Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
Well, that was a fun weekend to be a Michigan football fan. No doubt bolstered by their recent Photoshop Phriday profiles, Amara Darboh and De’Veon Smith had great games as Michigan rolled to a 31-0 win over BYU. The Michigan defense continued to impress and held BYU to under 100 yards until their final drive. And, the person I sold my extra ticket to never showed up (or at least not next to me) so I had some extra room.
What could have made it a better afternoon? Having one of these cupcakes waiting for me when I got home. These cupcakes really work for the right to be called ‘ultimate’. They have cocoa powder and melted chocolate in the batter, chocolate buttercream on top, and in case that wasn’t enough there is chocolate ganache in the middle.
I made these cupcakes earlier in the month for my wife’s birthday. She first heard about them while listening to the America’s Test Kitchen podcast and promptly informed me this is what I would be making for her this year.
I was relieved as I began to make these to find that they were not nearly as much work as I envisioned when I first heard about them. But then again, as birthday desserts go, I’ve gone to much greater lengths. In the above picture you can see some of the ganache peeking out. All I had to do was drop spoonfuls of refrigerated ganache into the center of the batter before baking; the ganache settled towards the middle as the cupcakes baked and stayed smooth and creamy when finished.
These cupcakes also gave me a chance to use the piping tips that I bought when I made eclairs earlier in the year. There was quite a bit of icing left over after I had frosted all of the cupcakes so you can be generous when finishing them. It would have been dangerous to have the leftover sitting in our fridge so we gave it to some of our party guests. No need to wait for a special occasion to make these, enjoy!
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon confectioners' (powdered) sugar
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine (see note)
- ⅓ cup (1 ounce) unsweetened cocoa
- ¾ cup hot coffee
- ¾ cup bread flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), cut into pieces and softened
- 1½ tablespoons heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 1½ cups confectioners' sugar
- 11/2 tablespoons cocoa
- 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. (Do not chill for longer than 30 minutes. The ganache gets too hard and sinks to the bottom of the cupcake during baking. 15-20 minutes should be long enough.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard-size muffin pan 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.
- 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. 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.
- In an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter, cream, vanilla, and salt on medium-high speed until combined.
- Reduce mixer speed to medium-low. With motor running, slowly add confectioners' sugar, and cocoa and mix until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and beat frosting until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Mound 2 to 3 tablespoons frosting on center of each cupcake. Using small icing spatula or butter knife, spread frosting to edge of cupcake, leaving slight mound in center.