Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling

My husband’s birthday is always celebrated with a big chocolate cake.  This year though I convinced him that cupcakes would be even better – I am not sure how I managed that one, but I did.  I saw this chocolate cupcake recipe in Cook’s Illustrated that looked so amazing, I just had to make them.  They were filled cupcakes, and filled with ganache – but the best thing about this recipe is that all you did was put a dollop of ganache on top of the cupcake batter, and magically the batter bakes around it – forming a filling. Well, I just had to give it a try – and use my husband’s birthday as the excuse.

I have to say, this ganache was something else – I wanted to just eat it plain…it was so rich and creamy – and incredibly smooth – it just melted in your mouth immediately.  I was getting very excited to try the finished product.  Ok, my husband likes his food, but he does have a discerning palate – he doesn’t just settle for anything.  He took and bite and told me they were the best cupcakes he has ever eaten in his life.  From him, that is huge.  We have had some pretty incredible cupcakes in our lives – but these were just ridiculously moist – the ganache didn’t stay in one piece, it basically melted all over the center of the cake to make an even more intense moist chocolately center.  Oh my.  The frosting was pretty incredible as well – not too sweet, but nice and rich – and oh so smooth.

Well, at least I beat last year, but how am I going to top this one?

Ingredients

Ganache Filling:

  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa
  • ¾ cup hot coffee
  • ¾ cup (4 1/8 ounces) bread flour
  • ¾ cup (5¼ ounces) 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

Frosting:

  • 1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Pinch table salt
  • 12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

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.

Chocolate Cupcakes:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized 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.

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.

Frosting:

Combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in bowl of stand mixer; place bowl over pan of simmering water. Whisking gently but constantly, heat mixture until slightly thickened, foamy, and registers 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 2 to 3 minutes.

Place bowl in stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat mixture on medium speed until consistency of shaving cream and slightly cooled, 1 to 2 minutes. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy. (Frosting may look curdled after half of butter has been added; it will smooth with additional butter.) Once all butter is added, add cooled melted chocolate and vanilla; mix until combined. Increase
speed to medium-high and beat until light, fluffy, and thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds, scraping beater and sides of bowl with rubber spatula as necessary.

To frost, 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.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling

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