Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Flaming Strawberry Cup Cakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Flaming Strawberries

Call me easily amused, but these little torch-topped cupcakes delight me.  Besides being a cute novelty item for a party, I think they would add a little drama to the end of a romantic meal.  I've been looking for something different to serve for Valentine's dessert, and this is definitely different.  The strawberries are hollowed out and filled with a bit of liquor, then ignited with a match.

For the cake portion, I chose a One Bowl Chocolate Cupcake recipe because 1. it's quick 2. it is easy, and 3. it fits my prerequisite for a light ending on date night.

I should say, a light ending provided you don't eat too many.  Which is really, really easy to do.

The cakes are just sweet enough, and have a light, fluffy crumb - the perfect vehicle for rich chocolate buttercream.
Add just a spoonful of 80 proof or above.

Notes for flaming strawberries:
  • Any alcohol below 80 proof will not ignite well.  I used 80 proof which makes a small blue flame.  I've been told that using an over-proof liquor (anything above 100) will give you a real fire, or a full yellow flame. 
  • You can add a little sugar to the inside of the strawberry to sweeten things up.  However, the flame seems to last longer without the addition of sugar.
  • Make sure to use a liquor that you like.  Vodka is a good choice if you want very little flavor.
  • Alcohol evaporates, so light the strawberry soon after you spoon the liquor in.  
  • Room temperature alcohol ignites better than refrigerated.
    • Do I have to say it?  Probably not, but my conscience will not let me go without.  Do not attempt to eat a flaming strawberry.  It has a relatively short burn time, lasting about 30 seconds to 1 minute. So, enjoy but be careful.  Use your noodle.

    Shaina made a margarita version of this on Babble Food. You can find the link HERE, along with some additional tips on getting the alcohol to ignite.

    Chocolate Cupcakes with Flaming Strawberries
     Yield:  About 20 cupcakes
                                                                                           [click to print]
    3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 1/2 tsp baking soda
    3/4 tsp baking powder
    3/4 tsp salt
    2 eggs
    3/4 cup hot water
    3/4 cup heavy cream
    3 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil
    2 tsp vanilla extract

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Line muffin tin with cupcake papers and set aside.

    Sift together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.  Add eggs, water, heavy cream, oil and vanilla.  Mix with a hand held mixer until smooth. 
    Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each half full.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool before frosting.

    2 sticks softened butter
    4 cups confectioners' sugar
    4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, cream together sugar, cocoa and butter; beginning on low speed then increase to high.  Beat until fluffy and lightened in color.  Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip.  Frost cupcakes.


    18-24 Strawberries - you'll need as many as you have cupcakes
    Vodka, rum, or your choice of liquor 80 proof or higher (over-proof such as 110 will give you a yellow flame)

    Hollow the strawberries carefully.  If you pierce the side of the strawberry accidentally, start with a new one.  Since you'll be setting the liquor aflame, it is important that the strawberry is leak-proof.

    Set one strawberry atop each frosted cupcake.  Fill strawberries with liquor just before lighting (see tips).  If you need to light them all at once, (say, for a party) use a turkey baster to quickly fill all the strawberries and a grill lighter in lieu of matches.