Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because there’s always food around and then there’s even more food afterwards. How is that possible?! Well, I don’t really care and I’m not complaining. My other favorite holiday is Christmas. Why, you ask? Tis’ the season to be baking!! To be honest with you, I had a rough year and wasn’t really feeling the holiday spirit so I thought I’d lay low and stay away from doing any Christmas festivities. It wasn’t until about a week ago when I started to feel a little happy that Christmas was quickly approaching. Driving around San Francisco and seeing all of the pretty lights on many of the houses and walking in the extra crisp air made it official that this was going to be yet another great Christmas.
This house gets super festive for every holiday. Obviously, Halloween is their favorite holiday since they’ve permanently painted their house with a Halloween theme, but they don’t show any less love for Christmas!
My favorite house is a house that’s in my neighborhood. For years, they’ve been putting up Christmas decorations. They’ve even made it in the local newspaper! Seeing the house on the corner of the block has always reminded me of why we celebrate Christmas with our loved ones. More decorations used to be put up, but this still makes the little girl inside of me come out nonetheless.
When I think of holiday treats, I think of chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. Whoever discovered chocolate, I owe my happiness to you. Something so simple like chocolate… the smoothness… the bitterness… it brings joy into my mouth and makes me do a happy dance every time I have a taste of it. I knew I wanted to make something decadent, yet simple. Simple? Cupcakes. Decandent? …….dark chocolate ganache! Okay.. got that part thought out. Now, what kind of frosting?
I’ve been on a matcha kick ever since I received some shortbreads dipped in matcha chocolate straight from Hawaii, from someone special dear to my heart. So of course, I thought of making a matcha cream cheese frosting. Matcha and chocolate are a perfect pair just like how peanut butter and jelly are for each other and the tang from the cream cheese go great with both matcha and chocolate. I looked in the pantry and pulled out all of the chocolates I’ve recently bought and decided that I should do something with it. Then a lightbulb turned on and I remembered a cupcake recipe that I’ve made before. Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache. Oh my.. they are definately decandent and a chocolate lovers dream. The green frosting makes it interesting to people who have never tasted matcha before.
These cupcakes are rich, chocolatey, and moist with a light crumble. I didn’t pack on the frosting because both the cream cheese frosting and the cake itself are already rich on their own. Make sure you double fist with a cupcake in one hand and a cup of hot tea in the other! If you love chocolate, I promise you’ll love these. I promise you, I don’t break promises… The only problem is.. making these cupcakes create lots of dirty dishes, but they’re worth it!
Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Yield: 12-14 cupcakes
*I used semi-sweet Ghiradelli chocolate
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
¾ cup hot coffee
¾ cup bread flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place chocolate and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Heat cream in a pot until almost boiling. Pour the cream into the chocolate and sugar and whisk until smooth. Place the bowl into the refrigerator and let stand until just chilled, about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line your muffin tins.
Place chocolate and cocoa in a large bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes.
In another medium bow, combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
Take the bowl of chocolates out of the refrigerator and whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into the cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
Fill each liner about 1/2 way. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon ganache filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack.
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. matcha powder
Cream the butter until light yellow. Add the cream cheese and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the sugar and matcha powder and mix until smooth. Pipe the frosting onto cooled cupcakes.