July 4, 2012

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling

aka Chocolate Puppies

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!! Talk about independence and freedom, I'm out of the hospital!! Just for a few days though, we finally have a surgery date, on Tuesday. Until then I get to be at home, hooray!! To celebrate this wonderful holiday, I am posting a recipe that we have dubbed, "Chocolate Puppies". They are the richest, deepest, darkest, most chocolate-y chocolate cupcakes you can possibly imagine. How did they get such an odd name, you may ask?? Well, the first time my Mom made these, she took them to an office party with my dad, and one of the guests said "Wow...it's like biting into a warm, chocolate... PUPPY!!" So of course, we just had to hang on to that. Like the Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, this is a bit time-consuming, (from Cooks Illustrated, darn them!!) but Stephen made them for the first time and would like to say that it isn't HARD, just a lot of melting, whisking, and waiting for things to cool. So don't be intimidated! Just log this one away in your recipe box for a special occasion. It's worth it. Our special occasion is my hubby's birthday on Friday!! What with all the drama lately, he decided to skip his birthday this year, but demanded these cupcakes. Unfortunately he had to make them himself... but Mom helped!
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling (original recipe)

Use a high quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate for this recipe, such as one of the test kitchen's favorite baking chocolates, Callebaut Intense Dark Chocolate L-60-40NV or Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar. Though we highly recommend the ganache filling, you can omit it for a more traditional cupcake. The cupcakes can be made up to 24 hours in advance and stored unfrosted in an airtight container.


  • Ganache Filling  
  • 2ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (see note)
  • 1/4cup heavy cream
  • 1tablespoon confectioners' sugar
  • Chocolate Cupcakes  
  • 3ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (see note)
  • 1/3cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 3/4cup hot coffee
  • 3/4cup (4 1/8 ounces) bread flour
  • 3/4cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2teaspoon baking soda
  • 6tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2large eggs
  • 2teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1recipe Frosting


  1. 1. FOR GANACHE FILLING: Place chocolate, cream, and confectioners’ sugar in medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave on high power until mixture is warm to touch, 20 to 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth; transfer bowl to refrigerator and let stand until just chilled, no longer than 30 minutes.
    2. FOR CUPCAKES: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin pan (cups have ½-cup capacity) with baking-cup liners. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium 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 medium bowl; set aside.
  2. 3. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

    4. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon ganache filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.
  3. Chocolate Buttercream

    • 10tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    • 1cups confectioners' sugar
    • Pinch table salt
    • 4ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
    • 1/2teaspoon vanilla extract


    1. In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners' sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds, then reduce speed to low and gradually beat in chocolate. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.
      Ack, I'm sorry the frosting looks so....AWKWARD!!! I wasn't there to supervise!!! But it's okay, they taste fantastic regardless. 
      The moist cupcake is deep, dark, barely bitter from that coffee, the ganache center is thick and rich and glossy...and the frosting really IS creamy and actually very light, the perfect compliment to the decadence of the ganache. Its the best chocolate frosting I've ever had. Stephen likes these cold, he says the frosting is JUST like a really good truffle when chilled. :) These are GROWN-UP cupcakes!!
      Hee hee, it's MY favorite chocolate puppy!! Actually, I guess she's more of a black licorice puppy... but isn't she SWEET either way??
      Happy 4th, Enjoy the fireworks, I shall enjoy my FREEDOM! :)


  1. I now know EXACTLY what I am having for my birthday dessert! Can't wait to forward this post to Chef Jeff with my very best pleading look and beg him keep me from eating all of them before my guests arrive.

    Seriously. These? Decadent beyond words. Must. Have.

    And for the first time in my life, I am having an actual birthday party this year. Knock down, drag out, real live PAR-TAY.

    Yeah, it's gonna be at a laser tag/bumper cars indoor park in North Pole. For realz. If your mom happens to be in Alaska in mid-October, she is on the short list (and I call her for my laser tag team).

  2. I'll let her know. You should DEFINITELY have these, they are decadent beyond words. No chocolate cake will ever be good enough ever again. :) Tell you what, give me a heads-up a few days before your birthday and I will post my VERY close second best chocolate recipe in your honor!!

  3. Consider it done! :)

  4. Sorry, but the real story is just a tweak different: I was bringing in a treat for my husband's office, and one of the captains: a blue-blood, Harvard grad --one of those evolved, yet entitled types-- bit into the cupcake, and he was in raptures... seriously, it was a little awkward, the oohs and ahhs he was making.. but he was CRADLING the cupcake up close to his face, and to dissipate the adoring, I was inspired, and said "Get ahold of yourself, you're holding that thing like it was a puppy!"... he wasn't eating it like you'd actually chew a puppy, he was holding it close to his face with two hands, and fawning... you see....


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