By Kira Wills, Guest Blogger
I have already spoken about the Power of Ganache, how I believe it has the ability to heal many things. Life, especially in these charged times, can be hard. And sometimes the storm clouds can linger longer than we would like. Last year, I was in a funk, and there was no new Ryan Gosling movie on the horizon to help snap me out of it. At about four in the morning, I stumbled upon a peppy, can-do woman hosting a Food Network show called “Chic and Easy.” She whipped up these cupcakes in a flourish of movement and optimism, and they looked fantastic.
At a more reasonable hour, I did the same, needing to accomplish something good that day. The result was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had, and more importantly, one of the easiest to make. They were rich and decadent and not overly sweet. I don’t like messing with sticky frosting, because I manage to get it everywhere, but coating these fudgy gems was a mess-less breeze. Since then, I’ve made these cupcakes for everything from a mid-week snack to the main dessert at my mother’s birthday party, and they manage to brighten any and every occasion. So when life is bearing down a little too hard, try out these Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes and let the ganache do its job.
Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes with Ganache Frosting
By Mary Nolan
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1 egg, at room temperature
2/3 cup milk, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons mini semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
Ganache frosting, recipe follows
Place rack in the middle of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake papers.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. Using a mixer, cream the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until pale yellow, about 1 minute. Add the egg and stir until just combined. Gently add half of the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. Mix in the milk. Add the remaining flour mixture and stir until combined. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 2 tablespoons sugar, and vanilla. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans.
Fill prepared cupcake liners with enough chocolate batter to just cover the bottom. Add a dollop of the cream cheese filling to each (about a tablespoon), then top with remaining batter. Filling cream cheese filling should not be visible.
Bake for 20 minutes. Let cupcakes stand in the pan for 3 minutes and then remove and allow to cool completely on a rack.
Dip each cupcake into the ganache, forming an even layer of frosting. Top with chopped pecans or sprinkles if you wish. Place in the refrigerator to set, about 15 minutes. Serve.
Store cupcakes in fridge.
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder, optional
Place a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water, and whisk together the chocolate, cream, and espresso powder (if using). Continue whisking until chocolate is melted and the mixture is thick, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes and then coat your cupcakes.