Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes II: Cupcakes with Ganache

I created these dense, not-too-sweet chocolate cupcakes for my poppa, who loves chocolate covered cherry candies and will happily eat them all through the Christmas season. The cupcakes are very different from the fancy piped-butter-cream desserts that have taken hold of the bakery industry for the past few years, and I'm okay with that. God bless the people who adore their piping bags--I just rarely have the patience to adorn my food before I tear into it.

Some modifications:

For those of you with more perseverance and talent than I, have no fear. You can easily whip the chocolate ganache icing below and then pipe away.

If you can't bear a touch of dark chocolate in your baking, just use 8 oz. of the semi-sweet chocolate in place of the dark cocoa powder and oil.

If you'd like to replicate the uber-sweet characteristic of the chocolate covered cherries, consider wrapping the cherries in prepared fondant before you put them in the cupcake batter, and adding a 1/2 cup sugar to the boiling cream before you make the ganache.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes:

For the cupcake:
1 cup unsalted butter
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate bars
6 Tbs. Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
2 Tbs. oil or shortening, melted
5 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
4 tsp. flour
1 recipe homemade maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate according to the directions. In a separate bowl, stir the cocoa powder into the oil/shortening until thoroughly blended. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and stir in the semi-sweet and dark chocolate until blended. Remove from heat.

Beat eggs, sugar and salt with a hand mixer in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Add the slightly-cooled chocolate mixture to the egg mixture.
Beat until smooth. Beat in flour until just combined.
Line a standard-size muffin tin with with foil liners sprayed with cooking spray. Fill liners 90 % full with the cupcake batter, and press a homemade maraschino cherry down into the center of the batter. Even out the top of the cupcake batter, and bake for 6 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then carefully remove the cupcakes from the muffin tin. Their centers should be set, but not completely cooked through.

For chocolate ganache icing:
8 oz. of fine semi-sweet chocolate (I use Scharffen Berger, available at most grocery stores)
2 Tbs. butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. almond extract (optional)

Chop the chocolate in a food processor til' you think you are ruining your machine. (The chocolate pieces should be at least as small as a jelly bean candy). Spread the chocolate pieces in the bottom of a large metal mixing bowl.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, add the heavy cream, and carefully bring to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate. Jar the bowl to settle the chocolate.

Let sit for one minute. Using a spoon, stir the mixture, being careful not to incorporate air bubbles, until all of the cream is incorporated with the melted chocolate and the ganache is glossy.

Spoon over your cupcakes, and enjoy!
NOTE: The cupcakes have to be refrigerated, because of the cherries and the ganache. If you do not serve them within a few hours, throw them in the fridge but expect that the ganache will become more opaque and less glossy (though still beautiful and tasty).


  1. These look absolutely delicious. I have to try them!

  2. Oh my, this is a very dangerous recipe for my waistline!

  3. La Nina, as usual you do me proud. I can hardly wait until we make a road trip to DC and visit you and my second favorite puppy.

    I will not try this recipe---I will let you make it for me instead.

  4. Those look so yummy! I don't eat a lot of sweets but I would love those.