Makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (I used 1oz bittersweet & 1oz semi-sweet instead)

For the glaze
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (Valrhona bittersweet 70%)
1 tbsp confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

INSTRUCTIONS

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fit the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan with paper muffin cups, or butter them with flour and tap out the excess.

To make the cupcakes—
Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until it is blended into the butter. Add the egg, then the yolk, beating 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the vanilla, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear. Scrape down the bowl and add the buttermilk, mixing until incorporated, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl, add the melted chocolate and mix it in with the rubber spatula. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin molds.

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes are dry and springy to the touch and a knife inserted into their centers comes out clean. Transfer the muffin pan to a rack and let the cakes cool for 5 minutes before unmolding. Cool to room temperature on the rack before glazing.

To make the glaze—
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of shimmering water. Transfer the bowl to the counter and let stand for 5 minutes.

Using a small whisk or rubber spatula, stir the confectioners’ sugar into the chocolate, followed by the pieces of cold butter. The glaze may be very thin at this point or may be perfectly spreadable. If it is too thin to spread or use as a dip (I often dip the tops of the cakes into the ganache, then give the cakes a little twirl as I pull them out, so they have a squiggle of glaze in the center), stir it over ice water for a few seconds – really less than a minute. With a small metal icing spatula, give each cupcake a crown of shiny ganache, and let the glaze set at room temperature (or in the fridge if you are in a hurry). If the ganache loses its gloss and you miss it, give the tops of the cakes a puff of hot air from a hairdryer right before serving.

Playing around: Before glazing the cakes, you can fill the centers of these with store bought Marshmallow Fluff, Bittersweet Ganache, Nutella or jelly. Just fit a pastry bag with a tip, fill the bag with the goody of your choice, plunge and squeeze away.

[NOTES: I filled mine with marshmallow fluff using a Wilton #12 round tip.]

Storing: The cakes will keep in a well-sealed tin overnight. They can also be wrapped airtight – glazed or unglazed – and frozen for up to 2 months.

Vanilla Cream Filling
from Baking Bites

3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine) (I used skim)
1/2 cup butter (or trans fat-free shortening)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 scraped vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk together the flour and milk and cook in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick (this will only take a few minutes). Stir continuously to prevent the mixture from clumping and do not bring it all the way to a boil. (Do not walk away from it! It will be slightly clumpy as it thickens but you should not get large clumps if you stir continuously.) When thickened (consistency will be that of a thin pudding or custard), strain with a mesh strainer into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely to room temperature.

When the milk mixture is cool, cream the butter (or shortening) and sugar together in a medium bowl until light. Add in the milk/flour mixture and the scraped vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract) and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 7 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, or a large ziplock bag with the corner cut off, and set aside until ready to fill your cupcakes.

*A few recipe notes:
- The baking time is still 22-25 minutes if you halve the recipe. Mine was finished after 24 minutes.
- Many bakers found these cupcakes to be too dry. There was much debate as to whether this was due to overbaking, or too much flour. Part of this debate was due to the ambiguity as to how much 1 cup of flour weighs… Heidi over at Suburban Food found that Dorie uses the dip and sweep method of measuring and one cup of flour using this method weighs 4.8 ounces).

- Make sure you melt your chocolate first. That way it is completely cool by the time you need it (at the end).
- I used semisweet chocolate instead of bittersweet.
- I only have one muffin pan so I had to bake these in two batches. I hate not knowing how full to fill each muffin cup (“divide the batter evenly” is so vague). So I weighed it out for next time. Each muffin cup should be filled with approximately 1.75 ounces of batter (that weight is including the weight of the liner as well).
- There was just barely enough ganache to frost these cupcakes lightly. If you like to frost your cupcakes heavily, I would recommend doubling the recipe.
- Wrapped airtight (glazed or unglazed), these can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Source: Good Eats N’ Sweets

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