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.