Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Ganache and Icing

This post is bittersweet -- and not because of the ridiculous quantities of chocolate in the recipe. For our wonderful friend Lara's birthday, we baked her mint chocolate cupcakes and a gorgeous dulce de leche ice cream cake. The cake had layers of dulce de leche ice cream and raspberry sorbet, with an almond graham cracker crust and sugary strawberries on top. We bought our first spring-form pan for the occasion, and produced a perfectly striped and delicious creation. Here's the bitter part: We have no pictures. I'm devastated, but Alex says it's sometimes good to not blog what we make to ensure that the process remains organic and not internet-driven. I think the fact that I'm this saddened means that he is correct.

The sweet news is that we made some knock-out mint chocolate cupcakes that we did remember to photograph. The recipe is inspired completely by Cupcake Bakeshop by Chockylit, and we took the mint ganache and mint icing directly from her blog. The cupcakes included in this recipe looked a tad too rich for our tastes, however, and we instead went with a basic chocolate cupcake recipe from Baking Bites.

Though these cupcakes were relatively time-consuming (we made the icing first, then the cupcakes themselves, then the ganache), they were well worth it. I personally thought they tasted incredible, and I think that others agreed. My favorite component was the subtle peppermint buttercream icing, though the package itself is unbeatable. These are definitely rich, so be prepared to split them.

Because there are so many components, I'm going to post the recipes and ingredients in sections. Happy Birthday, Lara! We love you.

Chocolate Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, very soft
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup warm milk

Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. Alternate adding flour and milk. Pour batter into tins, and bake for 15-17 minutes until knife comes out clean. Cool.

Chocolate-Mint Ganache
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup and 1 teaspoon chopped mint leaves (or more for garnish)
1 tbsp butter

Chop chocolate and place in heat proof bowl. Heat cream and 1/4 cup mint until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream through strainer, over the chocolate. Let sit for a minute, then stir until combined. Add butter and tbsp mint and combine. Cool then refrigerate to thicken for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Mint Buttercream Frosting
1 cup butter
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract

Beat butter until creamy, scrape bowl. Add 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar, milk, and peppermint extract, then beat until combined. Add more sugar if necessary.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, use a knife to cut a cone shape out of the top of each. Fill each muffins with about a tsp of ganache, then cut of the tip of the cone and place it back on the cupcake. Ice and serve, garnished with a small mint leaf.