Monday, June 4, 2012

2012 Ice Cream Cupcake Contest: Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Ice Cream Cupcakes

It's my favorite time of year: the Ice Cream Cupcake Contest!  In past years, I've created ginger-vanilla cupcakes filled with pineapple sorbet and strawberry-balsamic ice cream cupcakes.  This year I decided to go in a more chocolate-y direction with these chocolate-covered strawberry ice cream cupcakes.  Thanks to the Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious for hosting the contest - coming up with the flavor combination was so much fun!

The chocolate ice cream I made for this recipe was amazing both inside the cupcakes and on its own.  The flavor and texture reminded me of a Wendy's Frosty (one of my absolute favorite fast food treats), so I'm excited to have a recipe that replicates it using real ingredients.  The chocolate ice cream is stuffed inside strawberry cupcakes - these didn't turn out as pink as I was hoping, but they were still delicious!

The lack of pink in the cupcakes was totally made up for in the super pink strawberry frosting.  In the past, I've tried to make fresh strawberry frosting on multiple occasions and always ran into problems - emulsions that wouldn't form (i.e. big chunks of butter that wouldn't blend in - ick!), super runny, etc.  This recipe is absolutely perfect, and I was amazed at how much color and flavor just two tablespoons of strawberry puree contributed!

The fabulous pink frosting is drizzled with strawberry hot fudge sauce.  I really wanted to find a sauce for the cupcakes that combined fruit and chocolate, but I couldn't find one.  I ended up adapting a recipe for chocolate sauce that used water, and replaced the water with strawberry puree.  This definitely did the trick - the strawberry flavor is subtle but definitely there, and the sauce is intense and not-too-sweet, a perfect counterpart for the super-sweet buttercream.  Overall, this is an absolutely decadent and delicious dessert...I'm in love!

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Ice Cream Cupcakes

Strawberry Cupcakes
Chocolate Ice Cream
Fresh Strawberry Frosting
Strawberry Hot Fudge Sauce

Split the cupcakes in half and fill with chocolate ice cream.  Spread on some frosting and then top with strawberry hot fudge sauce.  Enjoy immediately!

Strawberry Cupcakes (adapted from the Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook)
Makes 6 cupcakes

3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Generous pinch fine sea salt
1/3 cup pureed fresh strawberries (from about 1/2 cup whole strawberries)
2 T milk, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 6 cupcake cups with papers.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  In another small bowl, whisk together the strawberry puree, milk, vanilla, and lemon zest.
3. Beat the butter on medium-high speed until light in color.  Turn the speed down to low, and gradually add the sugar, mixing for 3-4 minutes until fluffy.  Add the egg and mix well.  Add the flour alternating with the strawberry mixture (dry-wet-dry-wet-dry).  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix another 1-2 minutes.
4. Scoop the batter into the prepared cups, dividing equally among them.  Bake 20-25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.  Let cool completely.

Chocolate Ice Cream (adapted from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones)
Makes about 1 quart

5 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder (measured, then sifted)
3/4 cup skim milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla

1. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks briefly and then whisk in half the sugar (6 T).  Set aside.
2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the cocoa powder with the remaining sugar (6 T).   Whisk in about 1/4 cup of the milk to form a paste, adding a little more milk as needed to make it smooth and uniform.  Whisk in the remaining milk, cream, and salt and place the pan over medium-high heat.  When the mixture approaches a simmer, reduce heat to medium.
3. Temper the egg yolks with the hot cream mixture, whisking in about 1/2 cup at a time in a slow stream.  Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan.
4. Cook the mixture slowly, stirring constantly over medium heat, until thickened, 1-2 minutes.  It should coat the back of a spatula and hold a clear pat when you run your finger across the back of the spatula.
5. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container.  Chill overnight, until very cold.
6. Whisk the vanilla into the ice cream base and then freeze in your ice cream maker according to your machine's instructions.  Pop in the freezer for a few hours to let the ice cream firm up.

Fresh Strawberry Frosting (adapted from the Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook)
Makes about 1-1/4 cups

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Pinch sea salt
2 cups powdered sugar
2 T pureed fresh strawberries (from about 1/4 cup whole berries)

Beat together the butter, lemon juice, and salt on low speed until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes.  Gradually sift in the powdered sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Add the strawberry puree and mix until completely incorporated, 1-2 minutes.  The frosting will hold at room temperature for a couple of days if needed.

Strawberry Hot Fudge Sauce (adapted from David Lebovitz)
Makes about 1-1/4 cups

1 cup pureed fresh strawberries (from about 1-1/2 cups whole strawberries)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup + 2 T cocoa powder, sifted
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate (preferably 80-85% cacao), finely chopped

1. Strain the strawberry puree though a fine mesh strainer.  Measure out 1/2 cup of the strained puree and transfer to a small saucepan.
2. Add the sugar, corn syrup, and cocoa powder and stir to combine.  Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
3. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate.  Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted.  If the sauce looks lumpy, strain through a fine mesh strainer.
4. Let cool a few minutes, but use while still warm.


  1. Woah, Sara! You've done it again! Awesome cupcake and I love the idea of strawberry hot fudge sauce. I'm going to have to try that. Thanks for entering and good luck!

  2. Yum! Great idea for a cupcake!

  3. If there was ever a cupcake that screamed of decadence - this one is it! Love chocolate covered strawberries, but even moreso on a cupcake with ice cream!

  4. Wow, I am impressed. Wonderful treat!

  5. How decadent does that look!!

  6. There's ice cream sandwiched in this cupcake! AMAZING!

  7. This looks so good! The strawberry hot fudge sounds divine!

  8. looks pretty tasty! I love the idea of a strawberry hot fudge sauce.

  9. LOVE the book sweet cream and sugar cones! Glad you used it in your recipe! ;) Love your take on "chocolate covered strawberries"! Thanks for entering! Good luck!


    P.S. I am SO going to try that strawberry hot fudge sauce at my ice cream party! Awesome!

  10. Mmmm, this looks absolutely amazing. Good luck in the contest, and thanks for your kind comment on my entry!