April 8, 2011

It begins with chocolate...

I realize I am by no means alone when I say I love chocolate.  But I do love chocolate and I want to make that statement right up front because there will be a lot of posts involving chocolate.  I have a picture of myself at around five years-old holding a bar of Toblerone at the airport and to this day, it's still one of my favorites but I've since added lots of other chocolate treats to that list.  And not only do I love chocolate but my husband and son do too and that means many chocolate baked treats come out of our oven. 

Today I had the urge to make some chocolate cupcakes.  Everyone loves an individual chocolate cake - they're cute, they're portable, they're all yours.  And to pair off the very chocolaty cupcakes, I used an equally chocolaty ganache frosting.  I'm going all out here. 

Just put it on a plate and I'm ready to eat...

First things first, I had to pick a base chocolate cupcake recipe.  I've tried a few in the past that have worked very well and, frankly, since I think the star of the show here is the ganache frosting, I'm not overly concerned about the cake.  That is not to say the cake itself is not important.  It needs to be moist and chocolaty to deliver that double whammy that I'm looking for.  I've just finished reading Molly Wizenberg's book, A Homemade Life, where I found a chocolate cupcake recipe I really wanted to try out.  There were many delicious recipes in her book and I'm looking forward to trying a few more of them out.

The chocolate flavor in the batter is amped up by the addition of cocoa powder as well as half a cup of coffee to an ounce of chocolate.  I've learned that coffee is the secret ingredient to getting a really deep chocolate flavor. You can't taste any coffee in the finished product.

Yogurt and canola oil help make the cupcakes super moist. 

  I wanted to dig my spoon right into the thick, pudding-like batter.

When baked, they came out just as promised.  Tender, moist and with a deep chocolate flavor.  Stand by if young children will be eating this because it can get messy given how moist the cupcakes are.  I know because I have a five year-old.

To start on the ultra-decadent ganache (a combination of chocolate and cream), I started heating some heavy cream with a few teaspoons of corn syrup.

Poured over some bittersweet chocolate, the chocolate begins to melt and blends together into a shiny chocolate syrup.

After chilling in the refrigerator and stirring every five minutes or so for a little over half an hour, the mixture has turned into a thick chocolate ganache that's ready to be topped on our cooled cupcakes.  This process is a bit time consuming but oh so worth it.  Frost the cupcakes quickly because the ganache hardens pretty fast.  Frosting cupcakes is the really fun part! 

My son gave the cupcakes two-thumbs up.  And my husband loved them but I'll warn you that my husband loves everything I make.  If you're looking for a serious chocolate jolt, these are right up your alley.

The recipes:

This recipe comes from Molly Wizenberg's book, A Homemade Life I enjoy visiting Molly's blog, OrangetteYou can find the recipe for these cupcakes here; instead of making a cake, divide the batter into 12 standard muffin tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. 

The recipe for the chocolate ganache frosting comes from Martha Stewart and can be found here.  (I use many of Martha's recipes - thank you, Martha!)  One modification I did make was to add a modest, 1/4 teaspoon of espresso powder to the chocolate.  This is optional but the addition of the espresso powder heightens the chocolate flavor without adding any taste of coffee.  I made 1/3 of this recipe, which was enough to frost twelve cupcakes.

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