Piping tips (recommended: Wilton 2D and Wilton 10)
For the Cupcakes
⅓cupDutch-processed cocoa powdersifted
¼cup+ 2 Tbsp half-and-half
9Tbspunsalted butterroom temperature
2large eggsroom temperature
For the Frosting
1cupunsalted butterroom temperature
4 ½cupsconfectioners sugarplus more as needed
12large California strawberries
Preheat oven to 350℉. Place oven shelf on the center rack. Line a standard cupcake pan with liners and spray lightly with baking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sifted cocoa powder. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the half-and-half and vanilla.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes until light and creamy (start with a lower speed and work up to high to avoid splatter). Scrape down the side of the bowl with a spatula, then add the eggs on low speed, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple times until completely incorporated.
On medium-low speed, swiftly alternate between adding the dry and wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients, until everything is just combined. Give the sides of the bowl one more scrape, all the way to the bottom.
Evenly distribute the cupcake batter between the liners, no more than halfway full. There may be a little remaining batter.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the center of a cupcake comes out clean with a toothpick. Cool completely before removing from the pan.
Prepare the Frosting
With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a handheld electric mixer), whip the butter on medium speed until light and creamy, 2-3 minutes.
Add the confectioners sugar, half-and-half and vanilla. Mix on low speed for 1 minute, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 2-4 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
If the frosting is too thin, add some additional sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. Or, if it’s too thick, add additional half-and-half, 2 tablespoons at a time.
Assemble the Cupcakes
Slice the stem ends from the strawberries, creating a flat surface.
With a star piping tip (recommended: Wilton 2D tip), frost the cupcakes in a circular motion from the outside to the center. Don’t add height; aim for a flat, single layer of frosting.
Top each cupcake with a strawberry in the middle, flat-side down.
Pipe a small amount of frosting onto the tip of each strawberry (recommended: Wilton 10 tip).
Cupcakes are best served at room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy within a few days.
Whole milk or heavy cream can be substituted for the half-and-half in the vanilla buttercream.
Santa Hat Cupcakes | https://www.californiastrawberries.com/santa-hat-cupcakes/