Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

I have yet to try a recipe from Martha Stewart's website that isn't immediately deemed "the most delicious thing I have ever tasted." She always hits the right note between sticking to the classic recipe and adding her own twist. Too often celebrity chefs feel the need to throw a curveball ingredient like wasabi into cake mix just because they want to be different, but at the end of the day, they've strayed too far from the original essence of the dessert, and well... it's just not that good.

This recipe for devil's food cake with ganache icing is another example of Martha's handywork. The sourcream in the cake mix adds the perfect hint of tang,and the bittersweet ganache icing is just sinful enough for this devil's food cake.

Here is what you will need:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth (pictured below). In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt (not pictured, but let's use our imaginations).

Step 2: Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed (I cannot seem to master the art of cracking eggs and taking photos at the same time). Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined.

Step 3: Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.

Step 4: Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full. **Take your time on this step because when the cupcakes look even in height, the presentation is much more "professional." I used 2 scoops of a ladel to make the cupcakes consistent.
Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. ***Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

Now let's talk about the ganache icing.

Here is what you will need:

Step 1:Place chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Bring cream and corn syrup just to a simmer over medium-high heat; pour mixture over chocolate. Let stand, without stirring, until chocolate begins to melt. Beginning near the center and working outward, stir melted chocolate into cream until mixture is combined and smooth (do not overstir).

Step 2:Refrigerate, stirring every 5 minutes, until frosting just barely begins to hold its shape and is slightly lighter in color. I stirred it every 5 minutes for about 45 minutes. At that point, it started to finally hold it's shape. This can be kind of tricky, so be patient. Use immediately (ganache will continue to thicken after you stop stirring).

Step 3: To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature and garnish with chocolate curls just before serving. To make the curls, I used a vegetable peeler and a bar of chocolate and shaved them off. Very easy.

List of ingredients for the devil's food cake:

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature

List of ingredients for the ganache icing:

1 pound good-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/3 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup corn syrup
chocolate bar for chocolate curls

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