Mint Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Center and Mint Frosting
Hey everyone! So I know it’s been a while since I posted anything, but just a warning: the cupcake recipes might be a little more infrequent now with school and everything going on! Believe me, I much rather be baking, but unfortunately school comes first. 😦 (I wonder if any of my teachers read this? Can they see me being a good student??) Anyways, a few weeks ago I did manage to make some mint cupcakes for my friend Lindsey’s birthday, so here’s a post sharing how that went!
Cupcake and frosting recipes from: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/chocolate_mint_cupcakes/ (used the cream cheese frosting)
Chocolate ganache recipe from: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/mint-chocolate-chip-cupcakes-00420000006343/
Mint Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Center and Mint Frosting
8 Tbsp (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons mint extract
1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a muffin tin by lining it with cupcake liners. Use a double boiler or add an inch or two of water to a medium sized saucepan and place a metal bowl over it, bringing the water to a simmer. Add butter (cut into chunks), chocolate, cocoa to the bowl. As the butter and chocolate melt, whisk until the ingredients are well combined and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to touch.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
In a large bowl (can use a mixer), beat the eggs. Add the salt, the sugar, the mint extract and beat until well combined. Slowly add in the chocolate butter mixture and beat until combined.
Add in half of the sifted flour mixture, mix to combine. Mix in the sour cream. Mix in the remaining flour mixture.
Spoon the batter evenly into the lined muffin cups. Place in oven in middle rack. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until tops spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cool in muffin tin on a rack for 15 minutes. Then gently remove cupcakes from the tin and let cool completely before frosting.
1 cup whipping cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
To prepare ganache, cook cream in a heavy nonaluminum saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, just until it begins to steam (do not boil); remove from heat. Place chocolate in a glass bowl. Slowly add hot cream to chocolate, beating with a whisk until chocolate melts and mixture is well blended. The mixture will thicken as it cools. Makes about 2 cups.
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 Tbps butter, room temperature (1/2 stick, 2 ounces)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
In an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Beat in peppermint extract.
Slowly add in the powdered sugar on low speed, stopping every now and then to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until light and fluffy. Taste and add more mint extract if it isn’t minty enough for you, or powdered sugar if it isn’t sweet enough for you.
So I’ve actually made these cupcakes before (minus the chocolate center). And in my mind, I remember them as being super minty and yummy, and they reminded me of candy-canes and Christmas (which probably had something to do with the fact that I was making them to give as winter holiday gifts, but whatever). But these cupcakes, although delicious with the smooth, soft filling as well as moist and chocolatey throughout, were not very minty. I would say that was because I cheated and used peppermint extract because I honestly could not find pure mint extract, but I did that for the other Christmas batch, too, and those, I feel, had a much stronger flavor. I normally taste the batter before sticking it in the oven to make sure it seems right, and I didn’t do that this time because I was in a rush, but if I had, I would probably have added more mint extract to either the cupcake part or the frosting. The way they ended up being, there was just a hint of mint, whereas I had envisioned these cupcakes to taste like the cake equivalent of mint chocolate chip ice cream or Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies. Don’t get me wrong, with mine the flavor was still good, just not strong enough in my opinion. (Although it definitely depends on what you like, personally, because I made my Kahlua cupcakes to what I thought was the perfect intensity, and one of my friends complained that it was a bit too much, so…) Anyways, not that I’m encouraging you to taste batter with raw eggs in it or anything, but if you feel like you might want super minty cupcakes and are worried that 1 1/2 teaspoons of extract won’t quite do it for you, I would try and decide that before you stick them in the oven. If not, you can always add more mint to the frosting, but too much might screw up the consistency, plus then it will taste more like a chocolate cupcake with mint frosting as opposed to a cupcake with peppermint all the way through. Just something to think about.
Also, as I kind of mentioned earlier, you are more than welcome to make the cupcakes without the filling, I just wanted to try something new to make these a little different. What I found when I was pouring it into the cupcakes, though, was that it was quite runny (even after letting it cool a bit). I was also making a mess, so, don’t laugh, I used a baster so I wouldn’t have to pour the ganache and spill all over. It ended up working, so after I filled the holes that I made I frosted over the tops and stuck them in the fridge, with the hopes that the ganache would thicken a bit. Once they had chilled, the ganache was perfectly thick and smooth, and even when I left them out for a bit, the consistency stayed just as nice. The only thing I would say is that the ganache eventually soaked into the cake part after a while which definitely kept the cake moist, but it was moist to the point where it seemed almost a bit too wet and sticky. The taste was still fine, but maybe I would stick these in the freezer to try and keep the texture the same, as well, or at least try to delay the chocolate from soaking in.
So, that’s about it for the actual cupcake, although I did also make some chocolate mint leaves for decoration. All that meant was melting some chocolate, coating a mint leaf (that had already been sprayed with non-stick spray) and draping it over a spoon or something to give it a curved shape. Then I stuck a bunch of them in the fridge, and the next day I peeled off the mint leaf and the chocolate print was good to go! If this seems too time consuming, normal mint would make for an equally pretty garnish as well, I just thought the homemade mint leaf was really cool and unique!
These cupcakes looked beautiful; the dark chocolate cake and crisp white frosting looked gorgeous, and the leaf on top looked so cute! The taste was also super yummy, don’t get me wrong, especially if you aren’t looking for an extremely minty cupcake. Think of them more as a chocolate cupcake still with mint flavor, just in the background. The ganache also added to the chocolatey taste, obviously, but now I’m wondering if that distracted from the minty-ness… I don’t think it did, but if anyone makes these with or without the filling, please let me know how they turn out!
So I guess that’s it for now… I can’t wait for letter N! I think I’ve got a good one picked out, but it’s a secret for now. Until then, send me your guesses or suggestions for what the flavor might be, and I’ll write again soon. Happy baking!