Home > All recipes, bake sale, cake, cupcakes, dessert, dessert, Holiday, pot-luck > Chocolate Fudge Peppermint Cupcakes in a Jar, or Sophie the Giraffe Meets Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Fudge Peppermint Cupcakes in a Jar, or Sophie the Giraffe Meets Chocolate Ganache

The past few weeks I have been really feeling the whole cupcake-in-a-jar thing – and a few nights ago I stumbled upon this recipe at Our Best Bites and had to have it immediately. Since it was about 1AM – and Oliver was due for a feeding – I managed to hold off until this morning but only just. The striped candy cane/peppermint frosting was literally the icing on the cake, and I needed it pronto. Plus – I figured if I liked the recipe I could surprise people at the cookie exchange (that I did not end up going to due to bad bad bad weather in Ottawa today) with cute little cupcake gifts instead.

The recipe, I am afraid, is not as friendly as I had hoped. While I whipped the little cakes into the jars and into the oven in no time, the chocolate cake recipe that they suggested just did not do it for me. I used high quality chocolate and followed all the instructions – it just was not quite what I was hoping for. I ended up having to add in the unanticipated step of popping the little cakes back out of the jars and drenching them completely in Godiva chocolate liqueur…which did, of course, make them into contraband for nursing mothers like me (they needed a serious amount of the good stuff). Next time I would use the Pioneer Woman “life by chocolate recipe” instead as it is cheap (using only cocoa powder and no chocolate) and dummy proof (ie. new-mom proof). A good brownie or flourless chocolate cake recipe would be divine as well.

As for the ganache – how can you screw up cream, chocolate and peppermint? Well – I did. I figured it was to be tinted with extract and sandwiched between cake and icing so I used less tasty chocolate as I knew you would taste it less. About a month ago I was in the grocery store on a chocolate spree and bought these huge bars of 85% cocoa President’s Choice chocolate really cheap – hoping it would be okay to experiment with and use when I was feeling exceedingly cheap. Big mistake. Even with the peppermint extract it was borderline inedible and I was loathe to use it – instead it now sits in my fridge awaiting my next experiment – learning how to pipe whipped ganache. The stuff is literally not to be consumed by humans. NEVER will I skimp on chocolate again – what is a couple dollars more given what I spend on food? Luckily I had my Christmas pantry stocked with Callebaut and Lindt and remade the ganache using better chocolate and it was fantastic- even despite Sophie the Giraffe getting bathed in the stuff by my increasingly mobile (6 months today) munchkin who then proceeded to upend an entire bottle of vanilla on the floor.  I also learned a new and even lazier method of making it. If you cover the bowl with plastic wrap for about 5 minutes right after pouring the hot cream on the chocolate you don’t even really have to chop the chocolate at all – just break into large chunks. Sweet.

So these cupcakes are great. Totally make them if you have a good amount of time on your hands and are feeling like something fun and new. I plan on switching it up and topping with whatever icing I am into at the moment – the one provided tastes similar to buttercream but is a bit more stable. But you have to make a white sauce first, which is quite frankly a pain in the ass – so use what works for you but try to find an icing that is not too sugary.

Mom -O-Meter = 3.5

These cupcakes are quickly made and then ganached. They are shelf stable for about 24 hours after that without going in the fridge – 2 or 3 days in the fridge but may dry out a bit. Once iced they should be eaten ASAP. The icing does not need refrigeration but does make a bit of a mess – and I have to say that Oliver did manage to get up to quite a few tricks. With an older child they could be fun to decorate the top of the cupcakes and the jars with ribbon, wrapping paper, tags, drawings etc. A LOT of dishes for not that many cupcakes – I adjusted the measurements to make a few more.

Cupcakes – Adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks

Note: this is not the cupcake I used from the recipe – but I think would be tastier!

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • ½ cups buttermilk
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 sticks 1 cup butter
  • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water, boiling

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl and set aside. In another container combine buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and baking soda.

Melt butter in a small saucepan, then add cocoa powder followed by boiling water and cook for a minute or two. Then pour over the flour mixture – stir a few times to cool it down a bit – and then add the egg mixture. Stir until combined (be sure there are no bits of flour left to make ugly white streaks or polka dots) and then put into jars of your choice or cupcake containers. Cook until the cupcakes are nearly finished if you are leaving them in the jars as they will continue to cook once removed from the oven due to the hot glass.

Peppermint Ganache

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chocolate chips are fine)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4-1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Heat cream to almost boiling and pour over chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap for 5 minutes. Uncover and stir until smooth – have confidence if it looks goopy and just keep stirring.

My all time favorite moment when making ganache – as the chocolate takes over the cream:)


6 tbs flour
1 cup milk
1 cup real butter
1 cup sugar (granulated -not icing sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2-1  tsp peppermint extract (depends how strong you like it)

Cook the flour and milk in a small saucepan stirring constantly until it thickens a bit and becomes a white sauce. Take it off and strain it (add a little more milk if it becomes too thick – it should be a bit puddingish). Once it has cooled fully whip butter and sugar together in a mixer until fluffy and add the white sauce and extract. Whip for 7-9 minutes on high until light and fluffy. If it seems too dense – try whipping it a bit more.

Frost the cupcakes by using a pastry bag with the star tip and putting lines of red gel food colouring on the inside of the bag to create a peppermint swirl. See picture:)

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