Valentine's Day

Neapolitan Bonbon Cupcakes Recipe

Fancy chocolates make a festive topping for these Neapolitan cupcakes. For an extra-special gift, use your sweetheart's favorite variety to finish off these treats.

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Ingredients

For the chocolate cupcakes:
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons hot water
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons canola or other vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the vanilla and strawberry frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar, the finest you can find (usually 10 x)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
few drops of liquid red food coloring
strawberry flavoring or strawberry extract, to taste
milk or heavy cream, optional
9 or 10 assorted filled bonbon-type chocolates

Directions

For the chocolate cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line muffin tin with cupcake papers. Set aside.
3. Sift together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
4. Add eggs, water, heavy cream, oil and vanilla. Mix with a hand-held mixer until smooth.
5. Divide batter among cupcake papers, filling each 3/4 full.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool before frosting (Image 1).

For the frostings:
1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners' sugar.
2. Begin mixing on low speed until crumbly, then increase to high and beat for 3 minutes.
3. Add vanilla extract and beat again for another minute until light and fluffy. Note: If you find the buttercream is too stiff, you may add milk or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is spreading consistency.
4. Transfer 1/3 of the vanilla frosting to a piping bag fitted with flower decorating tip.
5. Beat the remaining frosting on medium speed, adding the red food coloring in a little at a time until the desired pink color intensity is achieved.
6. Add strawberry extract or strawberry flavoring oil.
7. Transfer pink icing to a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip (Image 2).
8. Pipe small stars of icing around the outside edge of the cupcakes with the white vanilla frosting (Image 3).
9. Pipe a large swirl of pink frosting in the middle of the cupcake, making two passes with the piping bag (Image 4).
10. Top each cupcake with a chocolate bonbon (Image 5).

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