My craving for pizza has not been satiated since the disappointing pizza I brought home last week. A few days ago I mixed up a batch of no-knead bread dough with the intention of making a pizza. Yesterday, when the dough had already been sitting patiently on the counter for 24 hours when it became apparent that I wouldn’t be able to use it, I put it in the fridge – this slows the yeast-rising process, so it was fine to use today and hadn’t morphed into some form of sourdough. I sauteed some mushrooms and wilted some spinach, and turned out our usual big rectangular pizza on one of my rimmed cookie sheets.
Happily, I did need to test a recipe for an article on honey I’m working on for City Palate, so we made Chocolate-Honey Cupcakes with Honey Ganache. They turned out incredibly well; not overly sweet despite their name, with a fine, dense texture. Although I’ve never been one to turn down a Crave cupcake, it was refreshing to have one that wasn’t top-heavy with a swirl of fatty frosting. The ganache is easy to make and even easier to apply; the result elegant even when the chocolate escapes in a glob down the side. I scattered a few with multicolored sprinkles and popped them in the freezer for Ben and Emily’s next visit on Monday. Next time I’ll have some fresh raspberries and stick one upright in the middle of each cupcake before the ganache has a chance to set. Maybe for W’s third birthday. I do love ganache.
Except that I remember why I never make it: most of it makes its way into my mouth, instead of onto the cakes.
Honey Chocolate Cupcakes with Honey Ganache
Ganache is just a fancy word for chocolate melted with cream, and in this case, honey. It’s the same mixture you’d use to make truffles, only more liquidy. It’s actually easier to make than frosting.
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or thin plain yogurt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup whipping cream or half & half
1/2 cup honey
8 oz. (8 squares) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners, or spray it with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, canola oil, honey, eggs and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined.
Fill the lined muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tops are springy to the touch. Repeat with remaining batter. Set on a wire rack to cool.
To make ganache, combine whipping cream and honey in a small saucepan and set over medium heat until it begins to simmer around the edges. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes, and then stir until smooth. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes before pouring over cooled cupcakes. If you like, top each cupcake with sprinkles or a candy or raspberry before the ganache sets.
Makes about 20 cupcakes.