Delightfully decadent, that’s how I would describe those cute little christmas tree cupcakes. There is a lot going on here: let’s start from the chocolate cupcakes. I added zucchini (yes, zucchini, the vegetable!!) to the mix so that the taste is more delicate and the texture nice and moist. I was really happy about this addition and nobody could guess the secret ingredient once baked. My family couldn’t believe they were eating zucchini cupcakes without even tasting zucchini 😉
Chocolate and strawberries are a very well known match and they work very well in this recipe too. We really liked the freshness of the strawberries in contrast with the dark chocolate deep taste. Finally, the buttercream frosting was a perfect addition to the overall flavor: creamy and smooth texture with sweet, but not too sweet thanks to the lemon, taste.
This is all you need to prepare 32 mini tree cupcakes:
How to proceed:
– Start finely grating the zucchini. Place them in a colander and let the extra liquid drain for 5 minutes
– Meanwhile place all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl: the flour, the cane sugar, the cocoa powder, the baking powder and the pinch of salt. Mix and set it apart.
– In another medium bowl add all the wet ingredients: eggs, canola oil, yogurt and vanilla extract. Stir with a whisk or a fork. Slowly add the dry ingredients.
– Add the zucchini to the mix. If you see that they are still a bit watery, squeeze them with your hands to remove the extra liquid before adding them. Mix.
– Add the chocolate chips.
– Prepare a mini cupcake pan with all the liners. Fill them to 3/4 and bake them in a preheated oven at 350 F. for 30 minutes. Let them cool down.
– While the cupcakes are cooking you have time to prepare the frosting. It is very important that both the butter and the cream cheese are at room temperature if not even a bit warm. Place butter and cream cheese in a kitchen mixer and let it work at high speed for 5 minutes. You want to obtain a white shiny cream.
– Add the lemon juice. It will help the frosting not to be over sweet.
– Sift the powdered sugar and slowly add it to the creamy mix at low speed.
– Add the green food coloring. I added a full gel stick. If you want a deeper green, add a bit more.
– wash the strawberries and pat them dry or let them dry out very well otherwise the frosting will not stick to them nicely.
– Using a pastry chef bag squeeze a teaspoon of frosting in the center of one cupcake and place one strawberry nicely on top.
– Using the pastry chef bag you can start decorating the strawberry like a tree. I decided to go for tiny peaks, one next to the other.
– Final touch: some sugar decorations all around and a nice yellow sugar star on top.