Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cupcakes, for a celebration

A few weeks ago my brother came up to me with an idea. He was planning, plotting, scheming. His goal; a thoughtful, romantic and very personal proposal for his girlfriend. It would be tricky, the ring was already bought, she knew it was coming. If he just randomly brought her to some beautiful location out of the blue it would be so obvious what was happening. So he decided to do it while my parents were here. Which complicated things even more, he didn't want to do it in front of all of us, it had to be private. The final plan; an early morning family picnic at a nearby park, which so happened to be the place where he first gave her flowers. My Mum cooked all sorts of delicious things including pumpkin kuih and curry puffs. Not your usual picnic food, but so much better! And I was assigned the task of making some celebratory cupcakes. 'Just make them pink', he requested. Easy!
I could have gone mental with it, made some crazy complicated cakes. But in the end I kept it simple. It was a 40 degree day when I was baking these, and it had only cooled to about 32 by the evening. So I was sweltering in front of my oven, and then fumbling with a pair of tweezers to get those little sugar hearts onto the personalised cupcakes. But it was worth the effort.
Excuse the terrible photos, night baking and a broken camera means that most of my photos will look like this for a while. In case you don't already know, I take all my photos with a pretty dodgy point and shoot, no DSLRs here. Anyway back to the cakes - I was just going to make plain strawberry cupcakes, but they reminded me a little too much of the strawberry mousse cupcakes I did a while back (which would have been good for this if it hadn't been so hot), so I decided to throw in some choc chips (dark chocolate ones since my brother wasn't a fan of white chocolate). The bitter chocolate was a little strong but I made sure there was tons of strawberry flavour in the smooth icing so that it balanced out the chocolate. The fresh strawberry puree in the cake makes it extra moist, and it's even better when you eat them straight out of the oven while the chocolate is still gooey.
The happy couple wandered off, my brother 'innocently' taking her for a walk around the park. They took a while for their private moment, in the meantime A & I greedily tucked into my Mum's awesome curry puffs. The cupcakes were hidden in a tupperware, ready to be revealed with the pink champagne.
They finally returned, congratulations were given and champagne was poured. The cupcakes were revealed to the very excited and pleased couple and some were munched on straight away.
I was pretty happy with how they turned out, I liked the simplicity of the smooth icing decoration, which had a little leftover cream cheese to make it extra moist. Next time I might just make a stiffer buttercream to pipe over the top. The most important thing was that they loved them and ate all of them up. And they tasted really, really good. Even better than my usual cupcakes because they were so moist!
Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
(adapted from my foolproof cupcake recipe)
For the cake:
1/2 cup strawberry puree (approx 1/2 punnet strawberries, blended)
2 large eggs
125g unsalted butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste/vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I prefer white choc, but this time I used dark choc for my brother)

For the icing:
100g cream cheese,softened
40g butter, softened
200g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp strawberry puree
Optional: Few drops of strawberry extract, pink food colouring, sugar flowers/sprinkles to decorate
Wash and clean strawberries. In a food processor or blender, puree strawberries until any large lumps are broken down. Preheat oven to 180C and line a cupcake tray with paper cases.Cream butter and sugar together using an electric beater until light and smooth. Add eggs at a time and beat in well.
Add the puree and flour and quickly mix until combined, avoid overbeating the flour. Fold in chocolate chips and then spoon mixture into cupcake cases, about 1/2 full.
It will take 15-20 minutes to bake. The top should be golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. (This cake will be moister than the plain cupcake recipe due to the strawberry puree). Remove cupcakes from tray and cool completely on a wire rack.
Using electric beaters, beat softened cream cheese and butter until it is smooth. Gradually add sifted icing sugar while beating at high speed, alternating with the strawberry puree. If you wish the consistency to be stiffer, add more icing sugar. If your strawberries aren't super ripe, you can add more food colouring and strawberry extract to enhance the flavour and appearance. I wanted my icing to be quite flat and smooth so that I could decorate over the top of it, so I added more strawberry puree to make it less viscous.
Decorate cupcakes however you like! Easiest thing to do is to top with sugar flowers or candied violets.
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  1. These look like the perfect cupcakes for such a happy occasion! Well done! Big congratulations to the happy couple :)

    Funny to see that copy of OK peeking out from under the tupperware. I was reading that on the flight home from Bali the other day, getting my hit of trash, hehe. Delta Goodrem is wearing some terrible boots in there if I recall correctly!

  2. Woah that is some rock. Congratulations to your brother. Yayyyyyy. I love good news...

  3. Woohoooo congrats!!!! What an awesome way to propose!!
    You know I'd just even say yes for the cupcakes alone, whoever that is.

  4. Congratulations to the happy couple and what a lovely sis you are for making such gorgeous-looking cupcakes. And lol at Yas' comment. He is far too easy!

  5. Congrats to your brother and his fiance! What a sweet, personalised jesture from you too!

    Will they be expecting you to make something for the wedding as well?

  6. YAY! So happy to hear about it - I love happy endings (or beginnings!) and glad to see your super cute cupcakes made part of the engagement entourage!

  7. Aw what a lovely surprise and those cupcakes look divine! I love the personalised touch with the little hearts and the letters - very cute :)

  8. aww you guys are so sweet my family never goes on picnics! congrats to your bro!

  9. Stephhhh I was waiting for htis post to come out and these look pro almost like wedding cupcakes.

    I know how good your cakes taste so im 100% sure these were really tastey ^_^

    So happy for your family. You now have a sister n law and soooon you could be an aunt tooo hehe :P

  10. Lol @ Yas' comment! Yay congrats to your bro & sister-in-law-to-be! :D How exciting! These cupcakes look perfect and so sweet of you :)

  11. What a happy story - congratulations to your brother! The cupcakes look so gorgeous - I love the strawberry and chocolate combination :)

  12. So very pretty and feminine! Congrats to your brother (and future sister in law!)

  13. AWWWWWW... such a sweet story. Congrats to your bro and his gf. Yay to pink cupcakes for celebration!

  14. oh yay!! How sweet! It seems like everyone is either getting engaged or getting pregnant these days. Such happy occasions. Love the cupcakes by the way. Strawberry and choc chip? too good!

  15. Lots of wishes to the lovely couple. The ring is gorgeous.

    The cupcakes are absolutely gorgeous.

  16. Conor - :) Thank you! LOL I didn't even realise until you pointed it out! I think it was my mum's :D

    A cupcake or two - it's very shiny! :)

    Yas - AHAHAHA classic! We know how to win your heart way too easily Yas!

    Helen - Aww thank you :) LOL he is!

    Simon - :) Hahahah I hope they don't! If anything making these reminded me of why I don't like being asked to bake for things!

    Trissa - :) hehe I think its the end of proposal drama and the start of wedding planning drama!

    Jacq - hehe yep the little hearts seemed like a good idea at first...not quite so fun after you've put on about 50 of them :S

    chocolatesuze - lol we don't do picnic too often either! thanks!

    Leona - Aww thanks dude! :) Ahahaha oh gosh aunty steph makes me sound so old :S

    Betty - :) Thanks AB!

    Lucy - I'm a sucker for chocolate and strawberry! Always makes me think of strawberry freddo frogs :)

    Forager - :) thanks Trina!

    Ellie - Pink cupcakes are always such a girly treat :)

    Maria - LOL i know, I swear its happening to everyone around me. :D Thanks!

    Anshika - Thanks very much! She's very happy with her ring :)

  17. Aww how sweet an idea! I love how you and yur mum got involved in it too :) Lovely ring too!

  18. Lorraine - Haha my mum nearly gave it away so many times! She gets overexcited hehe. Yes it's a very shiny ring :)


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