I'm not even exaggerating on the awesomeness of the frosting. I don't like frosting. Most of the time I scrape the frosting off so I can get to the goods underneath. Not so with this frosting. It is every bit as good as the rest of the cupcake. Yuuuum. The original recipe, from Annie's Eats, has beautiful swirls and chocolate shavings as garnish. I'm not quite that talented yet, don't have all the right tools, too lazy to shave chocolate, and I have yet to find any pre-shaved chocolate I can buy in a store (much to Hunter's dismay). I did see a Martha Stewart cookbook the other day that had cupcakes frosted very similar to mine pictured here. That totally validates my frosting job in my mind.
Yield: about 30-32 cupcakes
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy cream
4 tbsp butter, at room temperature
14 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
9 tbsp butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sour cream
To make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the sugar over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally to combine, until the butter is melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to a bowl, beat on medium until the mixture is cooled. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating until just combined.
Fill the cupcake cups about 3/4 of the way full. Bake 18-20 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely.
To make the ganache:
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let stand about 1 minute. With a whisk, gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles. When the ganache has become smooth, whisk in the butter 1 piece at a time until incorporated. Put the bowl in the freezer or refrigerator to chill and thicken the ganache a bit. Whisk every 5-10 minutes to help it cool evenly. Once the mixture is slightly thickened and no longer runny, you are ready to fill the cupcakes.
To assemble the cupcakes, cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake with a small paring knife. Cut off the pointed end of the cone and discard (or eat...but don't let your dog eat!) so you are left with a cap of cake to cover the filling. Drop a spoonful of ganache into the center of each cupcake and re-cover the hole with the cap.
To make the frosting:
Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Set aside to cool until just barely warm. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Beat in the melted and cooled chocolate and then the sour cream. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Frost the cupcakes immediately.
Source: very slightly adapted from Annie's Eats