March 29, 2016

Ultimate Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

You might notice that this is the very first cupcake recipe on this blog. Ever. In 5 years. That's because I'm not a huge fan of cupcakes, to be perfectly honest. They're just too sweet for me! But this is not just any cupcake. Noooo, this is THE most chocolate-y cupcake I've ever encountered. This cupcake is so amazingly delicious that it even earned itself a nickname and a cute backstory. We call these babies "Chocolate Puppies". Why? Well, my Mom used to be THE resident treat-maker for my Dad's office. Considering this office changed every three years, thanks to the US Air Force, that was quite a badge of honor. Certain cookies and breads of her making became famous across multiple Air Force bases! So one day she hauled a few dozen dozen of these cupcakes to the office and one of the captains, a fellow chocolate fanatic, was so enraptured with them that after his first bite, he was going on and on about how good it was. He was cradling it by his face and my mom said, "Terry, get a hold of yourself! You're holding that thing like it's a puppy or something!!" Thus the nickname Chocolate Puppies was born. I actually posted them forever ago, but the pictures are simply atrocious, plus I tweaked them (of course!).

Ultimate Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
Printable Recipe
Makes 12 Cupcakes
*High-altitude adjustments in italics*

Ganache Filling:
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tb powdered sugar
pinch of salt

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup hot coffee (REALLY hot)
3/4 cup bread flour (plus 1 Tb)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (minus 1 Tb)
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
6 Tb vegetable, sunflower, or coconut oil
2 large eggs (3 eggs)
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 batch chocolate buttercream

For the ganache: Place chocolate, cream, and powdered sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth; transfer bowl to refrigerator and chill, no longer than 30 minutes.

For the cupcakes: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 (365) degrees. Line a muffin pan and set aside. Place chocolate and cocoa in a large bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in separate bowl and set aside. Your chocolate mixture doesn't need to be cold, just cooled so it won't cook the eggs when you add them!

When your chocolate mixture is cool, whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups (cups should be about 3/4 full). Place one rounded teaspoon ganache filling on top of each cupcake. (Don't worry, it will sink while it bakes)
Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack about 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool to room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.

Chocolate Buttercream:

10 Tb butter, softened (I prefer salted!)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl or the bowl of your mixer, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar and salt; beat slowly until most of the sugar is mixed in, so it doesn't poof all over you. Scrape down bowl, add vanilla, and beat at medium speed until smooth, then reduce speed to low and gradually beat in chocolate. Increase speed and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl once or twice.
I don't know about you, but baking ANYTHING in a muffin pan, especially cupcakes, at high altitude, is a little stressful. Okay, okay, MORE than a little stressful. Those domes!! Flat muffins and deflated cupcakes are so sad!! But these beautiful little cupcakes came out of the oven with PERFECT little domes. I literally danced with joy!
Part of the reason I don't like cupcakes is the pile of super-sweet frosting. BUT. This frosting is so chocolatey, so buttery, so silky, I can't stop licking it off the spoons, bowls, table, my arm... Yeah, first time frosting cupcakes, it was all over the kitchen. And dining room. Anyway! The Geologist loves it cold, because it basically becomes a truffle. Truffle frosting. Seriously.
Do you SEE that little pocket of ganache?! Perfect, rich, velvety ganache? Yeah, you might be tempted to skip that extra step, but trust me, it's so worth it.
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes. The end. Go forth and bake!! :)


  1. those are making me hungry! look so yummy!

  2. Nice pupcakes and nice to see a post from you! xo

  3. Hi April, oh my, this would be a great contribution to Food on Friday: Muffins & Cupcakes over at Carole's Chatter. Please do bring it over to join in the fun. Cheers


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