As I baked my way through the enormous zucchini that my husband brought home from work last week, I started craving something rich and full of chocolate. I really wanted chocolate cake, but I felt guilty about not using up the zucchini, so I went looking for a recipe that would stop my cravings dead in their tracks. How psyched was I when I found a chocolate zucchini bread recipe on the Joy of Baking web site?
It had exactly what I was looking for, but after making so many loaves of zucchini bread, I decided to make cupcakes instead. My original hope was that the kids would love them too, but the allspice was a major turnoff for them. Oh well – their loss was my gain because the allspice rocked it. It added just enough punch to keep this recipe from being so-so.
And, because I have serious chocoholic issues, I made a semi-sweet chocolate ganache to slather on top. Ooohhh baby! These chocolate zucchini cupcakes will now be my “Go To” recipe when I’m asked to bring a fancy dessert to a party. Just so you know, the nuts are optional, but are oh-so-tasty on top – and these cupcakes taste best when served cold, right out of the fridge!
CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CUPCAKES WITH CHOCOLATE GANACHE
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup applesauce
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ – 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli for these cupcakes!!)
- 1 ½ cups grated zucchini, unpeeled
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces (I prefer Ghirardelli; it melts really well.)
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Walnuts, diced (optional)
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 12 cupcake liners into a standard-sized cupcake pan.
Step 2: In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Toss the chocolate chips with the dry ingredients.
Step 3: In a separate bowl, add vegetable oil, applesauce, both sugars, eggs, and vanilla.
Step 4: Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients into it; stir until just incorporated. Add grated zucchini and mix until just incorporated.
Step 5: Pour batter into 1, 9 by5 inch pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.
Step 1: Before starting your ganache, make sure all of your utensils are completely clean and dry. (Wet bowls or tools can ruin ganache.)
Step 2: Finely chop semi-sweet chocolate and place in a large bowl. (The chocolate needs to be finely chopped so that the hot cream can melt it easily.)
Step 3: Meanwhile, heat ¾ cup heavy cream in a large pan and bring to a rolling boil. Add butter to the bowl, and then carefully add the hot cream to the finely chopped chocolate.
Step 4: Starting in the middle of the bowl, and slowly circling towards the edges, gently stir the cream and chocolate together for approximately two minutes. (Try not to lift the whisk up and down – you don’t want air bubbles in your ganache.)
Step 5: Once the ganache has cooled, you can create a “crumb coat”. Pour 1 tablespoon of ganache on top of each cupcake and spread it outwards towards the edge. (This will prevent any crumbs from sticking to the rest of the ganache.)
Step 6: Once the crumb coat is in place, add 1-2 tablespoons more and quickly spread outwards towards the liner. (It was very hot and humid when I was doing this, so I needed to place my cupcakes in the fridge for a few minutes to “set” the crumb coat.)
Step 7: Sprinkle diced walnuts on top of each cupcake, or leave plain. Refrigerate the cucpcakes until you’re ready to serve them.
Ganache Notes:You can make your ganache ahead of time and refrigerate it overnight. To turn the solid mass back into a pourable state, simply create a hot water bath and set the ganache-filled bowl inside of it. The ganache will soften in just a few minutes. If you get into any trouble with your ganache, just visit Baking911 for tips and tricks – it’s excellent!
Baker’s Notes: Want another ganache covered recipe? Check out my Paradise Pumpkin Pie with White Chocolate Ganache.
Thanks for reading,