...from scratch. oh. hell. yes.

You will begin by making chocolate cupcakes. I am partial to the recipe given below, because it results in rich, tasty cakes with flat tops. But any recipe should do. If you cheat by making cake from a mix, I really don’t understand you as a person because the point of this exercise is to recreate a traditional, trashy junk food FROM SCRATCH, thereby transforming said trash into elegance, and if you use a mix they won't be nearly as frigging glorious as they have the potential to be.

So, make the cupcakes. This recipe should make 12 regular-sized. Let them cool completely; you'll be sorry if you don't. Leave them in their papers. PAPERS BEING MANDATORY. I have received reports of people who tried to make these using the "grease the pan" method. Does not work. Do not come crying to me.

Core the cupcakes. The idea here is to scoop out a large chunk of the center, to make a, um, cream pocket. I had good luck using a plastic spoon. Try not to hit bottom or poke through the sides. Remove this core and save the "lid," i.e. just the flat bit of cake that used to be the top surface of the core. But you can eat the center and bits and crumbs you scooped out, those have no other use.

Whip some cream (recipe below) and drop it by spoonfuls into the cupcakes until the holes are filled. Replace the cake lids and poke until they are flush. Mine were pretty ugly at this point, all crumby and irregular. Doesn't matter, it's all about to get covered by ganache.

Make the ganache (recipe below). Let it sit until it's at a spreadable consistency - room-temperature-ish and not runny. Frost the cupcakes. You will be happy to discover this recipe makes too much ganache. So you will either have to do two coats (not really recommended, as one coat alone can be rather stiff when it hardens and can make the cupcake weirdly topheavy with the sugar content, but do as you like) or eat it with your monkey hands or seal up the extra and keep it in the fridge, where it will stay fine for quite a while - several weeks at least.

Put the cupcakes in the fridge to let the ganache set. Wait until it's matte to do the next step, I have no idea how long this takes.

The next and last step is the white squiggle. I recommend buying a commercial tube of frosting and using a frosting tip thing meant for writing. If I had been very ambitious I would have made my own frosting, see paragraph 1, but, I am not very ambitious and perhaps a hypocrite but it's only a damn squiggle. I recommend practicing on the counter or someone's hand first.

now feed it to people and watch them faint


cake:

1 c all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c cold water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c oil (canola or safflower)
1 c white sugar
1 egg
1/4 c baking cocoa (measured, then sifted)

lightly combine flour, b powder, b soda, salt.

in separate bowl, combine water & vanilla.

line muffin pan (cupcake pan?) with paper liners. (Liners mandatory. See above.) preheat oven to 350

mix oil, sugar, and eggs until smooth & uniform. add cocoa, mix. add 1/3 the dry stuff, add 1/3 of the water/vanilla, mix just until smooth (about 20 seconds, do not overmix). Continue until it's all in there.

batter will be quite thin. fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full. bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. when done the tops may still be slightly shiny, use toothpick to test.


whipped cream:

In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, beat 1 cup cold heavy cream until it's thickened. Add between 2 teaspoons and 2 tablespoons sugar, to taste. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Mix. Do not overbeat your cream dudes, it'll turn into butter. Just mix it until you've got enough sugar in there for your taste, and the consistency seems, you know, whipped. Be forewarned: this recipe makes just barely enough cream to fill a dozen cupcakes, so either scale it up or don't eat any out of the bowl.


ganache:

amazing with two ingredients.

finely chop up 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate. not sure if chocolate chips would work the same, because of the paraffin etc. put it in some kind of big heat-resistant bowl.

heat 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream in saucepan on medium heat JUST UNTIL it begins to boil. Remove from heat right away and dump it over the chocolate.

Stir it around until the chocolate is mostly melted. Then cover it with a lid or plate or whatever, doesn't have to be a perfect seal, the idea is to keep most of the heat in. let it sit for 10 minutes.

Then whisk it really gently until it is smooth and uniform. ta daa

When hot it is ideal for drizzling over stuff like a glaze. It will get more spreadable as it cools, and if you refrigerate it, it will harden to a uh, sort of creamy hardness. like a firm truffle? which makes sense, as this is how truffles are made, just with different proportions of chocolate and cream.

if you need it to be thinner, like if it starts to get too thick before you are done working with it, it's ok to heat it up again, on REAL low heat, stirring gently.



Notes: I found out by accident that this delightful treat will keep extremely well for several days in sealed containers in the fridge, even half-finished. I found this out because I fucked up the ganache (bad recipe, not the above) on the first go-round and had to try again the next day, and then, as good as they were, it was too many cupcakes and not enough people to get them all eaten right away. The cake did not dry out, even when left un-ganached overnight, and the whipped cream did not destabilize or go funny in any way. This may seem like a complicated venture but it actually proved pretty hard to fuck up (providing you use a non-screwy ganache recipe) and ridiculously delicious.

If you try these, please let me know - I’d like to know how they turn out. And I'd like to know the reactions of the people you feed these to. My favorite so far is "You didn’t!" But I did.

Photo here.

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