Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling and Creamy Chocolate Frosting

My nephew turned two months old on Monday! I got to spend the afternoon with him and my older sister at Mosaïcultures. The horticultural works of art at the botanical garden are incredible. If you are in Montreal at the moment, you definitely should make time to see it. Back in July, my sister and her husband welcomed baby Maximilian, making me a first-time aunt. For her first doctor’s appointment after giving birth, she wanted to bring thank-you cupcakes for the doctors and staff who took care of her during her pregnancy. She asked me for a chocolate recipe, so I chose this one from Cook’s Illustrated, my go-to cookbook for classics.

I’m skeptical whenever the word ultimate is used to describe a dessert. Having said that, I believe these cupcakes are deserving of their title. A dark chocolate cupcake with a tender crumb paired with a creamy and not too sweet frosting: a chocolate aficionado’s dream. The dollop of ganache spooned into the batter is the most delicious of surprises that pushes this cupcake into “best of” category. The creamy chocolate frosting is a velvety Swiss meringue buttercream. The smooth satin texture of the frosting crowns the cupcakes perfectly.

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Bon appétit!

Source: Cook’s Illustrated

Yields 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:
•filling
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
•cupcake
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1 ounce (1/3 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup brewed coffee, hot
4 1/8 ounces (3/4 cup) bread flour
5 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•frosting
2 1/3 ounces (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
2 egg whites
pinch of salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Instructions:
•filling
1) Place the chocolate, cream and sugar in a medium bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.
2) Whisk the warm mixture until smooth.
3) Set the bowl in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
•cupcake
1) Preheat the oven to 350F and place 12 cupcake liners in a muffin pan.
2) Place the chocolate and cocoa in a medium heatproof bowl.
3) Pour the hot coffee over the chocolate mixture and set aside for 5 minutes, covered.
4) Whisk the chocolate mixture gently until smooth.
5) Place the bowl in the fridge until the chocolate mixture is completely cooled, about 20 minutes.
6) Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl.
7) Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture.
8) Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture, whisking until smooth.
9) Use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners.
10) Place 1 rounded teaspoon of the ganache filling on top of each portion of the batter.
11) Bake the cupcakes for 17 to 19 minutes. They will be set and just firm to the touch.
12) Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.
13) Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let cool completely.
•frosting
1) In the bowl of a stand mixer placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk the sugar, egg whites, and salt constantly until the mixture thickens and foams, registering at 150F on a candy thermometer, about 2 to 3 minutes.
2) Fit the stand mixer with a whisk attachment and beat the mixture on medium speed, 1 to 2 minutes.
3) Add the butter, one piece at a time, and whisk until smooth.
4) Pour the cooled melted chocolate and vanilla into the bowl and whisk until incorporated.
5) Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds.

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