Chocolate-Filled Heaven

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Chocolate-Filled Heaven

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For Valentine’s Day I wanted to do something special for my friends. Although I knew I wanted to make cupcakes, there had to be something different about them in order to show how much I honestly appreciate them. After searching through countless recipe ideas, I finally stumbled upon Martha Stewart’s Handwritten Valentine Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze. The recipe reminded me of these cream-filled cakes that my school used to hand out during special lunches, and I wondered if I could somehow recreate the recipe. Inspired, I decided to make stuffed chocolate cupcakes.

Although I knew I wanted to fill my chocolate cupcakes, I wasn’t exactly sure what to stuff them with. Two methods of filling a cupcake exists: a person can either cut out a hole in the cake and pour in their desired filling or a person can use a pipette, insert it into the cake, and squeeze until the cream fills the air in the cake. The latter seemed easier and less wasteful, so I had to look for a filling that was light and would easily fill the cupcakes. Then I found a couple who made cream similar to a light mousse, and I realized how perfect it’d be! Safe to say, I was pretty excited to make the cupcakes.

True, the process is a bit lengthy and time-consuming, but honestly all the hard work and effort was worth it. Making the cupcakes was actually pretty simple so that wasn’t really anything to worry about. Plus, the fact that they were dark chocolate gave the cupcakes a bit of a kick. Even my friend Samantha Mar ’13 who hates chocolate admitted that “these were actually pretty amazing”.

I do recommend using an immersion blender or anything that’s high speed when it comes to mixing the whipping cream. That saves much needed time and energy from the baking process. I’m glad that I found such an easy mousse-filling recipe though because it only took 5 minutes to make, tasted great, and filled into my cupcakes no problem. For my first time filling cupcakes, it went smoothly. Remember to refrigerate the filled cupcakes though!

The ganache, or chocolate glaze, topping really tied together the cupcakes. With cream filled cupcakes, added frosting would be way too much sugar and butter. It would be a sugar and cream overload. A ganache, while simple, provides for a perfectly sweet but almost quiet chocolate taste to the cupcake. It not only solidified the chocolate flavor, but complemented the cream filling without competing with it.

Be forewarned though, let the ganache cool! I didn’t and ended up with a soupy mess on my cupcakes which I had to put in the freezer so the ganache would harden faster. Patience is a virtue, and a life-saver, when you make these cupcakes.

Out of the many cupcakes I’ve made, I recommend you take the time to make these. They are not only classy and elegant when successfully created, but they also are delicious. And a special holiday like Valentine’s Day isn’t the only time these could be made! Invite friends over or even your girlfriend or boyfriend; it’ll be a fun and hilarious experience!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
·         8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
·         2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
·         1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) Dutch-processed cocoa
·         3/4 cup (3 3/4 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
·         1/2 teaspoon baking soda
·         3/4 teaspoon baking powder
·         2 large eggs
·         3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) sugar
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         1/2 teaspoon table salt
·         1/2 cup (4 oz) sour cream

1.       Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan (1/2 cup capacity) 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 fully combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to 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 and whisk 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 in remaining flour mixture and whisk batter until it is homogenous and thick.
5.       Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18-20 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.

Chocolate Mousse Filling
·         2 cups heavy whipping cream
·         2 cups milk chocolate chips

1.       To prepare the mousse, melt the milk chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Set aside to cool.
2.       Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream with a stand or electric mixer until it looks like whipped cream and stiff peaks form.
3.       Fold melted chocolate chips into whipped cream until well combined, then transfer batches into a piping bag.
4.       When cupcakes have cooled, press the tip of the piping bag into the center of the cupcake, about 1 inch deep.
5.       Squeeze the mousse into the cupcake while pulling the tip out. It doesn’t take much; just one firm squeeze is perfect. Continue filling all the cupcakes.

Chocolate Glaze
·         2/3 cup heavy cream
·         4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
·         1 tablespoon corn syrup

1.       Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.
2.       Place chocolate and corn syrup in a small bowl.
3.       Pour hot cream over chocolate mixture, and stir until smooth. Let cool and harden a bit before use. Mix to regain smooth but firm consistency.

Sources:

http://www.marthastewart.com/317440/handwritten-valentine-cupcakes-with-choc?czone=holiday/valentine-center/valentine-cnt-recipes&center=276967&gallery=275179&slide=283046
http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dessert/decadent-snickers-cupcakes-with-chocolate-mousse-filling.html

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