Tuesday, September 13, 2011

(Internal) Cupcake Wars: Minty Dark Chocolate Ganache Filled Cupcakes

This posts makes me feel like Benedict Arnold. As I typed that, my first thoughts were "eggs benedict" and "Arnold Palmer"... and these are the things that reassure me that I should be spending my time food blogging, but I digress. Back to why I'm a traitor: I recently got a job working in a bakery-boutique that primarily sells cupcakes. They're beautiful little classic flour-and-butter cupcakes, which is ideal due to the fact that I avoid them. Temptation problem: solved... so I thought. What I failed to take into account was that while regular cupcakes wouldn't tempt me, they would inspire me to go home and bake a modified version of them all.

Basically, I'm a "just like grandma used to make" cupcake seller by day, but a secret cupcake chef.... and connoisseur, by night. I've cut hundreds upon hundreds of calories from each cake by turning the butter-based frosting to tofu (I'm not a soy product fan, but in this case, it's the lesser of two evils), the heavy cream ganache to coconut milk, and the butter-and-egg cake to applesauce and oil (gross, right?) Here's the catch: people literally have no idea. They'd think it was from the bakery if I didn't tell them otherwise. While I'm more than happy to promote the cupcakes I'm surrounded by at work (and I'm genuinely enthusiastic about selling them), my friends are family are generally too health-conscious or dietarily restricted to be able to truly enjoy them, much like myself.

These cupcakes are too easy to enjoy; I don't want to say addictive, but they are. Initially, they were baked as a gesture of kindliness and goodwill to our helpful neighbors... however, my family decided these were "too good" and that the neighbors could settle for four of them, while we hoarded the rest like crazed squirrels. The cupcakes have been disappearing from the fridge since I baked them, not just at dessert time, but snack time, appetizer time, lunch time, really any time that can be defined with a number between one and twelve. The great thing about these little cakelets is how much lower they are in fat and refined sugars compared to traditional cupcakes, without compromising on texture or flavor. Such qualities make for a satisfying and certainly not sickening treat... it does, however, make them particularly hard to resist. 

You've been warned... now go preheat the oven.

Minty Dark Chocolate Ganache Filled Cupcakes:
Dark Chocolate-Mint Ganache -
- 1/3 C regular coconut milk
- 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
- 1 3/4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
Mint Chocolate Cream Filling (Optional)– 
- 3 oz. firm tofu
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1.5 oz melted dark chocolate
- 1/4 tsp mint extract
- 1 tsp almond milk
- mint flavored candies, optional
Chocolate Cupcakes-
- 1 C almond milk
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2/3 C raw sugar 
- 1/8-1/4 tsp stevia (if stevia is unavailable, add more sweetener to taste)
- ¼ C coconut oil
- 1 tbsp applesauce
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 C all purpose flour, or flour of choice
- 1/3 C cocoa
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder

To prepare the mint chocolate ganache, add the chopped chocolate and peppermint extract to a small, glass bowl. Heat coconut milk in a small saucepan until steaming. Pour coconut milk over chocolate, wait 30 seconds, then stir until chocolate is completely melted and cool at room temperature. If making filled cupcakes, make the mint chocolate cream by adding all ingredients to a food processor and blending until smooth. If you choose to use mint candy, blend with tofu first until creamy, then add in remaining ingredients and blend again. Chill until ready for use.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 and line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners. Whisk almond milk and vinegar together in a large bowl and allow to sit for a few minutes. Mix in sugar, stevia, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to wet gradually, being cautious not to over-mix (small lumps are fine). Fill tins with batter 2/3 way full and bake for 19 minutes.

Once cupcakes have cooled enough to handle, it's filling time. Use a paring knife to slice a cone shape out of the middle of each cupcake, then remove the tip of each cone. Fill cupcakes with mint chocolate cream and put tops back in place (sneaky, right?) Spread dark chocolate mint ganache on top and serve chilled. Makes 12 servings at 180 calories each.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Rachael, I am so impressed at your passion, devotion and ability to implement your creativity. You will be a huge success someday You should be very proud to be the newest and possibly the most talented member of the amazingly creative and erudite Slotchiver women. RK
    September 18, 2011 8:39 AM

  3. Rachel--I just discovered your blog. I'm very impressed by your knowledge, your recipes, and the wide range of background information you include (the history of breakfast cereal, for example). I knew you had a strong interest in healthy eating and cooking; now I know even more about where that interest is taking you. Thanks.

  4. Thank you very much! I try and post once every 2 weeks or so about various categories of food. Feel free to subscribe :)
    P.S. - If the pictures look particularly professional, Eden probably took them!