Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes with Chambord White Chocolate Ganache

Winter is back though fortunately not with the vengeance that was predicted.  At least in our area.  It was predicted we’d get 8-14in/20-35cm.  While it is still snowing we’ll only get a third of that.  Which is fine by us!

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This was our view yesterday and I felt it was a good time to bake.  The kids had early release from school in anticipation of the impending storm.  Turns out the storm took it’s time to start and they could have gotten a whole day in.

Our daughter had won a kit for a strawberry chocolate cupcake mix which she made for a class in school.  This sparked an idea for me to use real strawberries and to really make it posh I thought I’d make chambord white chocolate ganache.

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I made the cupcakes using this chocolate cake recipe.

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While the cupcakes were baking I made up the ganache.  I adjusted the white chocolate ganache I made previously as I didn’t need a lot.  I used 1/2 cup/4oz of cream, 1 tablespoon/1/2oz of butter and 4oz of white chocolate.  When the cream and butter were heating up I added 3 tablespoons of chambord for flavour.

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For the chocolate frosting I found an Allrecipes recipe.  I had to alter it a bit as I didn’t have enough baking cocoa.  So I cut the confectioner’s sugar to 2 1/2 cups rather than 2 3/4 cups as I had to use hot cocoa for the baking cocoa.  The sugar high from these cupcakes was quite something!

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Once all the ingredients are made it’s time to assemble. Cut a pyramid out of the cupcakes and insert the strawberry upside down and liberally drizzle the ganache over and around the strawberry.

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Cut the tip off the pyramid and put the top back on the cupcake and frost the top of the cupcake.

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The cupcake absorbs the ganache and makes it incredibly moist and flavourful.  The strawberry is the only healthy bit of this sweet!

A Raspberry Twist

Does the Easter bunny exist or not?  That is the question! And I think our 9 year old son has been hedging his bets just like Santa Claus.  Every child goes through the transition wondering what the scoop is.  Going from absolute belief to the realisation that the school yard gossip is right.  And if you are the eldest like our daughter you have to go along with it all.  To have some fun with the kids my husband suggested a scavenger hunt with the plastic eggs the kids have.  We did up clues and placed the eggs round the house with them all leading to the chocolates.  It was fun for all of us!

In addition to the chocolates I wanted to make an after dinner treat and thought cupcakes would do the trick.  I had some raspberries and lemons so I knew I wanted to make some lemon curd and use the raspberries but I didn’t have buttermilk to make the lemon meringue cupcakes.  I went through my cupcake pins to see what I could use as a substitute.  Turned out to be harder than I thought it would be.  Several required buttermilk and I was surprised at how many recipes called for box cake mix!  I mean really, I don’t get that.  That step is more expensive and it’s just as quick to make it from scratch.

I found this recipe to use for the cupcakes and I only made a small change here and there.  Which is bold for me when it comes to baking.  I generally don’t mess with the recipes as there is a definite science to baking.  But the cupcakes came out just fine.

I did up the lemon curd several hours ahead of time so it had time to cool and set.

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.  Line the muffin tins and this recipe makes 12 cupcakes.

In the mixing bowl cream together 1/2 cup of butter and 3/4 cup of sugar.

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Add two eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and mix well.

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Add 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder.  The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of milk.  These two ingredients need to be added a 1/3 at a time, mixing well each time while scraping the sides of the bowl.

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Fill the liners 2/3 thirds full and bake for 20-25 minutes.

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Once they are cooled scoop out the top.  Cut the pointy end off of the top so you can place it on top of the curd.  Before filling with curd put a fresh raspberry into the cupcake.

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Fill in with the curd, put the top back on and dollop some fresh whipped cream on top.

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It’s simple, it looks pretty, and raspberry and lemon make a great pair.  And it leaves room for chocolate!  🙂


Boston Cream Cupcakes

I was doing a craft night with some members of our PTA for teacher appreciation week and I wanted to make a treat to get us through the crafts and I came upon this recipe for Boston Cream Cupcakes.  It looked fabulous and as my favourite donut is Boston Cream I thought it would be perfect.

I didn’t have time to do a proper pastry cream so I used Bird’s Custard.  It is one of my major guilty pleasures.  🙂

I made the cupcakes the day before in the interest of time, what with organizing the kids, work, and everything else!  To begin pre-heat the oven to 350F/176C.  In a small bowl measure out 8 3/4oz (very specific!) of flour and 7 oz of sugar.

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Place in the mixer bowl and add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 3/4 tsp salt.  Mix it well.  Next take 12 tablespoons of butter and slice it up.  Add a piece at a time to the flour while mixing until well blended.


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Add 3 eggs and blend well.  Lastly add 3/4 cup milk ( I used 2%) and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.  Again blend well.

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Spoon into the cupcake cups.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes until the toothpick comes out clean.

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Once they are cooled or it’s the next day it is time to add the custard.  I did the custard on the thick side for this.  To make the well cut out a cone then cut off the top half of the cone so you have plenty of space for the custard.  Fill the wells.

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Place the tops back on and prepare the chocolate glaze.  This was very easy to make.  All you need is a bowl or pyrex measuring pitcher and a microwave.  Take 80z of chocolate of your choice, 2/3 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup light corn syrup, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.  Heat until melted and the consistency you would like.  I found doing a couple of coats worked well.  Just drizzle over.  It’s a bit messy!

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These were delicious!  Sticky and messy but lovely.  🙂




Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

When I was growing up there were two special treats mum would make.  Lemon meringue pie and lemon curd.  They were amazing.  Poor mum would be over a hot stove making the curd, canning it, etc and I would come along and just gloop the stuff on my toast.  It was the best!  I’ve had store bought but I gave up buying it as it wasn’t the same.  And the pie was just cool looking to a little kid.

So when I was pinning various stuff on Pinterest I came across this recipe for Lemon Meringue Cupcakes from King Arthur Flour and knew I just had to make them.  It flashed me back to when I was small having the lovely treats.

Now the recipe calls for making the lemon curd in the microwave.  I was sceptical to say the least but Maria Dernikos posted the other day about this method and said it worked.  So I gave it a try.  It is very tasty.  Not the same as mum’s homemade mind you but it does the trick.  I made the whole recipe today but I recommend doing the curd the day before.  Nothing is overly difficult but there are many steps to this.

First I baked the cupcakes.  So I pre-heated the oven to 400F/204C and lined a muffin tin with cupcake paper.  The recipe calls for a light spray of oil so I did that as well.  Not sure whether that is needed but as these are my first real cupcakes (not just using cake batter in muffin tins and keeping fingers crossed) I followed the directions.

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In a mixing bowl add 1 1/2 cup flour, 1tsp, baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup butter (room temp), 1 large egg, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/3 cup buttermilk.  Mix all together.  It will be dry at first and you’ll need to scrape the sides as it mixes.  But it will smooth out.  Then add another 1/3 cup of buttermilk and mix until smooth and blended.

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Spoon batter into the cupcake paper filling about 2/3s full.

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Bake 15-18 minutes until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.  Put the cupcakes on a cooling rack to cool fully.

Next I made the lemon curd.  I bought some lovely organic lemons from our new local co-op for this.

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You will need one cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, one cup sugar, 1/2 cup of melted butter, and 2 large eggs.  Use a fairly large bowl for this as the curd tends to expand near the end of cooking.  Mix all of this together.

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Now King Arthur recommends cooking in the microwave one minute at a time with stirring in between.  This is because every microwave is different and it could be done quickly or if your microwave is old like ours it can take awhile.  But you need to stir each time.   As it gets close to being done it will rise up quickly in the bowl so I found towards the end I was doing 20 second intervals.

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The curd should coat the back of the spoon like a syrup.

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This needs to chill for a few hours to thicken.  Another reason to do it the day before.  Once the curd is ready it should look a bit like this does.

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The recipe mentions a cupcake corer.  Clearly I need to learn more as I had never heard of such a thing.  I just used a knife to take out plugs of cupcake which left little cones for the curd.

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Spoon in the curd into the little cones.

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I then put the cupcakes into the fridge to set some more while I did the meringue.  For the meringue take 3 egg whites and 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar and put it into a clean mixing bowl.

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Whip until you have soft peaks.

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Add 1/8 tsp of salt and mix it in.  Then add 6T of sugar, one at a time, as the mixer whips it into a lovely meringue.  I did this on high speed until I got the stiff peaks and it was “light and billowy” per King Arthur.

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It mentions then piping it onto the cupcakes.  One that just leads to more dishes and two I like the random peaks, just like the pie.  So I spooned the meringue onto the cupcakes and created the peaks.

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Then place under the broiler until golden.  This happens very quickly as I learned today as, ahem, some came out more toasted than the others.  Oops.

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Once you slice into this lovely lemony dessert the curd should be slightly runny but not too much.

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Well worth the effort.  Though the only bad part about this is it only makes 12!  Sigh.  🙂