Hazelnut Ganache Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

This is probably one of the last entries of the unhealthy kind that you will see on here. Sure, I will still be making the occasional decadent dessert once in a blue moon, such as these guys here, but after this last experience, I have decided that from now on, even my monthly decadent treat will undergo a healthifying treatment. Refined sugar just doesn’t seem to sit well with me… or maybe it’s the other way around. I find I completely lose control when I bake these things, end up eating way too much and feel like crap the next day… very similar to a hangover!

Plus, now that I’ve discovered that beautiful, healthy treats such as this one exist, I don’t even have an excuse anymore. And, with treats so good, I’ll be able to make them more than once a month, if I want to!

That being said, let’s at least give these beauties the entry that they deserve, even though I consider them to be a major fail.

As I said before, the cakes themselves were a bit dry and crumbly, the whipped ganache was too firm and would’ve needed more time to relax at the way too hot and humid room temperature but the buttercream, with its delicate nature, couldn’t withstand that kind of wheather and decided to collapse in total exhaustion from the heat. I think it may even have lost consciousness at some point…

It’s too bad really, because all the elements taken separately were really good. The cake batter, for instance, was insanely decadent! I could’ve eaten the whole bowl before it even hit the oven. I guess I must’ve left the cupcakes in there for a wee bit too long, which made them dry and crumbly… Shame! Michelle, over at Brown Eyed Baker where I got the recipe from, says that they are insanely rich and moist… so it must definitely be a bobo on my part! :(

The whipped hazelnut ganache, well… just the name! What could there be not to like about such a heavenly concoction. I guess it was simply the wrong choice of stuffing for this particular cupcake. I should’ve went with something more gooey… more like a hazelnut caramel of some sort. Mind you, there was something way seriously wrong with that buttercream. It should’ve been able to withstand the heat a lot better than it did. I mean, I remember it being really delicate, but there’s limits. Maybe I needed to add a little bit more butter. I was a tad short on the amount required… so that must be why!

Still, those cupcakes tasted and looked divine (before they collapsed, that is!)

CUPCAKES
(makes 24-30 cupcakes)

Slightly adapted from : Brown Eyed Baker

  • 285g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 140g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 eggs
  • 350g cup granulated sugar
  • 2½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoon table salt
  • 1¼ cup sour cream

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350F. (If you are using a non-stick muffin pan, heat the oven to 325 degrees F.) Line standard-size muffin pan with baking cup liners.

2. Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. (Alternately, you can microwave the mixture at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.) Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.

3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine.

4. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogeneous and thick.

5. Divide the batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.

6. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.

(Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

WHIPPED HAZELNUT GANACHE
(source: me)

  • 250g heavy cream
  • 250g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 75g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 200g hazelnut praline paste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a heavy saucepan, bring the cream and vanilla to a simmer
  2. Pour over chopped chocolate and stir until smooth and silky. Add butter and stir to combine.
  3. Add chocolate to praline paste, a little at a time, and whisk between each addition until well combined.
  4. Put this mixture in the refrigerator until it becomes firm but still pliable, about 2-3 hours.
  5. Transfer to a stand mixer or use a hand mixer to mix until light and fluffy.
  6. Keep at room temperature until you are ready to stuff the cupcakes.

BUTTERCREAM
(Adapted from school recipe)

  • 250g egg whites
  • 500g granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 600g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 350g hazelnut praline paste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix egg whites and sugar. Heat over a double boiler, stirring lightly with a whisk, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Scrapes the sides of the bowl from time to time to make sure you get all the sugar.
  2. Once all the sugar has melted, whisk the mixture on high speed until the meringue is stiff and has cooled down completely. Add vanilla.
  3. Lower the speed and start adding the butter, a little bit at a time, allowing it to fully incorporate between each addition.  Once all the butter has been incorporated, turn up the speed and whisk for 2-3 minutes, until the buttercream has a nice, firm yet fluffy texture.
  4. Add about 100g of buttercream to the hazelnut paste and work it in with a whisk or spatula, until well combined. Repeat the process 2 or 3 more times, then add this mixture to the rest of the buttercream. Beat on high speed for another minute.

ASSEMBLING THE CUPCAKES

  1. Push the wide part of a piping tip into each cupcake to remove a little bit of the dough at the top, thus creating a little “well” to receive the whipped ganache.
  2. With a pastry bag equipped with a round piping tip, stuff the whipped hazelnut ganache in each cupcake. Make sure you push the tip all the way down to the bottom of the cupcake before you start piping and fill all the way to the top.
  3. Get another pastry bag equipped with a star tip this time and pipe the hazelnut buttercream over the cupcake and ganache.
  4. These cupcakes must be kept in the fridge. However, they are much better eaten at room temperature, so make sure you take them out of the fridge at least 2 hours before you are ready to eat them.

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Comments

    • says

      Well, like I said in the post, you don’t need a recipe to make rum balls. It’s really something that you can eyeball. Cake / cookie “scraps” and binding agent + RUM, of course. It’s as simple as that… ;)

  1. says

    Those look delicious but I know exactly what you mean. I really just can’t help myself around traditional sweets even when some of them don’t taste as good as they should. Sugar hangovers are awful for me. I’m finally learning that it’s not worth it. I’ve found using whole grain flours and less sugar helps me though. Probably because they’re more filling? I’m not sure. Anyways, these look amazing! A great treat for a special occasion :D

    • says

      It’s crazy, isn’t it, that tendency that we have to eat a piece of cake even if it’s no good only because it’s SUPPOSED to be good. And we try and convice ourselves that it’s indeed good, when it’s not… Well, trust me, I needed no convincing with these cupcakes. They sure tasted amazingly good, despite being half failed… ;)

  2. says

    I’ve been toying with the idea of eliminating, or maybe just severly minimizing my refined sugars. Like you, I loose control, feel gross, beat myself up. It’s terrible. But then I see these, how can I completely give it up? I can’t, so minimizing might be the key. Hazelnut ganache sounds absolutely decadent and wonderful!

    • says

      I think it’s impossible to completely eliminate all unhealthy foods. Minimizing is key, you are quite right about that one. In my case, it means making smaller quantities, less often! Maybe I won’t feel so compelled to eat cake dough right out of the bowl if I am making only 12, as opposed to 24 or 30… Hazelnut ganache IS absolutely decadent and wonderful! :D

    • says

      Funny, I too love Nutella, but I find the only way to truly enjoy it is to eat it by the spoonful, right out of the jar. The only problem is closing that lid seems to be darn near impossible once you’ve popped it open… ;)

    • says

      Euh… bon. Disons que t’es pas vraiment tombée sur la bonne recette pour ça! Y en a peut-être qu’une demie douzaine sur tout le site et il fallait que tu tombes sur une d’elles! J’ai qu’une suggestion à faire, Maude: change de page! ;)

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