Stracciatella is one of my favorite gelato flavors. This milk-based ice cream is packed with lots of fine chocolate shavings just waiting to melt in your mouth. It is similar to chocolate chip ice cream, but the pieces of chocolate are much finer, so you get a more even distribution and a more subtle chocolate flavor. The name stracciatella comes from the Italian word “stracciare” which translates to translates to “tear up,” which is exactly what happens to the chocolate that goes into it.
These Stracciatella Cupcakes are inspired by stracciatella gelato. The cupcakes have a fluffy vanilla base that is generously flecked with shards of finely chopped dark chocolate. There is just enough chocolate to give you a hint in each bite without overwhelming the soft vanilla flavor of the cake. The cupcakes are topped with a vanilla buttercream icing that is also swirled with finely chopped chocolate. The cupcakes aren’t as cooling as a scoop of gelato, but they’re just as indulgent.
Since these cupcakes were inspired by a gelato flavor, I actually used an ice cream scoop to apply the frosting. If you want to use this technique, make sure that your scoop has a trigger to release the frosting from the scoop (a large cookie scoop will work, as well). After the frosting is scooped on, I used the back of a spoon to give it a little swirl and sprinkled on additional chocolate shavings.
These cupcakes are excellent on the day that they are made, but they are moist enough to keep well for a day or two after they have been baked when stored in an airtight container. If you feel like experimenting, you could try sticking a frosted cupcake into the freezer and letting it set, just to capture some of the same coolness that you get from gelato.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk (pref. whole milk)
2/3 cup finely chopped dark chocolate (about 3-4 oz)
1 batch Stracciatella Buttercream Frosting (recipe below)
additional chocolate shavings, for topping
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract until well-combined. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in the remaining half of the flour mixture, mixing just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain visible. Fold in finely chopped dark chocolate. Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.
Take the cupcakes out of the pan and place them on a wire rack. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
To frost, use an ice cream scoop to dollop on a scoop of frosting. Use the back of a small spoon to make a swirl in the top of the frosting. Sprinkle on additional chocolate shavings.
Stracciatella Buttercream Frosting
1 cup butter, room temperature
3 tbsp milk
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 – 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, or more as needed
1/2 – 2/3 cup finely chopped dark chocolate (about 3 oz)
Combine butter, milk, vanilla and 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl and mix until frosting comes together and is thick, smooth and spreadable. Stir in finely chopped chocolate. If frosting is too runny, gradually add in additional confectioners’ sugar until frosting becomes thick and is easy to spread.
Makes enough for 12 generously frosted cupcakes or one 8-inch layer cake.