People can go all out on Valentine’s Day, buying expensive chocolates, sparkling jewelry, and dozens of roses. But some of my favorite Valentine gifts have been hand-drawn or fashioned from construction paper by my nieces and nephews, requiring only creativity and some art supplies.
I’m also a fan of home-baked gifts for any occasion, and these chocolate strawberry cupcakes are an easy option for a Valentine’s Day treat. You just need cocoa powder for the cupcakes and could substitute strawberry jam for the fresh strawberry puree if that’s what you have on hand.
For the cupcakes
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the frosting
- 12 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- About 1/3 cup strawberry puree
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners; my batch made 13 cupcakes.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir together, then add water, oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk until the batter is smooth; it will be thin.
Using a two-inch cookie scoop, scoop batter into prepared cupcake tin, filling wells about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from cupcake tin and allow to cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.
To make frosting, combine butter and powdered sugar in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed until the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter. Add vanilla and strawberry puree to taste, beating to combine. Fit a piping bag with a large star tip (like the Wilton M1) and pipe generous swirls onto each cupcake. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days. Makes 12 or 13, depending on how full your cupcake wells are filled.