When I came across this recipe for Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes in the May/June edition of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine I couldn’t wait to give it a try. The recipe is broken down into three parts: a rich and creamy bittersweet chocolate ganache filling, a dark and moist bittersweet chocolate cake, and a silky smooth Chocolate Swiss-Meringue Frosting.

All three parts come together to create a chocoholics dream! The cake is very tender and moist with a deep chocolate flavor due in part to the addition of freshly brewed coffee and vegetable oil used in place of butter in the recipe. The ganache is rich and creamy like a decadent chocolate truffle and the frosting is silky and smooth, not overly sweet or too rich, due to the whipped egg whites and melted bittersweet chocolate.

All together this recipe call for 11 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, not to mention the 1/3 cup Dutch Process Cocoa Powder. The only problem I had with this recipe is that when my cupcakes cooled they developed huge sink-holes in the center! The ganache all but disappeared or sunk to the very bottom of the cupcakes. I was able to cover it all up with generous dollops of frosting but I would like to know why I got “sunken cupcakes”? My oven temperature was correct and I weigh my ingredients so I know they were accurate…. Any ideas?


Here is how you can make your own Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes. This recipe makes 12 cupcakes. You can find the entire recipe here.

Start with the ganache filling: melt the chocolate, cream and powdered sugar over a double-boiler or in the microwave. Mix until smooth and transfer bowl to fridge and cool mixture for 20-30 minutes.

Make the cupcakes: Fill a twelve cup muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside. Place chocolate and cocoa powder in a bowl and pour hot coffee over the mixture.

Let stand for a minute then whisk until smooth and combined. Transfer bowl to fridge and let cool for 20-30 minutes. Go ahead and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium size bowl. Set aside.

Whisk together oil, eggs, vanilla, and vinegar. Add mixture to the chilled chocolate mixture and whisk until incorporated.

Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture and stir until batter is smooth and no lumps of flour are left. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full with the batter. Place a slightly rounded teaspoon of the ganache filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until the cupcakes are set and firm to touch, around 17-19 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting: Combine the sugar, egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and place over a bowl of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the mixture becomes foamy and thick, registering 150 degrees on a thermometer.

Move bowl onto the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk until mixture becomes thick and creamy and slightly cooled. Add the butter a piece at a time until well mixed and smooth.

Once all the butter has been mixed, pour in the cooled chocolate and vanilla. Mix well until combined. Increase speed to medium high and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Frost the cooled cupcakes with a generous dollop of frosting or you can use a piping bag for a nice swirl effect!

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