December 23, 2011

Winter Treats #7: Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes with Peppermint Candy Cane Buttercream

Okay I know that's a long title for a blog post, but these cupcakes deserve it.
Actually they deserve to be in my belly, because they are DELICIOUS.
I never classified myself as a mint person. I usually pass up a candy cane or mint chocolate chip ice cream. But recently I can't seem to get enough peppermint in my system. There's something so festive about the flavor, especially paired with chocolate.

And I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty proud of this concoction i made. I don't really like to make chocolate cupcakes because I think they are hard to perfect. They either have flat muffin-like tops, or they are fluffy as air and have no substance. But these were different. 
Dense, rich chocolate cake, topped with smooth, creamy, sinful chocolate ganache, piled high with silky peppermint buttercream and crunchy candy canes.
Merry Christmas.

Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes with Peppermint Candy Cane Buttercream
For the cupcakes:
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. hot water
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks plus 1 tbsp. butter, room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa and hot water, whisk until smooth, set aside. 
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, whisk to blend, set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar, and stir occasionally until mixture is smooth and butter is melted. Transfer the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed for five minutes. until the mixture is cool. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla and the cocoa mixture until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated. Add the sour cream, mixing until just incorporated. Add the rest of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. 
Pour the batter into the cupcake tins, dividing the batter evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through. Let cool in the pan for 2 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely.

For the ganache:
4 oz. good semi-sweet chocolate
4 oz. heavy cream
 Chop the chocolate finely and put in a large bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat, until barely boiling. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit one minute. Whisk vigorously until the cream and chocolate is well incorporate and a ganache forms. Dip the tops of the cooled cupcakes in the ganache, and let set for at least 20 minutes.

For the peppermint buttercream:
1 cup butter, room temperature
6-7 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. peppermint extract
4-5 candy canes, crushed
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Put the mixer on low speed, then add the milk and peppermint extract, mixing well to combine. Slowly add the rest of the powdered sugar, until a thick frosting forms.

Spread or pipe the frosting on top of the ganache covered cupcakes, then sprinkle with crushed candy canes.

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