Finally, Round 2 of my cupcakes. This past week, I made cupcakes for a presentation I made for the Women's Business Network. I made Red Velvet Cupcakes with a Cocoa Cream Cheese Frosting and decided I wanted something chocolate...rich, dark, chocolate for my second recipe.
I think I found the best chocolate cupcakes and I understand why Chef Sarabeth Levine calls them Black Beauty Cupcakes. This recipe is from Sarabeth's cookbook, Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours which presently is my most favorite cookbook. I have such a sweet tooth so every recipe I read of hers intrigues me. With Easter just around the corner, I've got some Sarabeth desserts in mind. If you enjoy making desserts as much as I do, purchasing this cookbook is worth the investment.
After making these cupcakes, I never tasted them until after I presented them to my family, the Women's Business Network and assorted friends. Jeff even waited a few days before he broke down and had one. Most times when you think of any type of cake or cupcake, you get a moist cake with an incredibly sweet frosting. What was incredible about these cupcakes was the slightly dense chocolate cake and a bittersweet chocolate ganache. The ganache wasn't overly sweet and that's what made the cupcake so delicious. I chose to make the ganache with Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips versus semi-sweet chocolate chips (which you can use if you want.) This made the ganache rich but not too sweet, the chocolate was very smooth.
The other great part to this recipe was how easy they were to make. No butter, no eggs, just mayonnaise, similar to a chocolate mayonnaise cake. It's amazing what mayonnaise can do for a cake recipe.
What I ended up with was...
a chocolate cake + a bittersweet ganache = one incredibly delicious black beauty cupcake
...a perfect adult dessert.
½ cup of Dutch-processed cocoa powder, divided
1 ½ cups of all purpose flour, divided
1 cup of hot water
1 cup of superfine sugar (I used regular white sugar)
1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda
¼ teaspoon of fine sea salt
¾ cup of mayonnaise
1 ⅓ cups heavy cream
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips) finely chopped
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, at room temperature
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
Place foil cupcake liners in tins. (I like foil because they have a better weight than paper.) If you choose to make the cupcakes liner free, then butter the insides of 12 muffin cups. Sift together 2 tablespoons of the cocoa and 2 tablespoons of the flour. Dust the insides of the molds with this mixture and tap out the excess.
Combine cocoa powder and the hot water in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer. Whisk to dissolve the cocoa. Whisk in the sugar. Attach the bowl to the mixer and fix with the paddle attachment. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together. With the mixer on low speed, in thirds, add the flour mixture, alternating with two equal additions of the mayonnaise, and mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the batter is smooth. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and fill 3/4 full.
Bake until a cake tester inserted in a cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Gently remove the cakes onto the rack and let cool completely.
To make the ganache, bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let stand for 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Add the butter, whisking until it has totally melted into the chocolate. Transfer to a bowl and let cool on a wire rack until the ganache thickens to a glaze consistency and the cupcakes can be dipped or allow it to become thicker and frost the cupcakes.