devil’s food cupcakes with chocolate ganache glaze

Let’s talk about ganache, shall we? Ganache is a wonderfully simple (just three ingredients!) chocolate glaze for cakes, cupcakes and cookies alike. It is really easy to make, and also really easy to screw up. Until very recently, my ganache success rate was 50/50. Not fabulous odds when you’re an emotional cook. Fortunately, I’ve discovered the key to a (so far) fail-proof ganache.

But before we ganache, we need to make something to put that glaze on. This is where the devil’s food cake cupcakes come in. This recipe is from Martha Stewart Cupcakes, and is quite good. This cupcake plus the ganache has an undeniable Hostess Cupcake quality … all that’s missing is the little white swirl and survive-a-nuclear-war-strength preservatives.

Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Glaze, from Martha Stewart Cupcakes
For the cupcakes
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 1/4 t coarse salt
1 1/2 cups butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 T plus 1 t vanilla
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cocoa powder and water. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Melt butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat stirring to combine. Once combined, pour into a mixing bowl. On low speed, beat mixture until it has cooled, 4 – 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and mix to combine. Add vanilla and then cocoa mixture. Alternate adding flour mixture and sour cream until just combined. spoon into muffin tins and bake 15 – 20 minutes. Cool and then frost.

For the chocolate ganache glaze
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chips or cut into small chunks)
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 T light corn syrup (for shine)

Place chocolate in a small heat-safe bowl. In a small saucepan, heat cream and corn syrup over low heat until just simmering. It is crucial that the cream not get too hot – if the cream is too hot it will burn the chocolate and you’ll get a grainy ganache. If you accidentally forget about your cream while it is heating, take it off the heat and let it cool significantly before you pour over the chocolate.

Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let it sit for 5 minutes to melt the chocolate. Using a spatula, gently stir chocolate and cream until smooth and combined. Start at the center of the bowl working your way towards the edge, mixing as you go.  The mixture should be smooth and glossy.

Dip the top of each cooled cupcake into the ganache and set on a rack to firm up slightly before serving.