Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
I have got to stop baking such yummy desserts. Really, I do. Maybe I need another coffee cake disaster to curb my enthusiasm (hopefully not, actually, because that was really unfortunate).
Last week it was my boss’s birthday and I asked him which he liked more: chocolate-based desserts or fruit-based desserts. His response was “chocolate, definitely chocolate,” and that gave me the perfect excuse to give these cupcakes a shot. They are so decadent and rich, it’s good to have a reason to make them and give them to other people. Part of what makes them so perfectly yummy is this:
Many brownie recipes call for some instant coffee granules or the like, but never have I seen a recipe that calls for a whopping 3/4 cup of hot coffee (besides tiramisu, of course). And here’s the interesting part: you can’t even taste the coffee in the cupcakes! Although maybe that’s because the chocolate overwhelms just about everything else. Anywho, I don’t have a coffee maker, so I always use espresso when I need to add coffee. I was liberally pouring the espresso on the chocolate and cocoa when I realized I’d neglected to measure how much I was actually pouring on. Oops. I poured what was left into a little cup, poured water into the top of the espresso maker to the level that the espresso usually reaches when it’s finished and then measured how much water I’d poured in (I hope that made sense). Luckily it was exactly 3/4 cup!
The other thing that makes these cupcakes so absurdly tasty is the dollop of chocolate ganache that you add on top of each cupcake before baking. The ganache sinks to the middle of the cupcake while it bakes, and then when you bite into it there’s a mound of ganache in the middle of the cupcake. Incredible. And the chocolate frosting is the best I’ve ever had. I’m usually a “melted chocolate + powdered sugar + butter = awesome frosting” kind of person, but I’ve been converted. This frosting was a bit more labor-intensive and tricky (whisking eggs whites in a double boiler until they reach 150 degrees? Huh?), but it was so worth it.
If you’re looking to make chocolate cupcakes that will knock any chocolate-lover’s socks off, these are definitely the way to go!
Ultimate Chocoalte Cupcakes
(Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
Supposedly this recipe makes 12 cupcakes, but I got 14 perfect cupcakes. If I’d gone for 12 they would have all over-flowed. If you opt to use the frosting recipe below (which you should) beat the egg white mixture after you take it off the double-broiler longer than you think you might need to so that it’s not hot when you add in the butter. Otherwise the butter melts and your frosting will be runny. Even if this does happen, not to worry because you can put it in the fridge and it will harden up a little.
|2||ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine|
|1/4||cup heavy cream|
|1||tablespoon confectioners’ sugar|
|3||ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine|
|1/3||cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa|
|3/4||cup hot coffee|
|3/4||cup (4 1/8 ounces) bread flour|
|3/4||cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar|
|1/2||teaspoon table salt|
|1/2||teaspoon baking soda|
|6||tablespoons vegetable oil|
|2||teaspoons white vinegar|
|1||teaspoon vanilla extract|
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.
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.
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.
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
|1/3||cup (2 1/3 ounces) granulated sugar|
|2||large egg whites|
|Pinch table salt|
|12||tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter , softened and cut into 1-tablespoon pieces|
|6||ounces bittersweet chocolate , melted and cooled|
|1/2||teaspoon vanilla extract|
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.