Notes: My new workplace is pretty small, around 30 people. I thought that a nice inaugural treat would be to make these cupcakes from Cook's Illustrated. While inserting a blob of ganache in the centre is a pretty neat idea, I thought it would be overkill if I also made different frostings. All the ingredients can be stirred together, and the only do-ahead part is melting the chocolate with the hot coffee as it needs to be cooled first. I made a triple batch using large muffin tins, in two rounds, letting my bakeware cool after the first batch. The cupcakes rose quite nicely, with a crack on top. I checked them at the minimum bake time, and then every two minutes after that.
Because I like variety, I made three different frostings according to the CI recipes: vanilla, peanut butter and malted milk chocolate. The vanilla one didn't look that smooth, even after prolonged whipping. Ten minutes in the fridge helped to make it more spreadable, but I didn't really enjoy this frosting. It made exactly enough for a dozen cupcakes. I used coloured sprinkles as a garnish. The peanut butter and malted milk chocolate frostings were much tastier, and came together to a much easier-to-spread consistency. However, because of the additions of chocolate and peanut butter, there was leftover frosting. It kept fine in the fridge for a few days.
These cupcakes taste exactly like the kind you get in stores or made from a box mix. They're very chocolatey, very light, and have the distinct texture that comes from an oil-based cake.
Later in the week, I also did a single batch of the recipe using 24 mini-muffin tins. Medium sized paper liners needed folding to fit, but worked to contain the tiny cakes which rose pretty high and needed additional baking time.
Pictured in the background is an awesome modular cupcake carrier that I borrowed from Dr. S' friend. She bought it at Costco in Montreal but hasn't been able to find it in Toronto, so any readers who live in the GTA and see this product, please let me know! The carrier has snaps on the side to secure the layer on top, and it has shallow rings on the inside bottom surface to hold the cupcakes in place. There's a handle on top that folds flat. You can easily carry one, two or three dozen cupcakes at a time. Update: It's made by Snapware.