Earlier this month, my good friend's twins turned five. They had a Halloween birthday party (it was so fun!) and I talked my friend into letting me make some Halloween cupcakes. I had so much fun finding just the right recipe, adjusting quantities of filling and frosting, and then actually making them. I was very pleased with the orange cupcakes. I thought the orange flavor of the cream cheese frosting combined with the dark chocolate cupcakes and filling was spectacular. The chocolate frosted cupcakes were good too. But I am my father's daughter (Happy Birthday, Dad!), and there's nothing like a good orange-chocolate combination.
The cupcake recipe below should give you about 18 cupcakes. The frosting recipes will frost about 10 cupcakes each.
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Yield: 18 cupcakes
1/4 cup plus 2 TB unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 2 TB hot water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup plus 2 TB granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the sugar. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted.
Move the mixture an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed, 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled.
Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated.
With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined.
Fill cupcake pans (greased or with cupcake liners), filling each cup about ¾ of the way full.
Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking.
Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (or 4 oz bittersweet chocolate)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 TB unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces, at room temperature
Heat the cream in a small saucepan just until boiling, then pour over the chocolate.
Let stand about 3 minutes.
Gently stir the chocolate and cream together. When the ganache has become smooth, whisk in the butter 1 piece at a time until incorporated.
Transfer the bowl to the freezer or refrigerator to chill and thicken the ganache. Whisk every 5-10 minutes until it is slightly thickened and not runny.
To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake with a small paring knife. I like plenty of filling in my cupcakes, so I also scrape a few more crumbs out from the middle of the cupcake so I have a good sized hole. But don't scrape all the way to the bottom!
Cut off the pointed end of the cone and discard so you are left with a cap of cake to cover the filling. Drop a spoonful of ganache into the center of each cupcake and recover the hole with the cap.
Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from Annie's Eats
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
3 TB unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 TB unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup sour cream
Melt the chocolate in the microwave: heat at 30 second intervals, stirring well between intervals.
Beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed (stand mixer with paddle attachment) until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
Gradually mix in the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Beat in the melted and cooled chocolate and then the sour cream.
Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Add additional confectioner's sugar if the frosting is not stiff enough.
Frost cupcakes that have already been filled with ganache.
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
From Leita's Culinaria
4 oz. cold cream cheese, cut into chunks
2 TB unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 tsp pure orange extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and creamy, 3-4 minutes.
Beat in the orange extract.
On low speed beat in the confectioners’ sugar in two additions, beating until smooth. Add additional confectioner's sugar if the frosting is not stiff enough.
Frost cupcakes that have already been filled with ganache and enjoy!