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Double chocolate cupcakes for grown-ups

Posted in Food & Entertaining

chocolate cupcakesI have a strong antipathy towards cupcakes, for no other reason that they became so popular and I never quite understood why. A cupcake is just a piece of cake baked in a cup with frosting on top. Like cakes, they come in all sorts of flavors and decorations and colors. And, since the cupcake craze started, ridiculous looking and ridiculous tasting options have proliferated.

I find a slice of cake, or an individual tart, much more elegant and satisfying but, clearly, I am in a small minority. Mostly, I object to the high-robbery prices baking shops can command for such quick work. True, I also benefit from the inflation, with my profit margin much higher on a cupcake than on a pie, which requires twice the work.

I don’t remember the last time I purchased a cupcake for myself but this weekend I was reminded of the “perfect” chocolate cupcake I make now and then. While baking for a school graduation, I used my light chocolate cake recipe as a base which I topped it with a chocolate buttercream frosting But, at home, my frosting of choice is a silky ganache, maybe infused with some cognac or bourbon. Not your kiddies’ cupcake by any stretch of the imagination.

And, of course, baking this as a whole cake is clearly an option.

How to frost a cupcake with ganache - from Martha Stewart
How to frost a cupcake with ganache – from Martha Stewart

RECIPE – Adapted from The Essence of Chocolate by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg – Yields 12 cupcakes

1 C AP Flour (128 g)
3/4 C Sugar (150 g)
1/2 C Cocoa Powder, unsweetened
5 oz Butter, room temperature (142 g)
1/2 ts Baking soda
1/4 ts Baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 Egg
3/4 C Milk (180 ml)

For the ganache

8 oz Semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped (227 g)
1 C Cream (235 ml)
1 T Cognac or bourbon

  • Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg and mix well.
  • Combine the dries (sift the cocoa powder if lumpy) and, on low-speed, alternate adding dries and milk in three additions. Mix thoroughly making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula.
  • Line a muffin pan with paper liners and fill them 2/3 of the way.
  • Bake at 350F/180C for 20 minutes or until they spring back when pressed in the center.
  • In the meantime, make the ganache by heating the cream in a small saucepan on medium heat. Do not let it boil.
  • Pour it over the chopped chocolate, wait a couple of minutes and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and looks glossy. Add the liquor. Let cool for two hours until thick enough to spread or place in the refrigerator, stirring every so often to make sure the edges don’t harden faster than the center.
  • Spread over the cupcakes and enjoy.

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12 Comments

  1. The only satisfying thing about a cupcake is its psychological effect of being a “bite-size cake.” I tend to be one of those who eats the frosting with a bit of the cupcake and leave the rest… Your version however, sounds lovely! I’ve been chocolate-free for a week today and this really made me crave some…

    June 2, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      I don’t know about the UK, but here in the US there is nothing bite size about the size of cupcakes. In fact, they have now morphed into giant muffins!

      June 3, 2016
      |Reply
  2. Love the addition of cognac in the ganache.

    June 2, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      When in doubt, add booze.

      June 3, 2016
      |Reply
  3. I’m with you on not getting why cupcakes have become so popular. Especially the ones where the decoration is more important than how they taste (usually with a dry crumb and with too much overly sweet frosting/decoration). I’ll take your grown up version any day!

    June 2, 2016
    |Reply
    • Yes, I agree! It’s very disappointing when cupcakes taste nowhere near as good as they look. Such a waste of money.

      June 2, 2016
      |Reply
      • camparigirl
        camparigirl

        Especially considering the pretty penny they charge!

        June 3, 2016
        |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      And did we mention food coloring and its metallic after taste?

      June 3, 2016
      |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Anything with ganache tastes better.

      June 3, 2016
      |Reply
  4. I read the recipe and I have the all the liquid ingredients but ‘1 CAP Flour’ stopped me. I googled it and found a flour factory in India of that name but then I peered again at the recipe and discerned the barely discernable gap twixt C & A and there are further clues in the succeeding lines where C stands alone and even I know that means Cup. Then googling AP of course gave me All Purpose Flour and so I could make the attempt; but not today. Following Jamie Oliver today for a winter venison dish and I had better start dicing the meat now as it is a two or three three hour simmer

    June 2, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Sorry for confusing you Winston. Just old all purpose flour. And how did the venison come out?

      June 3, 2016
      |Reply

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