Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache and Coconut (or not)

Published May 23, 2013 by jenmatteson

Last Friday, my family celebrated Mother’s Day (late) and my dad’s birthday.  They are always so close, and it’s hard to get my family together with work and the little ones, that it’s easiest for us to celebrate these two events together.  We certainly cannot celebrate birthdays without a cake, and Mother’s Day without dessert?  Well that just doesn’t seem right!  Lucky for me, I had just seen this recipe in the latest Food and Wine, which I was dying to make.  Perfect!  Well, sort of.  My mom doesn’t like coconut (unless it’s in the rum in her Panty Ripper).  So I garnished half the cupcakes with the toasted coconut and the other half with shaved bittersweet chocolate.  Both were a hit!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache

My honey is so precious when it comes to his food.  I think I’ve mentioned before he can be quite protective of his leftovers.  When we were heading to my parents house this weekend to pick up some plants, I grabbed some of the leftover cupcakes to give to them.  We still had 8 leftover from Friday, and while we certainly could eat that many cupcakes, we really don’t need to.  While I was putting the container in the backseat of the car, Nate asks adorably, “What are you doing with those?”  I tell him, ” I’m bringing them for my parents,” and he said like a stubborn child, “Well, how many?”  At this point, he was just too cute to take seriously.  I told him we didn’t need a dozen cupcakes (exaggerating slightly).  When he later went to get a cupcake, he asked where the rest were because I had told him we had a dozen.  So precious.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache

He was certainly in his right mind questioning giving away these suckers.  They were so delicious.  The cake was moist and fluffy, and the ganache (basically a chocolate frosting – but look it up for a more distinct description) was so creamy and rich, with just a hint of the caramel.  I loved the coconut topping, but if you aren’t fan, skip it, or add shaved chocolate like I did.  I’m assuming my mom really enjoyed them, seeing as how when I brought them over, she got herself a plate and ate one right then and there.  Love love love sharing my food, especially when people really like it!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache and Coconut

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: Makes 18 cupcakes


For the frosting:
12 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy cream

For the cupcakes:
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz unsweetened large-flaked coconut (spend the money to get the large flake stuff, not that other shredded crap)


1. Make the Frosting.  In a large mixing bowl, combine both chocolates.  In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water and cook over moderate heat until sugar is dissolved.  Boil without stirring, scraping down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush occasionally, until a deep-amber color forms, about 8 to 10 minutes (mine only took 6 minutes before it started to get too dark, so keep a very close eye on it).  Reduce heat to low and carefully add the cream; it will bubble vigorously.  Whisk until smooth, then pour caramel over chocolate.  Let stand for 2 minutes, then whisk until frosting is smooth.  Refrigerate until cool but spreadable, about 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, make the cupcakes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Combine buttermilk and water in a measuring cup.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter with both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  With the mixer on low-speed, beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, altering with the buttermilk.


Toasted Flaked Coconut

3. Spoon batter into paper liners, filling them 3/4 full.  Bake for about 20 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, spread coconut out on rimmed baking sheet and toast for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly golden.  Let cool.

5. Frost the cupcakes and top with toasted coconut.  Or don’t.  I don’t care.






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