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.
Notes for flaming strawberries:
- Any alcohol below 80 proof will not ignite well. I used 80 proof which makes a small blue flame. Note: some have had trouble getting 80 proof to ignite – lots of people are recommending Bacardi 151 as a fail-safe.
- 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.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Flaming Strawberries
- 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
- 2 sticks softened butter
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
- 18-24 Strawberries – you’ll need as many as you have cupcakes
- Vodka rum, or your choice of liquor 80 proof or higher (use Bacardi 151 for fail-proof results).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.