When chocolate, and only chocolate, will do, make these elegant cupcakes, with a dark-as-midnight bottom crowned with a jaunty ganache topping. Kids will love them, but they have a grown-up, sleek look. The incredibly easy, magical batter uses mayonnaise instead of the typical butter and eggs.
Baker's Note: The ganache decoration on the cupcakes requires a pastry bag fitted with a plastic coupler so you can change pastry tips. You will need Ateco tips #30 and #4.
Makes 12 Cupcakes
- Softened unsalted butter, for the pans
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder, divided
- 1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 1 ⅓ cups heavy cream
- 12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (no more than 62 percent cacao), finely
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, at room temperature
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
2. To make the cakes, butter the insides of 12 muffin cups. Sift together 2 tablespoons of the cocoa and 2 tablespoons of the flour. Dust the insides of the molds with the cocoa-flour mixture, and tap out the excess.
3. Combine the remaining ½ cup cocoa powder and the hot water in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer. Whisk to dissolve the cocoa. Whisk in the sugar. Attach the bowl to the mixer and fix with the paddle attachment. Sift the remaining 1 ½ cups flour, the baking soda, and salt together. With the mixer on low speed, in thirds, add the flour mixture, alternating with two equal additions of the mayonnaise, and mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the batter is smooth. (The batter will seem a little thinner than usual.) Using a 2 ½-inch-diameter ice-cream scoop, divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
4. Bake until a cake tester inserted in a cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Gently unmold the cakes onto a rack, and let cool completely.
5. To make the ganache, bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let stand for 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Add the butter, whisking until it has totally melted into the chocolate. Transfer to a bowl and let cool on a wire rack until the ganache thickens to the consistency of pudding and can be piped, about 1 hour.
6. Transfer the ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a coupler and a ⅛-inch-diameter closed-star tip, such as Ateco #30. Pipe strips of ganache in a starburst pattern around the top of each cupcake, leaving a ½-inch-diameter space empty in the center. Change the tip to an ⅛-inch-diameter plain tip, such as Ateco #4, and pipe short spikes in the center of the cupcake. (The cupcakes can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered with a cake dome, and refrigerated. Serve chilled or at room temperature.)
Reprinted with permission from Rizzoli New York.