Happy Valentine’s Day, dear readers! Or as we refer to it here – Pizza Hut day. The tradition has evolved over the years, but basically my husband and I like to indulge on February 14th. In our love for one another of course, but also in the chemically engineered food product that is Pizza Hut’s Pan Pizza. This is not a sponsored post or an ad of any sort, we just really love the Hut. To be fair, this is the ONLY day of the year that we let ourselves enjoy this treat, in deference to both our waistlines and our consciences. And to add honesty to fairness, we are also not celebrating today, but rather on Saturday when we can really kick back in our leisure pants, watch a bad movie, and look fondly into the long weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the heck out of the fancy dinners, flowers, and woo-ing romance of Valentine’s past, but you can’t do those things in your pj’s, at least not the kind I like to wear.
We’re normally craving something sweet as the pizza coma sets in, and our more conventional judgment generally steers us towards chocolate. At first I thought, doughnut holes – bite sized, poppable, delicious. But the deep frying thing kept bringing me back down to earth. I really didn’t want to deal with the hot oil, cleanup, etc. I know, I know why don’t you make baked doughnut holes? For the same reason you don’t hand out raisins on Halloween – it ain’t right.
So doughnuts were a nonstarter. But how about cupcakes? Everyone makes cupcakes though…what’s the point? Maybe everyone makes them because they are a delicious, handheld treat that you don’t have to fry, Jo! So cupcakes then. I went through a few rounds of this recipe. The first wasn’t rich enough – tasting more like something you’d eat for breakfast, the second ended in a seized chocolate disaster, but the third. The third was a moist (sorry) and fluffy mouthful of cake, enrobed in a rich and smooth ganache, and brightened by the slightest hint of raspberry jam at its center. Winner.
So, we’ll be enjoying these after our traditional meal of Pizza Hut on Saturday – that’s just our thing. How will you be celebrating?
Mini Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
Servings: 40 MINI CUPCAKES Time: 40 MINUTES
Some notes: I did not test this for traditionally sized cupcakes, but I would bake in a conventional muffin tin at the same temperature and start checking for doneness at 18 minutes. The ganache will continue to set up as it sits, and will set completely if you pop them in the fridge. This makes a little more ganache than you’ll need, but feel free to go on a dipping extravaganza with the extra. Also, you can use cupcake liners for added portability, but I skipped them because these didn’t leave my house.
2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 C flour
½ C unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt
¾ tsp baking soda
½ C granulated sugar
½ C brown sugar, packed
¼ C vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
¼ C brewed coffee
½ C buttermilk
¾ C raspberry jam
1 C semisweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup heavy cream
Fresh or freeze dried raspberries for garnish
Preheat oven to 350° F
Grease a mini muffin tin with butter or non-stick spray.
Melt chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval. Set aside and let cool slightly.
In a large bowl mix together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine sugars, oil, eggs, vanilla, coffee and buttermilk.
Add melted chocolate to wet ingredients, stirring thoroughly.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until combined.
Scoop batter into muffin tin, filling each well about 2/3rds full.
Bake on the middle rack for 10-12 minutes. A toothpick should come out mostly clean, with a few crumbs and the tops of the cupcakes should just spring back when lightly pressed.
Let cool in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
In a small bowl, microwave jam for 30 seconds. Transfer to a piping bag or squeeze bottle.
Fill each cupcake with about a ½ tsp of jam by pushing the tip of the piping bag or bottle into the top of the cupcake and squeezing until the jam reaches the top of the cupcake.
For the ganache, microwave cream in 30 second intervals until very hot.
Add chocolate and stir until smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool for five minutes.
Dip the top of each cupcake into the ganache and place on a wire rack to set.
Garnish with fresh or ground and sifted freeze-dried raspberries.