Varlhona Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling and Chocolate Ganache Frosting

I just found out that I’ve not blogged about these sinful, delicious and rich cupcakes! I’ve shuffled some of my posts in order to fit into some of the baking events schedule and these cupcakes were unfortunately forgotten – and I really should have post them out much earlier, because they were really yummy!

Why, you ask? Here’s why:

It’s a surprise cupcake!

This cupcake has a sweet and chocolatey Varlhona chocolate cake base with a salty, creamy and peanuty peanut butter filling, topped with a bitter-sweet, sinful and luscious chocolate ganache. I hope I’ve got you drooling!

It is a very rich cupcake – you’ll only need to eat one or two at a time. It’s also not very hard to make, the cupcakes are made using the Everyday Chocolate Cake recipe, which is very easy-peasy! The filling is simple – just dump all the ingredients and whip it altogether. The ganache – simply pour the hot cream over the chocolate, let it melt, cool theh whip it until light. It may seemed a bit tedious to assemble all of these together, but the results are worth every single bite!

Making the cupcakes:
1) Measuring all the dry ingredients

2) Whisk to mix them up together

3) Measure the chopped chocolate and unsalted butter
4) Melt the chocolate and butter mixture
5) Whisk in the sugar and let it cool slightly
6) Whisk in the eggs, one at a time

7) Whisk in the vanilla
8) Sift in the dry ingredients mixture

9) Fold in gently
10) The final cake batter!

Scoop into cupcake liners…

And bake away! It may look a bit ugly, but don’t worry, the ganache will cover it all up!

Mix all the peanut butter filling ingredients together.

Cut out cones to fill the peanut butter filling

Perfect for snacking!

Spoon in the filling and cover with a small piece of the cake

To make the ganache:
1) Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. I used a combination of dark and white because I was worried the dark would be too bitter
2) Pour hot cream on top
3) Melt the chocolate and refrigerate
4) Beat in the icing sugar

Delicious, rich, sinful, chocolatey and sweet with a slight hint of bitter (ganache) and salt (peanut butter)!

On a side note, I’m sorry I haven’t been able to visit all the blogs I followed this week. I’m pretty caught up with work this week, I only managed to find time to reply all the encouragement, suggestions, compliments and comments you guys leave behind while on my way to work (I’m not complaining, I treasure and love reading all your comments, they made me feel so loved! I’m just upset that I don’t have 48 hours a day so that I can reply to the comments and to visit all your blogs!)

In fact, to be honest, this is actually a scheduled post (I typed this last weekend and am adding these few paragraphs now, 6 Apr at 1am in the morning… I have another coming up on 8 Apr, stay tuned!) Most likely I will be scheduling more posts for the next two to three weeks. I will definitely visit all your blogs when I’m more free, but in the meantime, please bear with me :)

In addition, I will try to upload snippets and sneak peak photos onto my Facebook page (I’m really not a twitter person…), so you guys can go there and have a look at behind the scene! :)

Ok, enough of this depressing stuff. :p On to the full recipe!

Varlhona Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling and Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Makes 18 to 20 cupcakes
  • 95 grams all purpose flour
  • 20 grams good quality Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon table salt
  • 105 grams good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 200 grams unsalted butter, can be cold or at room temperature
  • 180 grams caster sugar
  • 4 eggs

Peanut Butter Filling
  • 40 grams cream cheese
  • 90 grams creamy peanut butter
  • 90 grams icing sugar, sifted
  • ¼ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon milk
  • Handful of chopped peanuts (optional)

Chocolate Ganache
  • 90 grams good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 85 grams / ml heavy cream (3/8 cup)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ tablespoon salted butter
  • 90 grams icing sugar, sifted
  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Prepare 18 - 20 cupcake liners.
  2. Measure the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Use a wire whisk and whisk the dry ingredients together until they are all well-mixed and evenly distributed.
  3. Measure the dark chocolate and unsalted butter in a large heatproof bowl and melt them over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once the chocolate and butter has melted, remove the heatproof bowl from the pot. Add in the caster sugar and whisk gently - not all of the sugar will dissolve, it's ok if the mixture is grainy. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes to cool down slightly (the eggs will scramble if added into a hot mixture).
  5. Crack in one egg into the chocolate mixture. Whisk the mixture with a wire whisk for 30 seconds until it is fully incorporated. Whisk in the second egg, and then whisk in the vanilla extract.
  6. Sift a third of flour mixture into the chocolate batter and folding gently using a large metal spoon or rubber spatula. until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
  7. Scoop the cake batter into the cupcake liners. Do not fill it more than ⅔-full, otherwise it will overflow during baking. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top bounces back when touched lightly and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Cool the cakes completely on a wire rack.
Peanut Butter Filling
  1. Place the cream cheese, peanut butter, icing sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Beat the mixture using an electric mixer until the sugar has dissolved and the frosting is light and fluffy. Add in a little bit of milk to thin the consistency (makes it easier to scoop). Stir in the chopped peanuts if using.
Chocolate Ganache
  1. Stove method: Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Place the heavy cream in a small pot and heat over medium heat until the heavy cream comes to a simmer (small bubbles appear on the sides of the pot). Pour the hot cream onto the chocolate and let it stand for 1 minute. Stir the mixture until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add in the vanilla and butter and stir until all the butter has melted. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  2. Microwave method: Place the heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl (glass or ceramic). Microwave the cream on medium for 30 seconds until the cream is hot. Add in the chopped chocolate and stir – the chocolate will start to melt. Place the bowl back into the microwave and microwave for 10 seconds. Stir the mixture and if there’s any remaining un-melted chocolate, repeat the process (do not microwave for too long at one go unless you want to burn your ganache). Once all the chocolate has melted, add in the vanilla and butter and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  3. Refrigerate the ganache for 5 to 10 minutes. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the chocolate ganache on medium speed, adding in the sifted icing sugar in 3 batches. Continue to beat, turning the speed up to high until the ganache becomes light in colour and creamy
  1. Using a small knife (I used my plain old butter knife that has jagged edges), cut out a cone in the cupcake. The trick is to insert the knife about ¾ into the cupcake - not straight down, but at an angle towards the centre of the cupcake. Hold the knife in place and turn the cupcake, so that you will cut out a cone.
  2. Cut off ¾ off the cone, keeping the small round disks and snacking on the extra cones. ;)
  3. Scoop about a teaspoon (depending on your preference, but I prefer to scoop in slightly under a teaspoon) of the peanut butter filling into the middle of the cupcakes. Replace the chocolate cake disks and press it down gently.
  4. Spread a thick layer of chocolate ganache over the top of the cupcakes and decorate as you like.

Super Naggy:

  • Storage: These cupcakes can be kept for up to a week – in an air-tight container in the fridge. Let the cupcakes sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving. The cupcakes will still be slightly chilled but the ganache has softened – perfect for me!
  • How to melt a chocolate and butter mixture
    • Get a pot that will allow the large heatproof bowl to sit snugly on it without the bottom of the bowl touch the bottom of the pot. Pour water in the pot until the height of the water comes up to 1 inch. Bring the water to a boil and turn the heat down to the lowest setting.
    • Place the bowl of chocolate and butter over the pot, making sure that the bowl is not touching the surface of the water at all (preferably at least 1 inch away). Stir the mixture occasionally with a whisk (the same one you used to whisk the dry ingredients), until all the chocolate and butter has melted.
    • Alternatively, melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave: turn the microwave settings to medium-high. Place the bowl in the microwave and microwave for 20 seconds. Take it out, give it a stir then microwave it for another 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat until all the chocolate and butter has melted. Don’t microwave it for too long at one go – chocolate burns easily and burnt chocolate makes the worst cake ever!
  • How to fold flour into batters
    • Rubber Spatula Method: Hold the spatula so that the flat side is perpendicular to the table top. Cut into the middle of the cake batter – all the way to the bottom. Draw the spatula towards you then turn the the spatula (either left or right), scraping the bottom and up the sides of the bowl, gently lifting the spatula up (together with some cake batter) and let it drop gently on top, over the flour mixture. If you turn the spatula left, turn the bowl anti-clockwise 90 degrees and repeat cutting the batter. Do it very gently and slowly – it will take some time before the flour mixture is fully incorporated.
    • Metal Spoon Method: Use the largest metal spoon you can find. Add in the flour and move the metal spoon in a figure-of-eight motion – turning the bowl as you mix and not lifting the spoon out of the cake batter (you can lift it slightly, just don’t lift the spoon out of the batter completely). Mix gently until all the flour has incorporated.
  • If mixing the flour in batches, don’t wait until all the flour has been incorporated then add a second batch. Add the second batch when most of the flour from the first batch has been incorporated. Folding is a slow-and-steady skill that cannot be rushed – take your time to slow down!
  • From cupcakeblog’s photos on this recipe, the ganache is soft but still stiff enough to be piped onto the cupcakes. Mine, however, was too runny, so I could only spread it on top with a spatula – I don’t know where went wrong! :( I’ll try using the Swiss Italian meringue buttercream from my log cake recipe the next time I bake these cupcakes.


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