I’ve tried several recipes before without success; if the cake turned out well, the filling would curdle; if the filling turned out well, the ganache would be too thick. My awesome friend and fellow baker Carla recommended combining different aspects from different recipes, and I suspect that might be how the Brown Eyed Baker arrived at this successful recipe.
My process involved making the pastry cream the night before, followed by the cupcakes and ganache the next day. I recommend making your ganache just after you get your first batch of cupcakes in the oven, so it’ll be cool and thickened by the time you’re ready to assemble your cupcakes. I also altered the process slightly by whipping the pastry cream in my mixer before I filled the cupcakes. You’ll have some leftover cupcake scraps and some leftover ganache, and if you buy the quart container of heavy cream like I did, you’ll also have some heavy cream left over that can be turned into whipped cream for a fun trifle.
- 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 2 pieces
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, heat heavy cream over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally.
In a large, 4-cup glass measuring cup, mix egg yolks, sugar, and salt until well-combined. Add cornstarch and mix very well, until mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 15 seconds.
When the cream reaches a full simmer, slowly whisk it into the egg mixture, then return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for 1-2 minutes until thick and glossy.
Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla until butter is completely melted; your mixture may look like it’s starting to separate a bit, but it will be fine.
Transfer to a bowl and press plastic wrap on the top, covering completely. Refrigerate until set; I let mine sit overnight.
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 12 tablespoons butter, softened but still cool, cut into 12 slices
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; my batch made 18 cupcakes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix for about 30 seconds. With the mixer running on low, add butter 1 pat at a time, until the mixture looks like coarse sand.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl very well. Add milk and vanilla extract, then increase the mixer speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl about halfway through, until batter is light and no lumps remain.
Fill cupcake wells between 1/2 and 3/4 full and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Immediately remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack before filling and glazing.
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream, corn syrup, chocolate, and vanilla over medium heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches room temperature; mixture will thicken and become glossy.
To assemble the cupcakes:
Place your pastry cream in a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on medium speed for 2-3 minutes to lighten slightly.
Using a small knife, cut into the center of each cupcake at a 45-degree angle, about 1/8 inch from the edge, all the way around. Remove the core and cut away all but the top 1/4 inch, leaving a small disc of cake. Reserve the scraps for a trifle or other treat.
Fill the inside with pastry cream and top with the disc of cake.
Spoon chocolate ganache over cupcake tops and spread with a small offset spatula; it is very rich, so you don’t need much.
Store cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.