- 2 ½ ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
- ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons cake flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons (¾ stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 24 strawberries
- Green frosting
- White and red ball decorations, yellow stars, white sprinkles.
1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Line 2 mini muffin pans with paper cupcake liners.
2. Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. (if you don’t have a double boiler, use a wide stainless-steel bowl that fits snugly over a saucepan one third full of water.) The water should be hot but not boiling. Stir the chocolate every minute or so until its melted, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt onto a piece of wax paper; set aside.
4. Place the butter and the sugar in a large bowl and, using a hand mixer, thoroughly cream together until light and fluffy. Crack the eggs one at a time into a small bowl to prevent any shell form getting into the sugar mixture, beat lightly, then gradually add to the sugar mixture, beating well after each addition. Add the cooled chocolate and blend thoroughly. Add the sifted dry ingredients a little at a time, beating at medium speed after each addition. After adding the last of the flour mixture, beat until smooth. Stir in the nuts and vanilla extract.
5. Spoon the batter into the mini muffin cups and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely before icing.
7. To decorate, cut the green tops off of the strawberries, and adhere one to each mini cupcake with a dab of frosting. Using a piping bag, or small offset spatula, cover the entire strawberry with frosting. If using a piping bag, with a star tip, pull away from the strawberry with the frosting to create the points of the tree. Decorate with red and white balls, stars, or white sprinkles.