Rich, creamy white chocolate cups get a punch of any color you like. Fill them with fluffy mousse and they’re perfect for a party (or any lovely spring day).
These are not cupcakes.
I know they look like cupcakes. That puffy white frosting, that colorful cupcake paper…they’re obviously cupcakes, right?
These are not cupcakes.
They may be such convincing cupcake-body-doubles that Ross pulled them out of the fridge and asked me, “When did you make cupcakes?” “I didn’t.” And in spite of my denial, he waved them around and insisted, confidently, “Then what are these?” — not in a curious tone, but in a you-clearly-forgot-you-baked-cupcakes tone.
Nope. Not cupcakes. They are just as pretty and just as delicious, but there are a couple crucial differences.
#1 – That thing that looks like a paper cupcake liner? Pure chocolate. OH YES.
#2 – That “frosting”? Light and fluffy chocolate mousse. And it actually fills up the entire chocolate cup. OH YES. The whole cup. This entire baby is edible from top to bottom — and boy did I enjoy eating it.
These goodies were inspired by the amazing spring weather we’ve been getting in Houston. Is it technically winter? Yes. But much like these mousse cups, appearance and reality don’t always coincide. When it’s 80 degrees and my azaleas are starting to bloom and the lime tree is going nuts and the sky is that absolutely perfect shade of blue, well, I’m ready for some spring desserts. Especially when I can make them in spring hues. (I’m a sucker for color coordinating my food.)
These are so easy to make and perfect for Easter or any other spring holiday. The base is simply white chocolate, melted, and mixed with your food coloring of choice. Did you buy those little food coloring bottles to dye eggs this year? Don’t let them languish 3/4 full! Use another few drops for these cups. (And let them languish 5/8 full. I only have so many ideas as to how to use food coloring.) Place a few cupcake liners in a muffin tin for stability, and layer the inside of the liners with your lovely chocolate. I found the back of a spoon was the easiest way to get good coverage – just use it to spread the chocolate over the sides and bottom of the liner. A pastry brush, although it sounds more practical, was actually trickier for me. When coated, freeze the liners for a few minutes, add a second coat, and continue freezing until solid. Then just peel off the liners, and voila! A solid chocolate cup that looks adorable and tastes even better. You can keep them frozen until ready to fill with mousse. Have I mentioned I love make-ahead desserts?
The mousse is likewise easy, but I’ll warn you, it takes a number of bowls. You might trade dessert with your friends and family in exchange for dishwashing duties. If you can live with that caveat, you’ll sail through the rest of the prep. Melt chocolate, then combine with egg yolks, followed by whipping cream, followed by egg whites. Boom. Done.
You can fill the chocolate cups with mousse at this point and refrigerate until ready to serve. You can also refrigerate the mousse separately and keep the cups in the freezer. Either method will work just fine – go with whatever your space allows.
These cups are perfect to decorate with fresh fruit, chocolate curls, sprinkles….pretty much anything your heart desires. Personally I love lemon with white chocolate, so I have to go with a pinch of zest and a squeeze of lemon juice. Plan on garnishing right before serving, or else your toppings will slowly sink into the mousse. It’s like the world’s most desirable quicksand. (I would happily get stuck in this mousse any day. Please don’t call for help. I’d much rather eat my way out.)
Can I also just say that I’m dying to host my next theme party so I can color-coordinate my desserts? Baby shower! Yes! Birthday! Yes! Election day! Sure! Anything! Any color! Your guests will oooh and ahhhh and shove their mouths full. (Warning – best to eat these with a fork to break up the chocolate cups – taking a big bite just gets mousse all over your nose.) These would also be super fun in mini form – just use mini cupcake liners instead of full sized to create your cups.
Are these cupcakes? Nope. But they’re awesome. Happy spring, y’all!
Mousse adapted from Nordstrom Family Table Cookbook.
- 16 oz. good quality white chocolate
- Food coloring in the color of your preference
- 8 cupcake liners - I recommend aluminum over paper, but either will work
- 1¼ cups heavy cream, divided
- 8 ounces high-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 40 seconds and stir. Then continue microwaving in 20 second increments, stirring in between, until melted.
- If you're making the cups all one color, add 4-6 drops of food coloring to the bowl and stir.
- If you're using several colors, separate the chocolate into smaller bowls and add a couple drops of food coloring to each. Adjust until you get the color as dark as you want.
- Place cupcake liners in a muffin tin. Using the back of a spoon, spread the chocolate on the inside of the liners, covering the bottom and sides. Place in freezer for about 15 minutes.
- Add a second coat of chocolate, just enough so there are no gaps in the liner. Freeze again for about an hour.
- When cups are frozen solid, carefully peel off the liner and discard. Freeze until ready to serve.
- Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and fill it with just enough water to cover the bottom. Bring to a gentle simmer.
- Place a heatproof bowl over the pot - don't let it touch the water. Add ¼ cup cream and the white chocolate to the heatproof bowl. Turn off the heat and stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the stove and allow to cool slightly.
- Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk until slightly thickened and pale yellow. Whisk in the chocolate mixture. Carefully place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. Set aside and stir occasionally.
- Add the remaining one cup of cream to a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high (or beat in the bowl of a stand mixer on high with whisk attachment). Beat until it holds stiff peaks. Spoon a large scoop of whipping cream into the egg yolk mixture and gently stir. Add remaining whipping cream and fold in.
- In another clean medium bowl (I know- it's a lot of bowls), beat the four egg whites with clean beaters. When you have soft peaks, add the confectioners' sugar. Continue beating until the peaks become stiff. Once again, spoon a large scoop of egg whites into the whipping cream/yolk mixture and stir. Fold in the rest of the whites gently.
- Divide into your chocolate cups and refrigerate until ready to use, if you're planning to serve within a few hours (otherwise the cups may begin to soften and the color may bleed). Alternately, store in a covered container and spoon into chocolate cups before serving.
- Garnish with toppings of your choice right before serving.