Chocolate-Coffee Cupcakes with Cinnamon Creme and Chocolate Ganache, it's a long title for a fairly easy cupcake. I say, fairly easy as I had planned numerous things for this chocolate cupcake. On Tuesday morning, my friend Diane Dias (owner of Our Good Dog Spot) and her daughter, Emily, stopped by to have me photograph some pictures of a veggie burger Emily was submitting to a contest. I wanted to have some muffins for breakfast and went to see what I had for quick packaged mixes.
NOTE: Do not be shocked...I do use pre-packaged mixes sometimes! :)
The other morning, Chef Dennis Littley (what a great chef - follow him on Facebook or Google+) posted "Who doesn't love chocolate cake for breakfast!!" and those seven little words haven't left my brain. I grabbed a box of chocolate devil's food cake and thought...chocolate cake, chocolate muffins, we are having chocolate cake for breakfast!
So this is what I did for the chocolate-coffee cupcakes:
1 box of Chocolate Devil's Food cake mix
French Vanilla Coffee (cooled)
1 cup of miniature chocolate chips
Make cake according to package instructions. Substitute the coffee where you would normally add the water and stir in the chocolate chips after you have thoroughly mixed the cake. This made 18 cupcakes when filled 3/4 of the way in the cupcake tin. Bake according to directions.
This made an amazing batch of chocolate-coffee cupcakes. They were warm, light and fluffy and you could taste a hint of coffee. After enjoying 6 of the muffins, I still had 12 left. My family likes cake, but it doesn't get eaten as quickly as you would think. For the rest of the day my mind was buzzing. I originally wanted to add cinnamon to the cupcakes but decided not to at the last minute. I kept thinking Mexican Hot Chocolate which is coffee, chocolate and cinnamon. How about a cinnamon cream frosting or filling and a chocolate frosting finish.
The next part of my plan, the cinnamon cream filling:
1/2 cup of softened butter
1-1/3 cups of confectioner's sugar (+ a few tablespoons)
2-3 tablespoons of half and half cream
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
With a hand mixer (or full mixer), whip the butter until smooth, add 2/3 cup of confectioner's sugar, mix until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of half and half, the vanilla and cinnamon, mixing again until smooth. Add the remaining 2/3 cup of confectioner's sugar, mix until smooth. Taste the frosting. It should be sweet with a smooth, soft consistency. If you like your frosting sweeter, add more sugar. If the frosting is a little stiff, add more cream.
Cut a circle in the top of the cupcake, about an inch in from the rim. Cut at an angle so the piece will have a cone shape to it when it is removed. Fill the hole with a slightly full tablespoon of frosting. Push the cake top back into the cupcake. It will sit slightly higher than the cupcake. (See bottom cupcake.)
Now for the chocolate frosting. I had filled the cupcake with cinnamon cream and now I needed something for the top. My new favorite frosting is bittersweet chocolate ganache. It complements a sweet cake and frosting without overpowering the two.
To make the chocolate ganache:
1/2 cup of half and half cream
1 1/4 cups of bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon of butter
In a small sauce pan over a medium flame, heat the half and half until small bubbles form around the edges. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips. Once they are melted and the ganche is smooth, stir in 1 tablespoon of butter. When the mixture is cool, frost the cupcakes.
I did have some extra cinnamon cream and chocolate ganche left over, so my son, Stephen and I were enjoying a few little spoonfuls of cinnamon cream dipped in chocolate. DELICIOUS!
The following day I brought some of the cupcakes to work with me. As I was sitting in the conference room of the Tri-Town Chamber of Commerce, the director, Kara, came downstairs and said, "Oh, my GOD!" And I said, "Is everything OK?", and she said, "Those cupcakes were amazing!" Those types of complements put a big smile on my face. Nothing better than making something that people truly enjoy.
It's so rewarding being in the kitchen and creating different types of food. Have some fun with everyday kitchen ingredients because you never know what you might create!