Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

Cook's Illustrated, May/June 2010

Recipe cards for download into Word. Front side, back side. Don’t forget the back side! It has the frosting on it 🙂

Do you want a chocolate-lover’s cupcake? Then make this one! It took me about 3 hours (with a quick trip to Friendly City for a few forgotten ingredients).

A few notes about these cupcakes:

I found this recipe on Kelly’s Konfections website. She was the JMU student who won the Cupcakes for a Good Cause competition for the Best Chocolate Cupcake. I was unable to go to the competition due to work, but was very appreciative that my friend, Josh, sent me to her website! The original recipe is from Cooks Illustrated as you’ll see below and was posted on Pink Parsley.

Also, I did not use coffee for fear it would have a coffee flavor, and used water instead. I had heard it does not give cake a coffee flavor when using it, but being a “super-taster” I didn’t chance it. But next time I may try it.

Last comment: using high quality ingredients will give you a better outcome, period. We used Ghirardelli chocolate, organic whole wheat flour, organic canola oil (Kelly’s recipe called for canola oil instead of vegetable oil), farm-fresh eggs, organic vinegar, organic butter, and organic vanilla. Not that I’d expect anyone to use all organic (we didn’t either!) but get high-quality chocolate at least. You’ll be happier!

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
Cook’s Illustrated, May/June 2010
makes 12-15 cupcakes

Ganache Filling

  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

Chocolate Cupcakes 

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 3/4 cup hot, strong-brewed coffee
  • 3/4 cup (4 1/8 ounces) bread flour
  • 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Creamy Chocolate Frosting 

  • 1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • pinch table salt
  • 12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into Tablespoon pieces
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to 85-100 degrees
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the ganache filling, place chocolate, cream, and confectioners’ sugar in a small microwave-safe bowl.  Cook on high power until mixture is warm to the touch, 20-30 seconds.  Whisk until smooth, and transfer to the refrigerator.  Let stand until just chilled, no longer than 30 minutes.

For the cupcakes:

Place chocolate and cocoa in a medium bowl, and pour hot coffee over the mixture.  Whisk until smooth, and transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely, 20-30 minutes.

Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl; set aside.

When chocolate mixture is ready…

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Whisk oil, eggs, vanilla, and vinegar into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth.  Add flour mixture and whisk until batter is smooth.

Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups, filling each 3/4 full.  Place one slightly rounded teaspoon of the ganache filling on top of each cupcake.

Bake until cupcakes are set and firm to the touch, 17-19 minutes.  Allow to cool in pans 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, combine the sugar, egg whites, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Set over a small saucepan of simmering water, and whisking constantly, cook until the mixture is slightly thickened, foamy, and registers 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer, 2-4 minutes.

Fit bowl to stand mixer, and with the whisk attachment, beat at medium speed, until mixture is the consistency of shaving cream and slightly cooled, 1-3 minutes.  Add butter 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy.  The frosting may look curdled halfway through, but it will smooth out eventually.

Once all the butter has been added, pour in the cooled chocolate and vanilla.  Mix until well combined.  Increase speed to medium-high and until light and fluffy, another 30 seconds to a minute.

Frost cupcakes as desired.

You can check out the other blogs on how they frosted, I just threw mine on top because I wasn’t trying to be fancy (and can’t find my tips!).

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