Since it’s the weekend before Valentine’s Day, I decided the featured cupcake for the Church coffee shop should have a special Valentine’s theme.  Start with a chocolate cupcake, a layer of ganache , strawberry flavored buttercream that tastes like strawberry ice cream and top it all off with a chocolate covered strawberry. These are decadent, a perfect Valentine’s indulgence for your sweetheart.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

1 package devil’s food cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup warm water

8 ounces, weight bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Buttercream Frosting:
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
pinch of fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 pounds icing sugar
6 ounces strawberries, pureed
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream

For the Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin with paper liners. In a bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and water. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined. Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick entered into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack.

To make the Ganache:
Heat cream and corn syrup over medium heat. Chop chocolate and add to a bowl. Add vanilla to cream mixture, then pour cream mixture over the top of the chopped chocolate. Whisk together until melted, smooth, and glossy. Dip 24 strawberries and lay on wax paper lined tray to set.  Spoon ganache over cooled cupcakes. Allow to set before frosting.

For the Buttercream Frosting:
In a bowl cream butter on medium speed until fluffy. Turn your mixer down to low-speed and slowly add in the icing sugar, and continue mixing until well blended. Add salt, vanilla, 3 tablespoons of heavy cream and strawberry puree. Blend on low-speed until moistened. Add an additional 1 to 3 tablespoons of heavy cream until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high-speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.
Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and finish with a chocolate covered strawberry.

Yield: 24 Cupcakes

Say “I Love You” with a cupcake!