Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
These are the second cupcakes that I took to our holiday potluck (and my second Cupcake Hero entry). They consist of a chocolate cupcake, white chocolate peppermint ganache filling, and peppermint Swiss meringue buttercream. They were delicious and in fact one person at the potluck said it was the best cupcake he’d ever had in his entire life. I think that’s a good compliment! This chocolate cupcake recipe could possibly be my new go-to chocolate cupcake recipe.. It comes together very easily and the addition of the coffee rounds out the chocolate flavor very well. I made a half batch and got 12 cupcakes. I scaled down the frosting recipe to 3/4 of the original recipe and it made the right amount of frosting for my 12 cupcakes (I put a lot on each one).
I got inspiration for these cupcakes from Fields of Cake and Other Good Stuff. I saw these in my Google Reader and knew I had to try them. They definitely did not disappoint. To make the stripes in the frosting, I painted the inside of the piping bag, similar to how I did for the Peppermint Chocolate Meringue Cookies. I also made my filling the day before I filled the cupcakes, so all of the candy canes dissolved and mixed completely into the white chocolate.
Dark Chocolate Cake – from Allrecipes.com – makes 24 cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold brewed coffee
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the eggs, coffee, milk, oil and vinegar. Mix until smooth, batter will be thin. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes (for the cupcakes, I baked them about 22 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.
White Chocolate Peppermint Ganache – from Fields of Cake and Other Good Things
14 ounces white chocolate chopped into 1/4 inch pieces (best you can afford…look for cocoa butter in the ingredients)
2/3 cup heavy cream
8 candy canes crushed
Place white chocolate in medium heat proof bowl. Heat heavy cream in small pot until ALMOST to a boil, immediately pour over the chocolate. Allow to sit for 5 minutes then stir until smooth. Allow to cool. When it has cooled, add the crushed candy canes and fold in.
If you want it to be crunchy, use within the day. If you want it to have some liquid pockets allow it to age a day or two (in the fridge of course). You can bring it back to room temperature before using again.
Mint Swiss Meringue Buttercream – from How to Eat a Cupcake
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons peppermint extract (more if you like it really minty)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put egg whites and sugar in a double boiler over simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees).
Pour heated egg mixture into a clean bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 8 minutes (It’s very important to beat it for the whole 8 minutes).
Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears soupy or separated after all butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.)
Beat in extracts. Reduce speed to low; beat 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.