Saturday, February 4, 2012

Pink Velvet Cupcakes

"Love is the greatest refreshment in life."

 ~Pablo Picasso

Pink velvet cupcakes, what does that mean, you ask? We all know a red velvet cupcake  is a buttermilk cupcake with a touch of cocoa. And yes, there are indeed a few versions of pink velvet cupcakes that are basically a red velvet cupcake but with only a tiny hint of cocoa. One recipe I read had only one teaspoon. There are many versions of pink velvet cupcakes that are only a white cupcake dyed pink. And there are a few versions that are a white chocolate cupcake dyed pink. A good idea I thought.

Ultimately what I discovered is that a pink velvet cupcake is a pink cupcake in whatever flavor you want it to be.

pureeing the strawberries

So I created my own pink velvet cupcake. A strawberry flavored pink cupcake with a whipped white chocolate ganache frosting. Wow these are good!

reducing the strawberry puree

I made a few versions of these to get it right. They contain pureed strawberries, and you need quite a bit to get a good strawberry flavor. I achieved the best taste when I reduced the puree to concentrate the flavor. They also contain strawberry extract to further bring home the strawberry goodness. I used Watkins strawberry extract and I promise you I couldn't tell there was extract in these. The flavor was excellent. I happened to have this in my pantry, but  I was at my local Walmart and I noticed they carried this item in the baking aisle.

When reducing the strawberry puree, I kept this measuring cup nearby so I could measure when it had reduced enough

The texture of these cupcakes is something I was very happy about. They are fluffy and moist at the same time. The perfect texture, I believe.

This is the color of the batter without pink coloring, the cooked cupcakes turned out slightly grey

This is the color after I dyed it

Paste pink colorings I used

I used some fancy cupcake holders I purchased at Michaels

The cupcakes themselves are not too sweet. So the decadent whipped white chocolate ganache is the perfect topping.

Just out of the oven

The perfect cupcake for a Valentines Day celebration!

melting down the white chocolate and butter

the ganache whipped into a frenzy

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Happy Valentines Day!


Pink Velvet Cupcakes

an original recipe by me, Melissa aka The Alchemist

makes 12 standard size cupcakes- if you use the type of wrappers in the picture, it makes only about 9, but the recipe is easily doubled.

Ingredients for cupcakes

1 cup (235 ml) pureed strawberries (fresh or previously frozen strawberries pureed in a food processor or blender)

1 1/2 cups (150 g.) flour

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 g.)  unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (200 g.) sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup (2 oz, or 57 g.) sour cream or yogurt

1 Tablespoon strawberry extract (I used Watkins brand)

pink food coloring paste, or gel

Whipped White Chocolate Ganache Frosting


12 oz. (340 g.) good quality white chocolate (I used Lindt) (chopped) or white chocolate chips

1/2 cup (125 ml) heavy cream

2 Tablespoons butter

Directions for cupcakes

First you need to reduce the strawberry puree. Place the puree in a small saucepan and cook it on medium high heat for 10-15 minutes stirring frequently until reduced to 2/3rds of a cup (or 150 ml). (Have a Pyrex measuring cup next to the stove to check it periodically.) It will get darker in color and thicker as it reduces. Cool the puree in the fridge until room temperature or cool. You can make the puree in advance, of course.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 180 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.

Using an electric mixer, or a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter till fluffy. Add the sugar and cream it together till light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, blending after each addition.

Mix the sour cream and both extracts into the reduced strawberry puree. Add half of the strawberry mixture and blend, then add half of the flour mixture and mix, then the other half of the strawberry mixture, and mix again, then add the remaining flour mixture. Blend until incorporated, make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Now add the pink food coloring and mix. Add a little at a time until the desired hue is reached. If you don't add the pink color the cupcakes will be a drab grayish color.

Fill cupcakes 2/3rds to 3/4 of the way full.

Bake in preheated oven till a toothpick comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes.

Meanwhile, start the frosting.

When cupcakes are finished baking, cool on wire racks until cooled.

Directions for frosting

In a medium saucepan heat the cream until it just starts to simmer and remove from heat. Add the white chocolate and the butter and stir until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth.

Transfer the ganache to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Chill in the fridge until it is slightly cool, about 30 minutes. Stir it after 15 minutes. It is important that the ganache is at the right temperature. If it is too warm or too cool, it won't whip up correctly.

Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, or a hand mixer. whip the ganache for about 5 minutes until it's good and fluffy. If it doesn't whip up, it may be too warm. Or if it looks curdled when you whip it, it may be too cold.

Frost the cupcakes when they have cooled completely.

Serve at warm room temperature. If they are cold, the frosting will be hard.


Helen said...

Gorgeous cupcakes!! Wow! I bet they taste good too.

Norm said...

Another excellent recipe and photos

Amanda said...

These cupcakes are so adorable, I love them! And great pictures. I'm going to make these for Valentines Day. Thanks for the recipe!

Jill @ said...

Love this! We are hosting our first Kitchen Fun and Crafty link party this Friday (the 10th) and would love for you to share this! Feel free to stop by and grab a party button!

Sweetened by Kagi said...

This looks so yummy! Thank you for sharing. New fan from - I love love love your blog and I hope you will follow me too!


The Alchemist said...

Sweetened by Kagi- Thank you so much, I appreciate it. I'm off to your blog now..

Amy said...

They are so pretty & lovely!! Velvet cupcakes are in my to do list, now this post is making me excited to bake during this weekend!! Thanks for linking with Midweek Fiesta.If you get a chance, pl link with my other event too
Decorating Challenge- Valentine’s Day Ideas

Andi said...

Beautiful cupcakes, you did a great job. andi

Lisa said...

Wow, those look amazing! Very pretty and so delicious-looking!

Sally Annie Magundy said...

Oh! Those look so yummy! Love the idea of strawberry cupcakes.

Happy Rednesday!

Karah @ thespacebetweenblog said...

Oh my! I definitely shouldn't have read this post right before dinner. Now I'm starving! Thanks for sharing!!
Karah said...

It looks heavenly. Visiting you from TT&J

Allison @ Alli 'n Son said...

These are so pretty! I love the delicate pink color, a nice change from a traditional red velvet cupcake.

Unknown said...

Hi There!
I'd love it if you come to my blog and enter this in my linky party, called A Themed Baker's Sundy where the theme is Cupcakes!
Hope to see you there!
Cupcake Apothecary


Yummy, creamy goodness! Perfect for Valentine's Day! Love your photos too! Glad you shared with Tuesday's Tasty Tidbits.

Emily Thompson said...

Hi! This is great! I am featuring this at tomorrows Tasty Tuesday party. Come by and check it out!

Lorraine said...

Beautiful cupcakes! They puffed up so perfectly:)

Miz Helen said...

This is a beautiful presentation for your wonderful Pink Velvet Cupcakes, just perfect for Valentine Day! Hope you have a wonderful week and a special Valentine Day. Thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and come back soon!
Miz Helen

Desi said...

These are so very pretty! I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog... I've fallen in love with many of your recipes! I am your newest GFC follower :)

The Alchemist said...

Emily- Thank you so much for featuring me!

Desi- Awesome! Good to have you here.

Unknown said...

Yum! Would love it if you came by and linked up to my Manic Monday Linky Party!

Johanna A. said...

Just made these today for my hubby. We loved them! Your instructions were so clear, the ganache was a snap thanks to you!! :-)

The Alchemist said...

Johanna A.- I'm so glad you liked them, thanks for letting me know!

Jenn Erickson said...

This is, perhaps, my most slow-pokey week yet. My apologies for taking so long to get over here from “A Little Birdie Told Me..” to enjoy your post. It’s important to me to visit and really give my full attention to all the links, but as the party grows it’s taking more and more time. Thank you so much for bearing with me, and for continuing to share your talent at Rook No. 17!

Winnie said...

I've just seen these on RecipeNewZ - and they look amazing!

The Alchemist said...

Winnie- Thank you so much!

littletiger said...

Just stumbled across these looking for ideas for a baby shower...would the whipped ganache stand up to being at room temperature for a few hours? They look amazing!

The Alchemist said...

littletiger - Yes, you want it to be at room temp anyway, if they are cold the frosting will be hard. So I think a few hours would work fine.

Unknown said...

this looks lovely, will try to make them soon. :)

Unknown said...

Love, love, love these.
Wanda Ann @

Anonymous said...

Your cupcakes are beautiful and I love your step by step photos!

Visiting from the New Years party on I should be mopping the floor...

Have a Happy New Year!


funfunbake said...

hi, may i substitute the butter with corn oil? i love your blog so much, thank you for sharring.

funfunbake said...

hi, may i substitute the butter with corn oil? i love your blog so much, thank you for sharring.

The Alchemist said...

funfunbake- The butter is whipped with the sugar until it gets fluffy, so oil won't yield the same results. Shortening would be a good substitute for butter if you can't use that.

Good luck!

Carol said...

Hi Melissa, I made the cupcakes and what a hit they were. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful recipe. xx

Thilo said...

Hi there,
These cupcakes looks so good. I want to try them soon.but i cant find any strawberry extract. Is it ok if i use strawberry essence instead?

Thank you so much.

The Alchemist said...

Thilo - Sorry for the late reply, I don't know. We don't have essences here in the US widely available, and it's not something I'm super familiar with, so I just don't know. Sorry about that.

Unknown said...

How full do you fill standard cupcake liners? The recipe doesn't state whether its 3/4 full, 2/3 full, or 1/2 full. I appreciate your help! Thank you! Michelle

The Alchemist said...

Hi Michelle - Sorry about that. I would fill them 2/3rds full.

Happy Baking!

Unknown said...

Hi!!! I was trying to make the icing but it didn't whip up properly. I placed it in the fridge after transferring to my mixer bowl and chilled it according to your directions but it was still pretty warm. How cool should it be or feel? My step daughter's birthday is this Saturday and I am making cupcakes and I want to use this icing. Please help!! Thanks in advance!!

Unknown said...

Your very talented and I wanted to say thank you for sharing your recipes and experiences to the world, its much appreciated. Cant wait to try recipes as making cupcakes for my Daughters Prom in July (junior prom! what happened to an end of year disco oops showing my age!)

Unknown said...

Hi MelissašŸ˜Š I just had to leave a comment here too because I love these cupcakes so much!! These pink beauties are incredible! You really truly are The Alchemist because they are so light, fluffy and moist! They also look incredible. I'm going to bake your lemon cupcakes next (thanks for the link) and a heartfelt thank you for your wonderful blog, recipes and contribution to the culinary world! All the next to you from me on Australia! xx

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Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Hi Melissa,

If I want to make this into a cake, which size of cake pan should I use? How full should I fill it up? Do I need to change the temperature and the baking time? Thank you. My daughters and I have been using your recipes. You are indeed an alchemist :)

The Alchemist said...

Hi Abigail,

Yes, you can make any of my cupcakes into a cake of any size. Just fill the pan to about 2/3 of the way full. (Make sure you grease the pan well first.) The baking time will be different depending on the size of the pan. I personally look up other recipes of a cake of the same size and use that as a guide to know when to expect it to be done. You can tell when a cake is about done when it's no longer caved in, in the center, (the top looks more rounded) and if you open the oven door and gently touch the center you can tell if it's firm or if it's just wet underneath, in which case it would need more time. Also another sign of a cake being done is that it pulls away from the sides of the pan. Then if it looks done you can do a toothpick test.

I would double this recipe to make a 2 layer 8 or 9 inch cake. Or a single recipe would make a one layer cake.

Thank you! I'm so glad you and your daughters like my recipes. I really appreciate it!

Happy baking!