Those who know where I work will know why this post is titled the way it is, and those who don’t will have to have a great knowledge of company slogans to figure out that this is a play on the slogan of the company I work for. It’s not really a big deal for me to disclose where I work (it’s not like I work for the CIA), and I’ve probably already mentioned it in a much, much earlier post from years ago, but oh well. I don’t feel like saying today.
It’s been a weird week because my boss, who has been my boss for the last 10 years, is retiring and today is his last day. Yesterday I brought in cupcakes — the best cupcakes I have made since the Yankees cupcakes I made years ago — in honor of his retirement. Change is difficult enough, but change on this scale to me feels monumental. I’m saying goodbye (for now) to someone who has been my mentor for the last 10 years (I wasn’t even 30 when I first started working here!), a person I considered my “work dad”/friend, someone who gave me guidance in matters both work-related and personal. I’ve been lucky to have had him as my supervisor, because he always saw us as people first and his direct reports next. And that’s a very rare quality to find in someone you work for. So to me, he’s truly “like no other boss in the world.” And now he no longer my boss/friend, but my friend.
This post is really about cupcakes, but this occasion was the reason I created these cupcakes in the first place. And it led me to the best chocolate cupcake recipe I’ve ever made to date and will probably now be my “go-to” chocolate cupcake recipe. Also the best chocolate buttercream I’ve ever made/had (which will also now be a “go-to”). I found the recipe on Brown Eyed Baker’s blog and here it is below (copied and pasted from her blog):
ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
yield: 12 cupcakes
prep time: 30 minutes
cook time: 17-19 minutes
total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
These cupcakes are a chocolate-lover’s dream!
For the Ganache Filling:
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
For the Cupcakes:
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¾ cup hot coffee
¾ cup bread flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Frosting:
1¼ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
¾ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces chocolate (milk, semisweet or dark), melted and cooled
1. Make the Ganache Filling: Place the chopped chocolate, heavy cream and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave on high power until the mixture is warm to the touch, 20 to 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth, then refrigerate until just barely chilled, no longer than 30 minutes.
2. Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin pan with liners. Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
4. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
5. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin pan cups. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon of ganache filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
6. Make the Frosting: In a food processor, process the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the corn syrup and vanilla extract and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then add the chocolate and pulse until smooth and creamy, 10 to 15 one-second pulses. Frost the cupcakes as desired. The frosted cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- The ganache filling can be omitted it if you’d like a more traditional chocolate cupcake.
- The frosting can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 hours before using, or refrigerated for up to 3 days. If refrigerated, let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.
- I used the Ateco #823 decorating tip for piping the frosting.
I left out the ganache filling and the cupcakes were just as moist and chocolatey without it. Also, I used my KitchenAid for the frosting instead of a food processor.
As for the chocolates on top with his picture on them, they came from Cocoagraph.com, this amazing company in California that puts your pictures on chocolates. Not only do the pictures come out looking pretty sharp and detailed, they are also very good because they use Guittard chocolate for their bars. I will definitely be giving them repeat business in the future! Word to the wise though, you will need to order the chocolates probably a week in advance of the day you need them to give time for processing and shipping! I was freaking out because I didn’t realize this and ordered maybe 3 or 4 days before I needed them, but Rae the owner of the company was very helpful when I needed to rush the order and change my method of shipping. A great product and great customer service!
I put a lot of time and effort and love into the cupcakes and they were absolutely amazing! This is definitely one of my most memorable projects and it’s fitting that it was for the retirement of one of the most memorable people I have come across in my life so far.