For lunch, Lara and I made chicken pesto sandwiches with marinated chicken (grilled on my grill pan), provolone, pesto (of course), tomato and mayo, all on a fabulous homemade bun, recipe to follow soon!
While all of this was fun, the best part of the visit was the excuse to make a yummy dessert that I normally wouldn't make for myself. Lara and I decided on chocolate cupcakes that we had seen on America's Test Kitchen. We did change them up a bit by substituting mocha frosting for the chocolate frosting in the recipe and boy and I glad we did. The mocha frosting was absolutely delicious, and a great complement to the rich, dark, decadent chocolate cupcakes with a surprise ganache filling. These were hands down the best chocolate cupcakes I have ever had, maybe even the best cupcake ever. Happily, there was a nice amount of leftover frosting, can't let that go to waste, right...
The not so humble cupcake
Fresh from the oven, if you look close you can see the divot
where the ganache sits, my favorite part!
Mocha frosting, ready for its noble purpose
Six uniquely frosted cupcakes, all were fabulous
Note: A half batch of the frosting is good for the 12 cupcakes the recipe makes.
from America's Test Kitchen
Makes 12 cupcakes
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine (see note)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine (see note)
- 1/3 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa
- 3/4 cup hot 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
FOR GANACHE FILLING: Place chocolate, cream, and confectioners’ sugar in medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave on high power until mixture is warm to touch, 20 to 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth; transfer bowl to refrigerator and let stand until just chilled, no longer than 30 minutes. (Do not chill for longer than 30 minutes. The ganache gets too hard and sinks to the bottom of the cupcake during baking. Still just as delicious, but quite messy, and not as easy to eat. I found 20-25 minutes to work well.)
FOR CUPCAKES: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin pan (cups have ½-cup capacity) with baking-cup liners. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon ganache filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.
TO FROST: Mound 2 to 3 tablespoons frosting on center of each cupcake. Using small icing spatula or butter knife, spread frosting to edge of cupcake, leaving slight mound in center.
from Cook's Country
Makes about 4 cups
This recipe makes enough frosting for two 9-inch layers, a 13 by 9-inch sheet cake, one Bundt cake (made in a 12-cup Bundt pan) or 24 cupcakes. The frosting can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. Before using the frosting, let it stand at room temperature until softened, about 2 hours, then whip with an electric mixer briefly to re-fluff.
- 24 tablespoons unsalted butter (3 sticks), cut into pieces and softened
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- 3 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso
CREAM BUTTER In an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter, cream, vanilla, and salt on medium-high speed until combined.
WHIP FROSTING Reduce mixer speed to medium-low. With motor running, slowly add confectioners' sugar, cocoa, and instant espresso and mix until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and beat frosting until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.