Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

The ultimate chocolate cupcake? Well, that is what Cook’s Illustrated AND Joan Hamburg say–so who am I to disagree (Al Dente Blog has the recipe, too)?

Really . . . these chocolate cupcakes are a cut above. The recipe takes chocolate cupcake batter and adds a spoonful of ganache to the center. Each cupcake has a blob of extra-rich chocolate-ness baked right in. And on top . . . an Italian meringue buttercream frosting that is as smooth as silk.

I guess I was a little cavalier about the instructions, which clearly state that you need to chill the ganache mixture that gets spooned on top and also the chocolate mixture that gets folded in to the cupcake batter. My batter and ganache were a bit thin, and I realized that the ganache would just sink to the bottom if I spooned it over my filled cupcake pan. So I put my filled cupcake pan in the refrigerator to chill the batter, to make it thicker and better able to support the ganache. And I chilled the ganache, too. The chilled ganache sat nicely on top of the chilled (and thusly thickened) batter.

The cupcakes rose nicely in the oven, but you can see little indentations from where I placed the ganache on top.

Some indentations were bigger than others.

All this gets covered up with frosting.

I didn’t follow the instructions for frosting. Instead, I used a large star tip.

Other things I did differently: I used King Arthur All Purpose instead of bread flour; hot coffee instead of cream for the ganache; half light brown sugar for the sugar (I ran out of white sugar; I had to use Hawaiian washed sugar instead of white for the frosting because that was all I had left in the house). Oh, and I used margarine for the frosting to keep these pareve.

I didn’t get as distinct a ganache blob as others seem to have gotten–maybe this is a factor of not using bread flour or not using cream or both. Although, I am not the only one with this problem, according to Anna, who followed the recipe exactly and had this problem. Also take a look at the CI Bulletin Board for complaints about craters where the ganache melted into the cupcake. Look here and here for what the ganache blob is supposed to look like in cross section.

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5 Responses to “Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes”

  1. Alisa Says:

    I still cant get over craving for cupcakes, especially chocolate cupcakes. This looks really delicious.

  2. lisaiscooking Says:

    The ganache filling sounds amazing!

  3. Julie M. Says:

    That does sound ultimate! I love the filling in the center. Cooks Illustrated hasn’t let me down yet. Thanks for sharing!

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