Sunday, December 5, 2010

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Sometimes I crave chocolate--okay lets be honest, I always crave chocolate.  Sometimes I really wish I didn't, like those few individuals I know that could care less for it.  It would make my life a lot easier if I didn't BUT I would be missing out on this.  So the truth is out and I will accept my lot in life and EAT chocolate--so sad for me :)!!!
On that confession, here is this amazing piece of heaven.  I am warning you though, it's chocolate overload (for me that's not possible but may be for some of you) and I absolutely loved it.  They have a chocolate base, filled with a chocolate ganache and topped with a chocolate cream cheese frosting.  Seriously, where could you go wrong! I made these beauties for my extended family and there were none left, so sad--even though my hips did appreciate it.  So go ahead and try these, but be sure you have somewhere to take them!

¾ c. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
¾ c. hot water
3 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1¼ t. coarse salt (I use sea salt)
1½ c. (3 sticks)  butter
2¼ c. sugar
4 large eggs
4 t. vanilla extract
1 c. sour cream,
Ganache filling:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 c. plus 2 T. heavy cream
4 T.  butter, cut into 4 pieces, softened
14 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
9 oz. cream cheese, softened
9 T. butter, softened
3 c. powdered sugar, sifted
6 T. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1 c. plus 2 T. sour cream

1.  To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ degrees.  Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the sugar over medium heat.  Heat, stirring occasionally to combine, until the butter is melted.  Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-low speed, 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled.  Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined.

3.  Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ of the way full.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

4. To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.  Heat the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate.  Let stand about 1 minute.  With a whisk, gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles.  When the ganache has become smooth, whisk in the butter 1 piece at a time until incorporated.  Transfer the bowl to the freezer or refrigerator to chill and thicken the ganache a bit.  Whisk every 5-10 minutes to help it cool evenly.  Once the mixture is slightly thickened and no longer runny, you are ready to fill the cupcakes.

5.  To assemble the cupcakes, cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake with a small paring knife.   Drop a spoonful of ganache into the center of each cupcake.  Let set.

6. To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Set aside to cool until just barely warm.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Gradually mix in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt.  Beat in the melted and cooled chocolate and then the sour cream.  Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and well blended.  Frost cupcakes immediately.  I used a large round tip, a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off works very well too.  Serve and try not to gain 5 pounds!
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