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Sunday, 31 January 2021

Strawberry and Chocolate Valentines Cupcakes

L-O-V-E is most definitely in the air with these divine 'pretty in pink' cupcakes.

The ultimate declaration of love is to share a cupcake...isn't it? We'll in my eyes it is! As Joey said in Friends: 'Joey doesn't share food'. I'm the exact same, so if I were to share a cupcake, it would have to be with a very special person- haha!
Show your special Valentine how much you love them and make them these gorgeous cupcakes. 

These cakes feature a vegan pink sponge and a strawberry jam core, with a swirl of ultra silky smooth, rich and indulgent chocolate meringue buttercream, topped with a sprinkling of freeze dried strawberries and a heart chocolate bomb filled with sprinkles and a strawberry heart. These cupcakes really are full of heart..get it? - haha!

I love Valentine's, especially Valentine's baking! There's something fun and romantic about all of the reds and pink's, and covering everything in rich, gooey chocolate! 
Cupcakes are easy to make and can be given as gorgeous gifts! 

Hot Chocolate Bombs have been trending all over social media and I jumped on the train last Christmas with my 'The Snowman' hot chocolate bomb. Ever since I posted that video & recipe, it's reached almost half a million views on my Instagram.  How incredible is that?!

Since then I've made a variety of chocolate bombs including:

I had the idea of using a hot chocolate bomb in a recipe, and we are here. Instead of dunking one in some dairy-free milk, I decided to top off cupcakes with them and fill them with yummy sprinkles. Not only incredibly delicious to eat, but so much fun to make. 
Smash one over the frosting and watch all of the sprinkles. It's very special and a new take on hot chocolate bombs which I haven't seen before!

In order to make the Heart chocolate bombs, you'll need a few things:

Looking for more Valentine's recipes? I have you covered:

Notes*

What food gel should I use? 
When it comes to cakes, I only like to use a gel. I have tried a liquid food colouring and for me, it never works. Liquid food gels don't give you the pigment so you end up adding more which changes the texture of the batter.
Food gels on the other hand are highly pigmented and you only need a little bit, so it won't change the texture of the bake. Pro Gel from Rainbow Dust Colours are my go-to's. Check out all of their colours here

What is Aquafaba:
Aquafaba is the water from a can/tin of chickpeas. The chickpea water or brine as it's called, acts as an amazing egg substitute for cakes, cupcakes and this delicious meringue buttercream. You can also get aquafaba in a carton for easy use. Check it out here.

Preparation: 1 hour
Baking time: 18-20 minutes
Serves: 8
Level: Easy/Medium

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Ingredients for the heart chocolate bombs
Ingredients for the cupcakes
  • 240ml of dairy-free milk
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 210g of self-raising flour
  • 120g of caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 60ml of sunflower oil
  • A drop of pink food gel (see notes*)
+
  • Strawberry jam (for the core)
Ingredients for the frosting
  • 120g of dairy-free butter (I use Flora block Plant Butter)
  • 90g of cocoa powder
  • 120g of icing sugar
  • 80ml of aquafaba (chickpea brine) see notes*
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Method (chocolate bombs)
1. Fill a small saucepan 3/4 full with water and place onto the hob over low/ medium heat.
Finely chop the white chocolate and place 3/4 of it into a heatproof bowl along with a tiny drop of pink food gel. Too much food gel can make the chocolate solidify, so be careful. If this does happen, add a tiny bit of coconut oil to loosen the mixture. White chocolate is always trickier to work with than dark chocolate so keep an eye on it.
Place the bowl on top of the saucepan and allow to melt. You'll need the other 1/4 of the chocolate to temper it.
You'll want to temper this chocolate. Check out this amazing tutorial on how to temper chocolate.

2. Using a food-grade brush, brush a thin layer of the tempered chocolate into the silicone moulds then place into the freezer for 5 minutes.
Paint a second coat of chocolate over the first, making sure it's thick and covers any gaps or holes. Pop into the freezer for 5 minutes.

3. Carefully remove the chocolate hearts out of the moulds. They'll be shiny and firm to touch. Place them onto a clean work surface.
Fill half of the hearts with 2 teaspoons of vegan Valentines inspired sprinkles or any sprinkle of your choice, some Love Heart sweets and a strawberry carved into a heart (optional). You could even fill them with some freeze-dried strawberries or a chocolate fudge sauce. The option's are endless. 

4. Pipe or dip some melted chocolate around the rim of the chocolate hearts and attach the second heart on top, pressing together gently to seal in the fillings.

5. Using food-grade brushes, brush some edible glitter over the hearts to make them shine!
Store in the fridge.

Method (cupcakes)
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees c, fan and line two cupcake tins with cupcake cases. 

2. In a small bowl, combine the dairy-free milk with the apple cider vinegar and whisk until fully combined. This creates a vegan buttermilk.

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
Mix well to combine.

4. Add the oil and drop of pink food gel to the 'buttermilk mixture' and whisk to combine. See notes* for details on adding food gel/colouring to cakes.

5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until a smooth batter.

6. Fill the cases 3/4 full with the batter. Don't overfill as these cupcakes will rise.
Make sure to tap the tins on the worktop to remove any air bubbles.

7. Pop the cakes into the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes.
You will know they are done when you put a knife or skewer down the centre and it comes out clean and they are springy to the touch.

8. Place the cupcakes on a cooling rack and allow to cool fully before filling/frosting.

Method (chocolate frosting)
1. In a large mixing bowl, add in the dairy-free butter and whip until creamy. I use a stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment. A hand mixer will work great too.

2. Sift in the cocoa powder and icing sugar and whip on high speed for a couple of minutes to incorporate it.

3. Pour in the aquafaba and whip for 5 minutes until it turns light and creamy. Don't over whip it or it can become too soft. If it does, just add more icing sugar until it's thick and creamy. If it feels too airy or thick, add in some more butter until its mousse-like.

5. Core each cupcake and fill with strawberry jam or a chocolate fudge sauce if you fancy.

6. Transfer the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star tip nozzle. Pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake. Repeat for all.

7. Decorate the cupcakes with a sprinkling of freeze-dried strawberries, vegan heart sprinkles (optional) and place one of the chocolate hearts on top. 
I would suggest to place the hearts on top just before serving as they're quite heavy and might sink the frosting.

To store
Serve these cupcakes fresh or store in a sealed container in or out of the fridge, the buttercream will firm up at room temperature. 
Best stored separate from the chocolate hearts.

Best eaten within a few days.

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