Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes with Whipped Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
I once thought that, as my aged increased, so would my ability to be self-reliant. In recent years, however, I’ve realized the opposite to be true. The people nearest to my heart are not only critical parts of how my everyday life functions—they are essential aspects of who I am. In some cases, actually in one very special case, they can even be the best part of who I am. That case is my husband, Ben. It’s our five-year wedding anniversary today, and I’m celebrating with a renewed appreciation for the role he plays in my life and a giant plate of Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes with Whipped Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting.
Actually, in the spirit of total honesty, I’m first celebrating with a nap. I arrived home from Europe late last night so that Ben and I could be together on our anniversary. If you are wondering if the irony of my leaving Paris to be in Wisconsin for the sake of romance has escaped me, it has not.
Although the Paris-to-Wisconsin scenario merits some situational humor, I wouldn’t trade a last night in front of the Eiffel Tower or plate of croissants for a chance to spend a milestone evening celebrating with the person I love so dearly, both for who he is and for who we are together. Of course Ben and I both would have loved for him to join me in Paris instead, but since that wasn’t an option, we are going to have a magnifique evening in Milwaukee instead.
Could Milwaukee be the under-appreciated Paris of the Midwest? We are about to find out.
Although five years of marriage might seem insignificant when compared to a couple who has been married for 50+ , to me it is still meaningful. I am looking forward to celebrating tonight with dinner out, then enjoying a special dessert I stowed away in our freezer: Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes with Whipped Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting.
Our wedding cake was strawberry flavored, so every year for our anniversary, I make some kind of strawberry dessert to commemorate it. I actually started my blog the same year we were married, so if you have a lot of extra time on your hands (or you really love strawberries), you can poke back through the archives to see what I’ve shared.
This year’s dessert is a bit of a cheat, because it’s more chocolate than strawberry, but these Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes are far too fabulous to waste time debating semantics.
More like mini chocolate soufflés than traditional cupcakes, these mousse-inspired treats are light and airy on the inside, smooth and silky on the outside, and truffle-like throughout. The chocolate flavor is pure without being overpowering, and they are sweet-tooth satisfying without being sugary. They remind me of the chocolate mousse I had in Paris, but as someone who once (and only once) tried to make traditional chocolate mousse from scratch, I can tell you that these Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes are far, far easier to prepare.
This recipe came to me via my stellar communications manager, Caitlin, who, in addition to keeping me sane on a daily basis, has a keen understanding of the sorts of desserts that speak directly to my heart. She sent me Deb’s recipe for Chocolate Soufflé Cupcakes with Mint Cream, and I knew immediately that some version of it needed to be in my life, STAT.
I kept the base recipe for the chocolate cupcakes the same because, quite frankly, it is too perfect to change, but I swapped the mint cream with an ethereal whipped strawberry cream cheese frosting. I’m sure the mint version is lovely, but honestly, I am so besotted with this cloud-like strawberry cream creation, I’m not sure that I’ll ever eat these Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes any other way.
A better name for Whipped Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting would be “Whipped Strawberry Cloud.” It’s lightly sweetened homemade whipped cream, folded together with cream cheese and fresh strawberries. It’s light, creamy, fruity, and categorically impossible not to eat directly from the bowl, so don’t even try. Pile as much onto the mousse cupcakes as you think they can hold, then polish off the rest with a spoon and a smile.
In addition to sharing a strawberry dessert, I do have one other wedding anniversary tradition. Each year, I’ve posted something that I learned about marriage since saying “I do” five years ago. I don’t think I’d call this year’s blurb a lesson, so much as I would a moment of appreciation.
I couldn’t be myself, either as I am today or who I would want to be, without Ben. Whether he’s stepping between me and my computer to give me a hug, lying on my side of the bed to warm it up before I climb in, or shoveling the driveway so that I can make it out for an early-morning grocery run, the quiet selflessness he displays inspires me to be the best-ever version of myself. His opinion is the one I seek first and respect most.
We’ve been married five years, friends for twelve, and when I think of the decades ahead, I can’t picture my life any other way than without him in it. Yes, we have our disagreements. Yes, we are uniquely talented at driving each other crazy. And yes, I really do think my way of loading the dishwasher is superior to his.
But, could there be anyone else I’d rather have make me nuts than this person for whom I already am? Never.
Love you, Ben. Happy anniversary.
Prior wedding anniversary posts (and strawberry desserts):
- One-Year: Sprinkle’s Bakery Strawberry Cake
- Two-Year: Strawberry Almond Skillet Cake
- Three-Year: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
- Four-Year: Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes with Whipped Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes:
- 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate — chopped (I preferred this with bittersweet)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter — cut into pieces (3/4 stick)
- 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder — or instant coffee powder, heaping
- 3 large eggs — whites and yolks separated
- 6 tablespoons sugar — divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sliced fresh strawberries — optional for serving
For the Whipped Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese — softened (do not use fat free)
- 5 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar — divided
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries
- 2 drops red food coloring — optional
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 10 standard-size (3-ounce) muffin cups with paper liners. (Liners are not optional—the cupcakes will stick, even with nonstick spray.)
- Heat the chocolate, butter, and espresso powder in a medium saucepan over low heat, until the chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from the heat and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
- In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks and 3 tablespoons sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is very thick and pale, about 2 minutes. (I found a hand mixer, rather than a stand mixer, worked best because the amounts are fairly small.) Add the cooled chocolate mixture and vanilla extract and beat briefly. Set aside.
- Clean and dry your beaters COMPLETELY. In a separate medium bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and salt, and continue beating until medium-firm peaks form. Fold the whites into the chocolate mixture one-third at a time, fully and gently incorporating between each addition. Divide the batter among prepared cups, filling each a little more than three-fourths of the way. Do not be tempted to overfill, as the cupcakes will not bake properly.
- Bake until the tops are puffed and dry to the touch (some may crack, but they will still be delicious) and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out mostly clean with some moist crumbs attached, about 15 to 20 minutes. Place the pan on a cooling rack and leave the cupcakes in the pan to cool completely. The cupcakes will start to fall almost immediately (perfect for the strawberry cream!).
- Meanwhile, prepare the whipped strawberry cream cheese frosting: In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and 3 tablespoons powdered sugar. Add the strawberries and food coloring (if desired) and beat until well blended. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream and lemon juice together until foamy. Increase the speed to medium high and slowly add the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold half of whipped cream mixture into the cream cheese mixture. Once that is combined, fold in the remaining half. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on a serving plate. Fill each sunken top with an extremely generous dollop of the strawberry cream cheese frosting and top with a slice of fresh strawberry. Dive in or refrigerate until ready to serve.
- I know the recipe yield is a bit strange, and it may vary slightly based on the size of the cups in your particular muffin tin. Either over- or underfilling the liners does not work well. Fill them to slightly above three-quarters of the way as the recipe suggests and you will be golden.
- YES, you can double recipe. In fact, you should probably go ahead and do it. You will not regret your decision. If you do double the cupcakes, I'd suggest multiplying the strawberry topping by about 1 1/2.
- Store leftover cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I recommend adding the strawberry cream cheese topping just before serving (store it separately), but you can store them already topped too.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 cupcake) — Calories: 309, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 106mg, Sodium: 141mg, Carbohydrates: 22g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 20g, Protein: 4g
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