Oops...can't see the filling--I promise it's there!

A couple of weeks ago I hosted a baby shower for a friend of mine and decided to stray away from a themed cake to keep things a little more simple (that, and I really just don't decorate cakes with the traditional buttercream stuff). I found a great cupcake recipe at Food & Wine: Double Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling that I must share with you. I didn't necessarily want to use the peanut butter filling because I wanted to incorporate a mocha flavor in the cupcakes. Incidentally, there would be a few children attending the shower and their parents probably wouldn't have appreciated them ingesting any caffeine. So, I went ahead and used the peanut butter filling and only injected itinto half of the cupcakes.

Don't let the word 'ganache' scare you away. Ganache is one of the easiest things you could possibly make. I hope you give these a try!


3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup buttermilk
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° and position 2 racks in the lower and middle third of the oven. Line 24 muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
In a medium heatproof bowl, add cocoa powder. Add the boiling water and whisk until a smooth paste forms. Whisk in the buttermilk until combined. In a separate medium bowl, sift the flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter with the granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla, then beat in the dry ingredients in 2 batches, alternating with the cocoa mixture. Carefully spoon the cupcake batter into the lined muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are springy. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar (I reduced the sugar by half)

In a medium bowl, beat the peanut butter with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter until creamy. Sift the confectioners' sugar into the bowl and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Spoon all but 3 tablespoons of the peanut butter filling into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch star tip. Holding a cupcake in your hand, plunge the tip into the top of the cake, pushing it about 3/4 inch deep. Gently squeeze the pastry bag to fill the cupcake, withdrawing it slowly as you squeeze; you will feel the cupcake expand slightly as you fill it. Scrape any filling from the top of the cupcake and repeat until all of the cupcakes are filled.


1 cup heavy cream

3-4 Tbsp. Suisse Mocha instant coffee powder

1 cup mascarpone cheese

Beat heavy cream to stiff peaks. Stir in coffee powder, then beat in mascarpone. Fill cupcakes using peanut butter method above.


1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces best quality dark chocolate(60-75% cacao), chopped

In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Off the heat, add the semisweet chocolate to the cream and let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk the melted chocolate into the cream until smooth. Let the chocolate icing stand until slightly cooled and thickened, about 15 minutes. Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the icing, letting the excess drip back into the pan. Transfer the cupcakes to racks and let stand for 5 minutes. Dip the tops of the cupcakes again if desired and transfer them to racks. Yummy tip: if you have any leftover ganache, you can make truffles. Roll chilled ganache into 1/2" - 3/4" sized balls, then in cocoa powder.

To decorate cupcakes: Pipe or spoon a small amount of the fillings onto the cupcakes. For the peanut butter-filled ones, I just placed a few peanut butter chips on top. For the mocha cupcakes, I spooned a little dollop of the mocha mascarpone onto each cupcake, then topped them off with a single espresso bean onto each one.

MAKE AHEAD The cupcakes are best served the same day they are made, but they can be refrigerated overnight in an airtight container.
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  1. Wow, Sarah! These sound yummy! I think I'm going to make some for the weekend!!! :-)

  2. Thanks, Connie! Credits to Food and Wine for the cupcakes -- they were tasty.