Just Some Chocolate Cupcakes

This a tale of the good ...

and the bad and ugly.

It all started last Sunday, when I decided it was time to try Pioneer Woman's Life by Chocolate Cupcakes. I'm not saying I need chocolate to live. But ... well, yes, sometimes I think I do. And chocolate cupcakes topped with ganache with a special surprise inside?

Everybody needs that.

So I set to making these babies. Everything went along swimmingly at first.

I sprayed 18 muffin cups with baking spray and preheated the oven to 350 degrees.

I made the cake batter by combining 2 cups sugar, 2 cups all-purpose flour, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

I set this aside and then combined 1/2 cup buttermilk, 2 whole eggs, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Next up, in a saucepan, I melted 1 cup butter over medium heat. Then I added 4 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder and stirred to combine.

To this concoction, I added 1 cup boiling water and allowed it to bubble for a few seconds before turning off the heat.

Then I poured the chocolate mixture over the flour mixture and stirred a few times to cool the chocolate.

Then I poured the buttermilk mixture over the top and stirred to combine again.

Here's the fun part. With the little tin of muffin cups, I placed three canned, pitted cherries in each muffin cup.

Then I poured 1/4 cup cake batter in each muffin cup.

In the big tin of muffin cups, I followed the traditional directions for the recipe and first poured 1/4 cup cake batter in each cup. Then I lightly set a chocolate kiss in the middle of each cupcake and watched as they slowly started to sink.

All these babies went into the oven for 20 minutes. They came out looking like this—ooh la la.

I resisted the urge to try one and instead followed PW's instructions to let them sit for 5 minutes in the pan before moving them to a baking rack to finish cooling.

The cupcakes with the cherries inside released effortlessly from the muffin cups. They were light and lovely.

But boy oh boy Houston did we ever have a problem with the chocolate kiss cupcakes. Apparently these old muffin cups have lost their nonstick powers, and not even the cooking spray helped.

All the little cakes from these cups came out like this.

Leaving the old muffin pan looking like this.

I roared in outrage, thoroughly disappointed to be thwarted this late in the game. Everything was going so well! I was going to pull off this baking endeavor without a hitch. But noooo.

Alas, I couldn't let chocolate cupcakes—deformed as they may be—go to waste. So I left them to cool and continued with the recipe, stewing about their disastrous appearance all the while.

It was time to make the ganache.

This involved heating 1 cup of heavy cream and 6 tablespoons corn syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Then I chopped 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate and added it to a bowl. After adding 2 teaspoons vanilla extract to the cream mixture, I poured the mixture over the chocolate.

Finally, I whisked the whole darn thing together until the chocolate melted.

At this point, all that I had left to do was dunk the cupcakes in the ganache. Well, sort of.

I dunked the pretty cherry cupcakes and left them to cool and set.

But dipping the monster cupcakes wasn't going to work. The bottoms promptly crumbled into the ganache.

So I decided these would be upside-down cupcakes. I left them to sit on their pretty umblemished tops and proceeded to liberally dump ganache over their deformed bottoms.

We're not talking just a little bit of ganache either. I went to town, hoping to hide just how ugly these babies are.

It was moderately successful.

Fortunately, they still tasted OK.

Although Conservative Hubby and I both agree the cherry cupcakes were better than the chocolate kiss ones. As much as it pains me to say it, there was just too much chocolate in the kiss versions.

Although that could have been a result of all the ganache I dumped on top of them.

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