February 20, 2012

Chocolate Spice Cupcakes

     A long time ago, when Natalie and I lived together in a big blue house on 39th Ave, we were baking and eating cupcakes--something we did on a fairly regular basis. Natalie had the idea of a square cupcake, because she said, "Squares/cubes are a better shape than circles/cylinders. (She is a designer, so you know, these things occur to her.) Additionally, you can fit them together to build a cake with individual portions ready. Most importantly, in my mind anyway, you get more cupcake. Win.

     The dream of squapcakes, as they were named, remained just that--a dream--for many, many years. But the dream did not die. A few months ago I found a baking pan with squares, but alas, it was too shallow to qualify as a cupcake pan. It was not until a few days ago that I inadvertently stumbled upon another square pan and immediately knew that THIS WAS IT

      After years of anticipation, I present you with squapcakes: square cupcakes. These chocolate spice squapcakes with chocolate ganache are lightly adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes. They were universally loved and admired at their world debut. The end.

Chocolate Spice Cupcakes
Squapcake pan
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for tin
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/4 cups flour, plus more for chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or more to taste)
For the topping
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet best quality chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • Candied ginger, finely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a cupcake or squapcake tin with butter, then dust with cocoa powder, tapping out excess. Stir baking soda into the boiling water. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add molasses and baking-soda mixture. Beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture and beat until well combined. (The batter will be pretty thin.)
  3. In a small bowl, lightly coat chocolate chips with flour. Fold chocolate chips into the batter. Divide batter evenly among prepared cups, filling each about halfway. Bake, rotating tin halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean--about 20 minutes.
  4. Stirring the cream and chocolate for the glaze
  5. Transfer to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Remove from tin and let cool completely. While cupcakes are cooling, finely chop chocolate for the glaze and place in a heat-proof bowl. Place wire rack cooling rack over a baking sheet covered with tin foil.
  6. Bring cream and corn syrup just to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour mixture over chocolate and let stand, without stirring, until the chocolate begins to melt. Gently stir chocolate and cream until totally combined. Begin near the center of the bowl and gradually work your way toward the edge, pulling in as much chocolate as possible, until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
  7. Drizzle the chocolate over the cupcakes, letting it run down the sides. Let the glaze set a little, then top with candied ginger.
Makes 12 cupcakes

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