I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day, but I am a fan of the chocolate covered cherries and strawberries that seem to be in abundance this time of year! They sparked the idea to use an old recipe of mine for chocolate ale cupcakes, but this time I upped the chocolate factor by using a delicious chocolate porter from Three Creeks Brewing Co. The cake came out rich, chocolatey, and moist which made the perfect base for a mountain of fluffy buttercream frosting made with real strawberries. And forget about the cherry on top… these cupcakes are all about the chocolate covered strawberry on top! Valentine’s Day or not, these make the perfect dessert for any get together!
(makes 2 dozen)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup light sour cream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate porter (I used Three Creeks Five Pine Chocolate Porter)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
For Chocolate Covered Strawberries:
5-6 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate, broken into pieces
2-3 oz white baking chocolate, broken into pieces
24 fresh strawberries, rinsed
For Strawberry Frosting:
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and diced
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) and line two (12 cup) muffin tins with paper or foil liners.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together sour cream and eggs until smooth. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium to high heat, pour in beer, and bring to a simmer. Whisk in cocoa powder until smooth and remove from heat.
Slowly pour into sour cream and egg mixture, stirring until combined. Slowly whisk in flour mixture until all ingredients are mixed.
Fill muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full and place in the oven. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place on cooling racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and place on cooling racks to finish cooling another 15 to 20 minutes.
While we’re waiting on the cupcakes we can start on the chocolate covered strawberries and frosting..
Line a large baking sheet with wax paper and set aside. In two small saucepans, heat semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate separately over low heat. Stir until both are completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Grab strawberries by the top, dip into semi-sweet chocolate, let excess drip off, and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Continue with remaining strawberries. Dip a fork into melted white chocolate and quickly drizzle across strawberries with as little or as much as you would like.
Place baking sheet of strawberries into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes or until chocolate has hardened.
Now for that delicious strawberry butter cream frosting!
Place strawberries in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
Pour into a small saucepan and heat over medium to high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring every few minutes for 15-20 minutes. Puree should reduce by at least half and have the consistency of applesauce. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in half of the strawberry puree, vanilla extract, and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Beat in remaining strawberry puree and another cup of powdered sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and slowly beat in remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar.
Transfer frosting into a large pastry bag and pipe on top of cupcakes. Lightly press a chocolate covered strawberry onto the top of each one and you’re done! These can easily be made the night before as well. Just cover and refrigerate. Allow cupcakes to come back down to room temperature about an hour before serving.