July 11, 2011

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

A hobby of mine is looking at recipes online, in magazines, and of course cookbooks.  Sometimes I even mark the really good looking recipes with post it flags, but I usually end up with more pages that have flags than those that do not.  :)  I have been eying this cupcake recipe from Cooks Illustrated for quite awhile and I finally found a good reason to make it.  I made these cupcakes for a small neighborhood get together.  They were a huge hit!

These cupcakes are very rich, even without the ganache filling.  The cupcakes have bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, and coffee in them.  These are not for your average, ho hum, chocolate fan, you need to be an "ultimate" chocolate fan.  Don't get me wrong, these are delicious cupcakes, but one at a time is enough for me.  I would like to make these again with the ganache filling, just to see the triple chocolate threat from the ganache, chocolate cake, and chocolate frosting.

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling

Ganache Filling - 

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine*
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

Chocolate Cupcakes -

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 ounce) bread flour
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounce) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ganache Filling - Place chocolate, cream, and confectioner's sugar in a 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.

Cupcakes - Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.  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 the 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. 

Yield - 12 Cupcakes

*Use a high quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate for this recipe.  The ganache filling is highly recommended, but can be omitted for a more traditional cupcake.  The cupcakes can be made up to 24 hours in advance and stored unfrosted in an airtight container.   

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

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 an instant-read thermometer, 2-3 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.

Yield - About 2 1/4 cups

*Cool the chocolate to between 85 and 100 degrees before adding it to the frosting.  If the frosting seems to soft after adding the chocolate, chill it briefly in the refrigerator and then rewhip it until creamy.  The frosting can be made up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.  When ready to frost, place frosting in a microwave-safe container and warm briefly on high power until just slightly softened, 5 to 10 seconds.  Once warmed, stir until creamy. 

Hat Tip - Cook's Illustrated

1 comment:

  1. Heather,
    The cupcake recipe looks great. I am going to try baking them soon.