Perfect Small Batch Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

Perfect Small Batch Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

Dark chocolate cupcakes topped with dark chocolate ganache. For true chocolate lovers only! This recipe makes a perfect batch of 12 cupcakes.

My favorite cookbooks are bursting with notes of modifications or creative plays to make in the future, even the great recipes, the “keepers”.  But the note in the margin of Dorie’s chocolate-chocolate cupcake recipe just says “Perfect. Follow just as written.” I knew the first time I made these I had found my one-true chocolate cupcake recipe and I wanted to be sure my future self wasn’t tempted to mess with a winning formula.  I liked the rich chocolate flavor and tight, but moist crumb of the cupcakes.  I liked the beautiful crown of dark chocolate ganache on top, the way it didn’t overshadow the masterful chocolate cake beneath.  Lastly, I was happy it made a perfect 12 cupcakes because I didn’t (and usually don’t) have a perfect excuse to whip up a batch of chocolate cupcakes! 

You’ll LOVE these chocolate cupcakes if you’re looking for

  • A perfect dozen! This recipe makes a batch of 12 cupcakes – Or double it for a perfect 24!
  • Rich chocolate flavor – Deep chocolate flavor comes from the combo of both cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate. Truly a chocolate lover’s dream dessert!
  • Tender and moist chocolate cupcakes with a tight crumb
  • A beautiful crown of dark chocolate ganache frosting – The ganache shines (literally!) but it doesn’t overpower the beautiful cake beneath. A little glaze goes a long way (it’s rich!) and adds a soft & satiny textural contrast.
perfect small batch chocolate ganache cupcakes
perfect small batch chocolate ganache cupcakes

Ingredients you’ll need

  • All-purpose flour
  • Cocoa powder – I use Hershey’s most often and find it gives excellent flavor. Use favorite, or what your budget allows!
  • Baking powder & baking soda – Give the cupcakes their rise.
  • Salt – adds flavor
  • Unsalted butter – One stick (1/2 cup) at room temperature for the cakes, plus a few tablespoons of cold butter, will be stirred into the melted chocolate for the ganache.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Egg yolk and whole large egg – Adds moisture/richness and helps the cupcakes rise. 
  • Vanilla – Use pure vanilla extract.
  • Buttermilk – Buttermilk is required for this recipe—its lactic acid will allow the baking soda to react and leaven the cake.
  • Bittersweet chocolate – Some for the cupcake batter and more for the chocolate ganache. Bittersweet chocolate chips work fine in this recipe, just make sure you love the chocolate because it will flavor both the cupcakes and the ganache.
  • Confectioners’ sugar – aka powdered sugar – make sure to sift it first and don’t skip this step. I’ve cut corners before and the ganache loses its shine.
ingredients to make chocolate ganache cupcakes

HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH CHOCOLATE GANACHE

1. Get ready

  • Center rack in oven and preheat to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • Stir flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl with a whisk until thoroughly combined.

2. Make Cupcake Batter

  • Beat butter on medium speed using a paddle attachment (or hand beaters if you don’t have a stand mixer), until creamy and soft. Add sugar and continue beating for an additional two minutes, until paler in color and fluffy.  Scrape sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Add egg and egg yolk, one at a time, scraping sides of the bowl and beating well after both additions. Beat in vanilla extract and scrape again with a rubber spatula. 
  • With mixer on low speed, add half of flour mixture until just combined, followed by all of the buttermilk, and lastly, the remaining flour.  Don’t over mix.  Using rubber spatula, stir in melted (and cooled) chocolate.
add flour mixture and melted chocolate to chocolate cupcake batter

3. Bake Cupcakes

  • Divide batter evenly among 12 cups.  I use an ice cream scoop to guage the amount in each cup.
  • Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center of the comes out clean.  The tops of the cakes should look dry and they feel springy.  Total time will vary depending on your oven.  I suggest checking after 20 minutes. 
  • Transfer muffin pan to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes.  Unmold from muffin pan and cool to room temperature before frosting.
scoop chocolate cupcake batter into muffin pan
bake chocolate ganache cupcakes

4. Make ganache and glaze cupcakes

  • Melt the second portion of the (chopped) chocolate with a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. (Or, melt in the microwave in short intervals – it’s very easy to scorch.)  Cool for 5 minutes.
  • Using a small whisk or fork, stir in the powdered sugar, followed by the cold butter pieces, stirring until smooth and shiny.  If the glaze seems a little on the thin side, you may dip the tops of the cupcakes into the glaze.  Or, wait a minute or two until it’s spreadable.  Use a butter knife or a small metal icing spatula to swoop a little ganache on the top of each cupcake.  Sprinkle with a good shake of sprinkles before the frosting sets, if you like.
glaze cupcakes with chocolate ganache and top with sprinkles

Storing & Freezing Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

  • These are best enjoyed at room temperature. My husband would argue this one as he loves cold cake! Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to two days (or in the fridge!).
  • Sealed in an airtight container or ziplock freezer bag, they’ll keep for up to two months in the freezer.

Which Cocoa Powder Works Best

Although some baking recipes require a specific type of cocoa powder, either Dutch-processed or natural cocoa powder will work for this recipe as long as it is unsweetened. I use Hershey’s cocoa powder most often and find the flavor chocolate-forward and consistent.

What is the Difference Between Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder and Natural Cocoa Powder?

Hershey’s cocoa powder is an example of natural cocoa powder, as are Ghirardelli, Scharffen Berger and most commonly found cocoa powders in the United States. Dutch-processed cocoa powder, also called “Dutched” cocoa powder has a noticeably darker hue as it is treated to neutralize its acidity to a neutral pH of 7. Since it’s not acidic, recipes using Dutched cocoa powder require baking powder instead of alkaline baking soda. In this recipe, we’re using both baking soda and baking powder, so either type of cocoa powder will work.

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Perfect Small Batch Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

Dark chocolate cupcakes topped with dark chocolate ganache. For true chocolate lovers only!  
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Dessert
Keyword: chocolate ganache cupcake recipe, small batch chocolate cupcakes
Servings: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

chocolate cupcakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate melted and cooled

ganache glaze

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tbsp cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces

Instructions

  • GET READY:
    Center rack in oven and preheat to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
    Stir flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl with a whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • MAKE CUPCAKE BATTER:
    Beat butter on medium speed using a paddle attachment, until creamy and soft. Add sugar and continue beating for an additional two minutes, until paler in color and fluffy.  Scrape sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Add egg and egg yolk, one at a time, scraping sides of the bowl and beating well after both additions. Beat in vanilla extract and scrape again with a rubber spatula. 
    With mixer on low speed, add half of flour mixture until just combined, followed by all of the buttermilk, and lastly, the remaining flour.  Don't over mix.  Using rubber spatula, stir in melted (and cooled) chocolate. 
  • BAKE CUPCAKES:
    Divide batter evenly among 12 cupcakes.  I use an ice cream scoop to guage the amount in each cup.
    Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center of the comes out clean.  The tops of the cakes should look dry and they feel springy.
    Transfer muffin pan to cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes.  Unmold from muffin pan and cool to room temperature before frosting.
  • MAKE GANACHE AND GLAZE CUPCAKES:
    Melt the second portion of the (chopped) chocolate with a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. (Or, melt in the microwave in short intervals – it's very easy to scorch.)  Cool for 5 minutes.
    Using a small whisk or fork, stir in the powdered sugar, followed by the cold butter pieces, stirring until smooth and shiny.  If the glaze seems a little on the thin side, you may dip the tops of the cupcakes into the glaze.  Or, wait a minute or two until it's spreadable.  Use a butter knife or a small metal icing spatula to swoop a little ganache on the top of each cupcake.  Sprinkle with a good shake of sprinkles before the frosting sets, if you like. 

Notes

Storing Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes
  • These are best enjoyed at room temperature.  Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to two days.
  • Sealed in an airtight container or ziplock freezer bag, they’ll keep for up to two months in the freezer.


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