I hope I never run out of ways to put as much chocolate as possible in a cupcake, because… let’s be real here… chocolate makes everything a million times better. And if you follow me on Instagram or know me at all, you have to know that coffee and chocolate are two things I absolutely refuse to live without, so combine them into a cupcake and I’m SO there. And I should mention – we’re not going weak on either one here. We’re talking rich chocolate cupcakes with a serious coffee kick; this is real business.
I should probably just admit that the extent of my celebrating Valentine’s Day is making cupcakes with sweet sayings on them, which basically means that I celebrated V-day in January. But really, I can only imagine it getting much better if someone made these cupcakes for me, because THAT would be like the ultimate show of love. (I mean maybe throw in some flowers, but really, chocolate comes first.) — And by that logic, since I gave most of these away in an effort to prevent myself from eating them all, I’ve already shown quite a few people I love them. :)
So I’m kinda obsessed with the cuteness of Ghirardelli’s new Valentine’s Day Impressions, and for that reason alone I HAD to make these cupcakes. I’m all for cupcakes that are a little more exciting than your basic cake + frosting duo, and I couldn’t think of a better way to make use of these cute little chocolates than put them on top of an already extra-chocolatey cupcake, so the idea for these came together pretty quickly. The good news is that they turned out better than I even hoped; whipped espresso ganache is officially one of the best forms of frosting ever, and Valentine’s chocolate toppers + raw sugar definitely takes a cupcake to the next level.
I’ve been using Ghirardelli chocolate since I started this blog, back when nobody even knew it existed and the extent of my baking repertoire was a good chocolate chip cookie, and it’s hands-down one of the most essential ingredients in my pantry. This is all to say: I’m 100% a supporter of their products and LOVE the depth and complexity their dark chocolate adds to these cupcakes. The cupcakes start out with a chocolate-espresso cake base — heavy on the good-quality cocoa and espresso to really bring out the flavors — and then a super-intense whipped chocolate espresso ganache (made with Ghirardelli’s 60% cacao baking chips) is piped on top. The chocolate is one of my favorites because it’s nice and bittersweet, and it literally creates the silkiest, smoothest ganache I could ever dream of. Can you tell I’m in love yet?? Because I am. ♡
The best thing about these cupcakes is that even though they’re really perfect for any occasion (like alldayeverydayforeverandever), it’s super easy to dress them up with the Ghirardelli Impressions – which are like little conversation hearts in the form of CHOCOLATE – and turn them into a sweet Valentine’s Day treat. Because if anything says I love you… it’s gotta be chocolate. ;)
A rich, chocolate-lover's dessert: moist dark chocolate espresso cupcakes topped with a light and silky espresso ganache.
- 13 1/2 ounces (2 1/4 cups) Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Baking Chips
- 9 1/4 ounces (1 1/8 cups) heavy cream
- 5 ounces (5/8 cup) espresso or strongly brewed coffee
- 2 7/8 ounces (2/3 cup, spoon and level) all-purpose flour
- 2 3/8 ounces (2/3 cup) good-quality cocoa powder (not dutch-process)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) canola/vegetable oil
- 1 egg, room temperature*
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) espresso or strongly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Ghirardelli Valentine's Day Impressions
- raw (demerara) sugar
- Place the chocolate in a large, heat-safe bowl and set aside.
- In a separate, microwave-safe bowl, mix together the cream and espresso/coffee. Microwave until just coming to a boil, about 1 1/2-2 minutes.
- Pour liquid over chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool completely, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, make cupcakes.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, egg, espresso/coffee and vanilla until smooth.
- Add dry ingredients to wet and stir/fold in just until evenly incorporated; batter does not need to be perfectly smooth.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 of the way, to make 11-12 cupcakes.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes in pan, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
- Transfer cooled ganache to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment (or use a bowl and handheld electric mixer). Beat on medium-high speed just until thickened and paler in color, wiping down bowl and beater occasionally. Be careful not to overbeat.
- Immediatley transfer whipped ganache to a piping bag fitted with a large tip (I used an Ateco #827 open star tip) and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Press a Ghirardelli Valentine's Day Impression into the top of each and sprinkle ganache with demerara sugar.
- Store cupcakes in an airtight container. These should be fine kept out for a couple hours at cool room temperature, but otherwise should be refrigerated.
*To quickly bring an egg to room temperature, place in a bowl and cover with warm water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before using.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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