I have to start this post by sharing my amusement of last week’s poll results. Did you notice? Two options were clear stand-outs among the choices and in the end they were neck and neck. The two things you readers want more of? Low-Cal Meals, and Desserts. Now either there are two schools of thought out there, or you’d like more low-cal meals so that you can eat more desserts. Am I right? haha. Either way, we’re going to pleaseeveryone in the next couple of weeks. And I’m starting with this:

Can you guess which of the two categories it falls under?

I’m not even joking when I say that I dreamed these cupcakes up. Before hurricane Gustav interrupted our blog schedule around here, we were thinking about doing a lunch box week, so I had lunch on my mind. I immediately thought back to elementary school and the things I loved. My Mom didn’t buy a lot of “junk food” but every once and a while I’d open up that lunch bag and see a shiny, crinkly, foil wrapper. I’m convinced she bought ding-dongs all the time and just kept them to herself, but that’s another story. One night after thinking about this, I went to bed and literally had a dream about a grown up, gourmet ding-dong. One with a rich, moist cupcake, a silky-smooth creme filling, and a decadent chocolate glaze on top. And since I’m all about making dreams come true…here we have my latest favorite cupcake. Special thanks goes out to all of my friends who decided to be born in late August-Early September, because they ended up being my guinea pigs. Something tells me they didn’t mind…

This recipe is in three parts. Below you’ll find the cupcake, which is a recipe by pastry chef Shelly Kaldunski, and then the chocolate ganache for the topping. The vanilla creme filling is in a separate post because I use it for lots of other things too! Don’t be turned off by all of the steps- these cupcakes aren’t hard, and you can make both the cupcakes and the ganache ahead of time. They’re sure to impress!

Devil’s Food Cupcakes
1 C Flour

1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1/2 C granulated sugar

1/2 C firmly packed brown sugar

4 T uns
alted butter at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 C luke warm water

1/4 C buttermilk

Position rack in the middle of oven and preheat to 350. Like a standard 12 cup muffin tin with liners. I like the foil ones because they’re pretty and play on the whole ding-dong angle.Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. I know lots of people skip sifting, but in some recipes it’s really important. This is one of them, so just pop it in a strainer and shake all those lumps out.

In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the water and buttermilk, beating on low speed until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat on medium high speed just until no traces of flour remain, about 30 seconds; do not over beat.

Divide the batter evenly among muffin cups- use a cookie scoop for even filling. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Anywhere from 15-20 minutes. Mine usually only take about 15- don’t over bake! Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then remove them and let them cool.

Prepare the vanilla creme filling and place in a pastry bag, or a ziplock bag with the tip cut off.

Fill ‘er up:
Now there’s 2 ways to fill a cupcake. I use them both depending on the consistency of the cupcake I’m using. See what works best for you. One option is to take a pastry bag with a regular tip on it and place it directly in the center of the cupcake. Press out filling while slowly pulling the bag up and out.

Another method is to take a sharp knife and remove the center of the cupcake in a cone shape. Place filling inside, cut the bottom of the “cone” off, and place the to
p part back on.

Now fill ’em up!

Finally, the ganache.

Chocolate Ganache

3/4 C Cream
2 T real butter, melted
8 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped

Place chocolate in a bowl. Pour melted butter over it. Place cream in microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about 2 minutes- it needs to be at a simmer. Immediately pour over chocolate and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for about 3 minutes and then stir until smooth. Let it cool until it’s a good spreading consistency and then spread on top of filled cupcakes.

Here’s a picture before the ganache had cooled at all. It was runny and messy, and totally fabulous.

Let it harden a bit more, and you get a firmer consistency, as shown here

Do you really care which one you stuff in your mouth? Ya. I didn’t think so.
Click on this picture so you can see it in all its glory.

Now go get a paper towel to wipe your tongue marks off the screen.

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