Not only does Heather from Curly Gurl Kitchen provide an absolutely delicious recipe for chocolate cupcakes, but she also shows off her fabulous cupcake decorating creativity for Valentine’s Day. These are mouth-watering dark chocolate cupcakes, moist and rich with sour cream, tart cherry juice, and expresso powder. A simple whipped cream filling and topped with bittersweet ganache to send you into heaven.

Chocolate Cream-Filled Ganache-Covered Valentine’s Cupcakes

cake:

  • 1 box devil’s food cake mix
  • 1/2 cup Hershey’s special dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream (full fat)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup tart cherry juice
  • red food coloring (optional)

chocolate cupcakes and cream filling ganachecream filling:

  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

ganache:

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (60% cacao is good)
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 5 ounces (1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons) heavy whipping cream

vanilla icing: 

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon meringue powder (available at Hobby Lobby)
  • 1/4 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon clear piping gel (available at Hobby Lobby)
  • milk or water

Bake:

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a muffin pan with 24 paper liners.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all of the cake ingredients on low speed, then beat for 3 minutes on medium speed.  Spoon the batter into the paper liners.  Bake on the middle rack, rotating the pans once, for 14-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs (don’t overbake).

Cool in the pans for 2 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack, cover with a clean kitchen towel and cool completely.

Cream Filling:

When the cupcakes are cool, use a cupcake corer to remove a small amount from the center of each cupcake.

With an electric mixer, whip the cream and powdered sugar until firm, stable peaks form.  Scoop into a piping bag and pipe the whipped cream into the center of the cupcakes, filling them right to the top.  Set aside, covered if possible, to prevent them from drying out.

Ganache:

Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl.  Sprinkle the espresso powder over the chocolate.  Pour the cream into a small saucepan and heat gently over medium low heat, just until bubbles form around the edges.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for 3 minutes.

Gently stir the chocolate and cream together with a spatula, until it becomes smooth and shiny.

Take a cupcake and dip it into the ganache so that the top is completely covered; lightly shake off the excess.  Repeat with all the cupcakes, using a spatula if needed to help spread the last of the ganache on the cupcakes.

Set aside, covered, and let the ganache set for about an hour.

Decorating:

With an electric mixer, combine the butter, shortening, powdered sugar, meringue powder, clear vanilla andpiping gel in a bowl until combined.  Add milk or water, just a few drops at a time, and mix until the icing becomes the right consistency for piping.  If it’s too dry, it won’t flow smoothly out of a small round tip, so if you’re not sure, test a little first and then add more liquid as needed.

Scrape into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.  Decorate the cupcakes with stripes, polka dots, hearts, phrases, and sprinkles.  Have fun!

Yields 24 cupcakes

chocolate cupcake decorated and cream filling ganache

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