Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

These chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream were filled with fresh strawberries steeped in framboise liqueur.

First, I prepared for my finishing touch by dipping whole strawberries into melted chocolate and refrigerating on a tray covered with parchment paper.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

While waiting for my cupcakes to cool, I heated sliced strawberries and the liqueur on the stovetop just long enough to slightly soften the berries. If you want to skip the liqueur, you can use strawberries that have been mixed with sugar to get nice and juicy.

Once the cakes were at room temperature, I used a paring knife to cut a cone out of each cupcake, added a few slices of strawberry, then reassembled. Spoon in a little extra juice or straight liqueur before, if you like, for the cake to soak up (yummy). When re-adding the cone, trim the bottom first or just press it back on! You’ll be covering up the evidence with frosting.

Strawberry-Filled Chocolate Cupcake

Once frosted, I pulled out my chocolate-covered strawberries to finish up these birthday-worthy cupcakes.

Scott's Cupcake
Photo by Scott A. Ettin (aka the birthday boy)

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  • Hey, hey, it’s my birthday! It’s been a year of less cupcakes, but a sweet one nonetheless.

#itsmybirthday #cupcakecards #happyhappybirthday #morebakingin2020 #cupcakes
  • I made these teeny hand pies from leftover Christmas pie crust dough. See picture 2 for the reality of trying to do anything like this with a toddler! 🥧 #toddlerbaker #mamabakes #handpies

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Lemon CupcakesI love lemon-flavored desserts, and lemon is especially refreshing in the summer. Fresh lemon juice and zest goes in both the cake and frosting. You can also do the same thing with other citrus.

These were dessert for a July 4th party, and I made the mistake of baking just enough. No leftovers!

Lemon Cupcakes with Berries
See more photos of my lemon cupcakes with berries.

Recipe: Lemon Cupcakes

Makes 14 cupcakes

1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
4 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 extra large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.

Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar at medium speed, then reduce to low. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the lemon juice and vanilla extract.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the lemon zest to the flour mixture. Incorporate the dry ingredients gradually into the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Scoop batter into lined muffin tins with an ice cream scoop or the method of your choice (about 3/4 full). Bake for a total of 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, rotating pans halfway through.

Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Once cupcakes are room temperature, frost or dust with powdered sugar. (Lemon, raspberry or other fruit-flavored icings are all good choices, or get fancy with a candied lemon!)

Frosting Recipe

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  • Hey, hey, it’s my birthday! It’s been a year of less cupcakes, but a sweet one nonetheless.

#itsmybirthday #cupcakecards #happyhappybirthday #morebakingin2020 #cupcakes
  • I made these teeny hand pies from leftover Christmas pie crust dough. See picture 2 for the reality of trying to do anything like this with a toddler! 🥧 #toddlerbaker #mamabakes #handpies

Discussion

Brett and Margaret Wedding CupcakeI was honored to be asked to bake wedding cupcakes for my friends Brett and Margaret. They set up a fabulous weekend in the Catskills for the big event, which was unique, relaxed and great fun, just like the couple.

The bride and groom requested my chocolate with vanilla frosting. I did ask if they wanted something fancy or a new flavor, but a tried-and-true flavor was just fine with me, I was happy to oblige.

I baked the cupcakes the night before our drive upstate and brought along a pound of butter, 4 pounds of powdered sugar, and a bottle of vanilla extract to make the frosting on site. Decorating supplies including small edible silver dragées and dark chocolate shavings completed my wedding cupcake prep kit.

Catskills Wedding Cupcake Display

Recruiting a friend to help, I ran some tests to set a decoration plan. The goal was festive wedding vibe that wouldn’t look out of place at the rustic venue. And I wanted them to look special for the very special occasion.

Sprinkling the dragées didn’t get good coverage, I preferred a solid silver layer. It ended up working best to ice with a knife, dip and swirl (like glue and glitter). We added a pinch of chocolate shavings in the middle for fun. When we ran out of dragées, we covered with the chocolate shavings—again dipping after icing—and added silver sugar sprinkles.

Rustic Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Shavings

Congratulations, Brett and Margaret, and thank you for making me a part of your wedding celebration!

Wedding Bell - Hikers
A cute design of a hiking couple adorned bells distributed to guests and other décor.

Cupcake Recipe

Frosting Recipe

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  • Hey, hey, it’s my birthday! It’s been a year of less cupcakes, but a sweet one nonetheless.

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  • I made these teeny hand pies from leftover Christmas pie crust dough. See picture 2 for the reality of trying to do anything like this with a toddler! 🥧 #toddlerbaker #mamabakes #handpies

Discussion

Red, White and Blue CupcakesThese patriotically colored cupcakes are fitting for a Fourth of July post, though they were baked for a party celebrating the recent union of two friends, one of whom was born across the pond.

UK US Love Cupcakes

American-British relations certainly have improved over the past 238 years.

Bobby and Katie

UK-US BK love
I also designed an event “logo” for the invitation, cocktail napkins, and party décor.

Basic Vanilla, All Dressed Up

Vanilla Mini Cupcake with Chocolate Sauce

To provide a variety of flavors without baking different cupcakes or making a lot of icings, I went with vanilla on vanilla with a little something extra. Baking mini rather than full-sized cupcakes gave me more to play with. Half the cupcakes got a swirl of frosting, then a chocolate ganache or caramel drizzle. On the others, I used a dollop of strawberry-rhubarb jam or lemon curd, piping frosting around.

Cupcakes with Lemon Curd and Vanilla Frosting

I was honored to bake for such a special occasion celebrating two good friends (and loyal cupcake fans)!

Cupcake Amelie
Yes, I do eat the cupcakes.

Frosting Recipe

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  • Hey, hey, it’s my birthday! It’s been a year of less cupcakes, but a sweet one nonetheless.

#itsmybirthday #cupcakecards #happyhappybirthday #morebakingin2020 #cupcakes
  • I made these teeny hand pies from leftover Christmas pie crust dough. See picture 2 for the reality of trying to do anything like this with a toddler! 🥧 #toddlerbaker #mamabakes #handpies

Discussion

peanut butter chocolate cupcakes

My husband is a fan of peanut butter cups, so I baked him a cupcake version for his birthday. It was one of those “big” ones, and we had a great party to celebrate.

peanut butter chocolate cupcakes

Peanuts, Inside & Out

I started with my regular chocolate cupcake batter, then dropped a peanut butter ball into each. I made the balls by combining crunchy peanut butter with a little flour until I could roll it into spheres. Baked in, they made a peanuty center that was similar to the inside of a peanut butter cup.

I used smooth peanut butter for the frosting. (Recipe below.)

Party Décor

My husband is into music (playing and listening), and cassettes were the thing for most of our younger years. Thus the “Mix Tape” theme was formulated. I had an oversized cassette tape printed for the wall and made smaller tapes to hang around it. There was one with the top song (according to Billboard) of each year since he was born. I also printed two 2″ x 3″ mini-tapes for each year to create cupcake toppers.

tapes

tape

The Venue

There are many great bars, restaurants, and other event spaces to have a party in Brooklyn. The place that fit just right was Two Moon Art House & Café in Gowanus/Park Slope. It has a wine and coffee bar and in-house catering for refreshments, sound system for music and speeches, and a projector to play sweet messages from faraway friends (or embarrassing slideshows…your call!). Two Moon also has a garden patio, a nice place for guests to relax. The owners and staff are lovely and easy to work with. Thanks, Two Moon!

peanut butter chocolate cupcake

Recipe: Peanut Butter Frosting

Makes frosting for about 3 dozen cupcakes (depends on icing method)

2 cups creamy peanut butter
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2-2/3 cup cream

Beat together the butter and peanut butter, then slowly add powdered sugar and salt, followed by the vanilla extract. Mix in 1/2 cup cream and beat on high for a few minutes. If needed, add more cream or powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.

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The Latest

  • Hey, hey, it’s my birthday! It’s been a year of less cupcakes, but a sweet one nonetheless.

#itsmybirthday #cupcakecards #happyhappybirthday #morebakingin2020 #cupcakes
  • I made these teeny hand pies from leftover Christmas pie crust dough. See picture 2 for the reality of trying to do anything like this with a toddler! 🥧 #toddlerbaker #mamabakes #handpies

Discussion