Sinful. Gluttonous. Mouthwateringly delicious….
I don’t know exactly how I should sum up these works of cupcake art, but just know they’re one of the best things you’ll ever eat. To be specific, these they are technically devil’s food cake with coffee, filled with raspberry ganache and topped with whipped white chocolate raspberry cream cheese frosting. Insane, I know. I enlisted one of the best bakers I know, my good friend Kristina, to show you all how to make them for Valentine’s Day. She is our resident cupcake master here at the office. No joke, every time any sort of celebration is going on, this girl gets asked to bake.
I had a lot of fun sitting along and photographing her as she whipped them up like an old pro. Coffee beans steamily brewing, crystals of sugar dissolving into batter, pillowy cupcakes freshly exiting the oven …it was all so beautiful! The amount of elegant care and beauty that goes into making these, not to mention how delectably delicious they are – there’s no doubt that you’re loved one won’t appreciate them as a Valentine’s Day treat. Thank you Kristina for showing us how to make them!
For the Cake:
- 9 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1-1/2 cups cake flour (Not self-rising. All-purpose flour works too.)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup strong coffee (or water)
- 1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE FILLING (Whipped Raspberry ganache):
- 6 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate
- 4 teaspoons sugar (this is optional)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- One bag frozen raspberries.
FOR THE FROSTING:
- Whipped White Chocolate Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 stick of unsalted butter (room temp)
- 8 ounce package of cream cheese (room temp)
- 6 ounces melted white chocolate (I used Ghirardelli White Chocolate)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Raspberry preserves
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups powdered sugar (depends on your desired consistency)
For the Cake:
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Sift together cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. If you don’t have a sifter that’s alright, using a whisk to give it a good stir will do the trick.
- In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. (If using a standing electric mixer, stop the mixer as necessary to scrape down the sides to be sure everything is getting mixed in.)
- For the coffee: you want to use the strongest brew possible, I double-brewed mine with a favorite Italian espresso. Mix together the coffee and milk. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, then add the coffee and milk. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients.
- Pour into lined cupcake pans, about 3/4 of the way full, and bake for 18 minutes. For most recipes my rule is to check after 15 minutes by inserting a toothpick and seeing how clean it comes out, then checking every 2 minutes until it comes out completely clean. Be sure to do this quickly as you don’t want the oven to lose too much heat in the process!
- Once you’ve pulled them let them cool completely before beginning to fill and frost.
For the Filling:
- Toss bag of frozen strawberries in a medium saucepan, add ¼ of water and heat on med-high heat, stirring occasionally.
- Place chopped chocolate in a medium-sized heat proof bowl.
- Heat heavy cream and sugar (if using) in a large saucepan over med-hi heat until it simmers gently.
- Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir gently until the chocolate is mostly melted.
- Let stand for 5 mins to be sure all chocolate is melted.
- Stir ganache gently until perfectly smooth, let cool.
- Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. If you have time, chilling it overnight is ideal(it must be cold or it will curdle when it’s whipped; ganache can be made up to 4 days ahead).
- Once cool, whip ganache until it’s stiff enough to hold a nice shape.
- Once your raspberries are completely thawed and slightly broken down gently fold them into the ganache. Add as little or as much as you’d like in this step depending on your taste!
For the Frosting:
- Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water NOT boiling. Once the chocolate is melted, set aside to cool slightly. (This can be done by placing chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove- being careful that it doesn’t touch the water- and stirring until completely melted)
- Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until smooth and creamy, gradually add in melted white chocolate and beat until smooth.
- Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated, add more if you prefer a stiffer frosting. Fold in raspberry preserve (the amount also depends on your taste, I used about 1/3 cup to get that pink hue and tart raspberry flavor.)
FOR THE FILLIGREE HEARTS:
- Draw 2 inch hearts onto parchment 30 times using a pencil. Flip parchment, and transfer to a baking sheet. (if you aren’t one for drawing you can trace a heart-shaped cookie cutter)
- Melt 4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler or heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a parchment cone (or resealable plastic bag). Snip a tip to make a small hole.
- Pipe chocolate into hearts, following outlines and filling in with squiggles (be sure squiggles are at least 1/4 inch thick so hearts won’t break when removed).
- Freeze hearts until set, about 15 minutes. Remove hearts using an offset spatula. Makes 30
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:
- Once cupcakes have completely cooled, cut ‘cones’ out using a sharp serated knife, remove some of the cake from the bottom on the cone so you have a ‘lid’ of sorts, save these and repeat for all cupcakes.
- Fill holes with the ganache and replace the “lid” of the cupcake.
- Fill a piping bag with the frosting and pipe onto all cupcakes (I used a fairly large round tip) this step doesn’t have to be perfect, the cupcakes are beautiful to begin with! (if you don’t have a piping bag you can use a gallon sized Ziploc with a small corner cut off, voila!)
- Top with filigree hearts
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!!