been done, but the cupcakes? The cupcakes are all me. Rich chocolate cupcakes filled with my all-time favorite frosting, strawberry cheesecake, and then because there just wasn’t enough chocolate already, I went ahead and dipped them in a dark chocolate ganache. Melted white chocolate finishes them off. They taste like chocolate dipped strawberries and they’re the perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day!
There was a point a few years ago when cupcakes were the biggest thing on Earth and everyone who is anyone was sharing their recipes. Clearly I’m behind on the times. They might be a little taboo these days but I’m totally bringing them back. They’re a necessity on certain holidays and I’m sure no one will complain about these. So let’s forget about what we should or shouldn’t be cooking and baking. What’s in or what’s out and let’s definitely not pay attention to what people are saying because that’s not important. All that matters is that we’re happy and content in what we’re doing in life. So let’s celebrate Valentine’s Day with those we love, family members, friends, significant others, and pets and stuff our faces with all of the chocolate and all of the cupcakes.
This starts off with the cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes. I won’t go into all of the sordid details of how to make these chocolate cupcakes because I’ve made them a million times for the site. It’s the same recipe I used for the S’MORES Cupcakes fyi or for the Chocolate Butterscotch Hazelnut Cake. I halved the recipe though so that I wouldn’t end up with a bunch of excess cupcakes that I’d then be force to eat all by myself. Not a bad thing, but I’m just thinking of my health, you know?
Start by mixing together all of the dry ingredients and then pouring in the wet ingredients.
Mix until everything is well incorporated and the batter is smooth. Stir in the boiling hot water (or coffee) last.
**Note: Remember that with this recipe the batter is very thin. You didn’t do anything wrong, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.**
Line a cupcake pan with paper liners and fill with the batter about ¾ of the way up.
**Note: This makes about 12 cupcakes so either line two 6 muffin tins or one 12 muffin tin.**
Bake for about 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick, inserted in the middle, comes out clean.
Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before filling and glazing. Place them on a wire rack and let them cool down. It’s hard but I know you can do it
I’ll tell you what, while the cupcakes cool, you can make the strawberry cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
Add in the puréed frozen strawberries.
Stir until evenly combined and then add in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat on high until light and creamy and fluffy. Set the frosting off to the side.
Cut a hole in the center of each of the cooled cupcakes (using a pairing knife).
**Note: This is where the strawberry frosting will go in so make it as big as you’d like.**
Fill a large pastry bag (fitted with a plain circle tip) with the strawberry cheesecake frosting.
**Tip: Don’t have a pastry bag? Just use a large plastic food storage bag and cut off one of the ends with scissors.**
Pipe out a bit of the strawberry frosting in the center of each cupcake.
Place the cupcakes in the fridge or freezer to allow them to set up a bit. This will make the chocolate dipping step a lot easier and will save you a lot of cursing and tears and frustration, I promise.
In the meantime, let’s make the dark chocolate ganache glaze. Place the dark chocolate chunks in a medium bowl. Pour in the hot cream and vanilla extract. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, untouched.
Whisk until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is glossy and smooth.
**Tip: You want this to be somewhat thick. Not too thick that you can’t even move it, but also not too thin that it’ll slide off the cupcakes.**
Dunk the cupcakes, upside down, into the bowl of chocolate ganache, to fully coat the tops of each.
Place the dipped cupcakes on a wire rack and allow them to set for a bit before decorating the tops. Speaking of decorating the tops, you can go about this a couple of different ways and I’ll map them out for you right now. You can either sprinkle them with Valentine’s Day inspired sprinkles and be oh so cute or you can drizzle them with melted white chocolate and call it good. You can take that white chocolate and write out Valentine notes on the tops like I did (which is the nicest choice if you ask me but it’s kinda hard I’m not gonna lie) or you can just leave them plain as they are. No one will judge, but everyone kind of will and that’s the way of life.
To make the writing on top, melt the white chocolate chips in a double boiler until smooth and thin. You want it to be thin enough to be able to pipe through a small bag.
Pour the melted chocolate in a small piping bag, fitted with a tiny small plain circle tip.
**Tip: What I do is make a small piping bag out of a triangle of parchment paper and fold it into a cone. Then I snip off the very tip and use that as a cool nifty disposable piping bag!**
Like I said, it’s really hard to write with icing, hence the wobbly letters on some. You can totally tell which ones I did first and which ones I did once I got the hang of it. No judgement. But that’s the best part about making homemade for Valentine’s Day because it shows how much you care.
You can pipe out things like “Valentine. Be Mine. I love You.” or pipe out little hearts. Do whatever you like! Just pipe it along the middle and do it in cursive so you get that same look and effect as the hostess cupcakes with the white swirl.
I like to store these cupcakes in the fridge to keep them set and cool. You don’t want the chocolate to melt and get too sticky, plus I really think the flavor of these cupcakes are best chilled, but you can definitely store them in the fridge and then thaw them out for a bit before serving.
If you don’t follow me on instagram, then you probably don’t know that I just got a kitten! Julian gave him to me as an early Valentine’s Day gift and I named him Napoleon. So of course this year he’s my Valentine.
He obviously couldn’t eat his cupcake but I ate it and I totally enjoyed it. I’ve been sharing photos of Napoleon left to right on my instagram account (sorry I’m not sorry), but just in case you’ve missed out, I’ll share a photo of him here because he’s the bestest kitten ever.
Awwwwww look at him! Awwwwww! Ooooooh! Eeeeeeeee! Okay, you get the picture, let’s go back to the cupcakes before someone complains.
You can switch up the strawberry flavor in the frosting with another berry, like raspberries. Just use frozen raspberries for the purée instead. Chocolate and raspberry are always the best of friends.
I think this would be a great time as any to let you all know of these awesome props I’ve used in this post. The spatulas, kitchen towel, red heart ramekins, white plates and mugs with the tiny red hearts in the center are all from the Williams Sonoma 2015 Valentine’s Day Collection. You can get the stuff for yourself at Williams Sonoma.com
I wasn’t paid for this post and I’m not really promoting these products are anything but really, I’m just obsessed with this collection. Especially these plates and mugs! I like the rustic misshapen look to them and the clean design. I think you should totally buy some! More importantly I think you should make these cupcakes for your Valentine! Show them how much you love them…if you don’t bake them these cupcakes you don’t love them. There, I said it.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
- pinch of cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup hot water or coffee
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces (½ a block) cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons frozen strawberry purée
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2½ to 3 cups powdered sugar
- 5 ounces dark chocolate chips
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ to 1 cup hot heavy cream
- 1 cup white chocolate chips, melted (for topping)
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and espresso powder. Make a well in the center and pour in the wet ingredients like the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla. Stir until evenly combined. Slowly stream in the hot water or coffee and mix until well combined. Batter will be thin. Divide the batter among the prepared cupcake pan, filling about three quarters of the way up. Bake for about 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool down completely.
- To make the frosting, in a large bowl cream together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the strawberry purée (frozen strawberries blended in blender or food processor) and stir until well combined. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and beat on high until light and fluffy.
- Cut a hole in the center of each cooled cupcakes. Pour the frosting into a piping bag, fitted with a plain circle tip, and fill the center of each with strawberry cream cheese frosting. Place in the freezer and allow to set for about 10 minutes.
- To make the ganache, place the dark chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream and vanilla over the chocolate and allow to sit untouched for about 5 minutes. Stir until completely smooth and glossy. Dip the cupcakes into the chocolate ganache and place on a wire rack. Allow to set.
- Pour the melted white chocolate into a small piping bag and pipe out designs on the top of each cupcake. Allow to set and serve cold or at room temperature. Store in the fridge. Will keep for up to 4 days. Enjoy!
- yield: 12 cupcakes