Hey, who says Halloween is just for kids? I think it’s about time we carved out some special treats just for us grownups. This is not to say that I wouldn’t snatch a couple of mini-Snickers bars out of my niece’s or nephew’s Halloween loot, you understand. But just for fun, let me show you these Triple Threat Cupcakes. We start with a rich chocolate & coffee cupcake, then filled with a rich chocolate ganache laced with Bourbon. Sound good? Not done yet! We top this creation with a buttercream frosting that has been liberally laced with While Chocolate Liquor. Yes, it’s a booze bomb, and I’m not apologizing.
Our first task is to get the cupcakes going, and you are not going to believe how easy this is. Two bowls and 10 minutes should do it. Dry ingredients go into one bowl, and liquid ingredients into the other. Mix them up and that’s all there is to it.
If you have some cute Halloween cupcake holders, go on ahead and haul them out at this point. Pour in the batter up to about the 3/4 full level, and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. You can’t get much more chocolatey looking than that, and you will not want to forget to lick the bowl which is close to the best part of any cooking venture.
While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, you can get started on the rest of the elements of your treats. First, the chocolate ganache. And at the risk repeating myself, you again will not believe how easy this is. Put some cream on the stove, bring to a boil, take it off the heat and stir in the chocolate chips….and the liquor. We used Bourbon but feel free to substitute whatever you like. That’s part of the fun! I’ve added a few photos here to show you how this looks when all is said and done. It will probably look kind of thin to you, but that’s only temporary – pop this in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or so and it will firm up like magic. But for now, time to lick the whisk…
OK, cupcakes are cooling and ganache is cooling, so time to get moving on that frosting. You know what I’m going to say, right? Super easy. Whip up some butter and milk or cream, add a pinch of salt, and then beat in the powdered sugar. And then…yes, more alcohol. We used Godiva White Chocolate Liquor, but anything will do. How about Frangelico, Bailey’s or Kailua? You catch my drift. If you are leery, start with just a little and more until it gets to the point you think it’s just right. Beware though, this frosting is very buttery, which means it will melt quickly, so best to keep it in the refrigerator until you use it.
And now everything is done, so all we need to do is assemble. This is really fun, so please don’t get stressed out over it. It will all be delicious and beautiful when you are finished. And if you think some don’t look quite right, just eat them before anybody can see them. See? I told you it was fun. Let’s get that middle scooped out using a melon baller or sharp spoon. Go down about an inch or more.
Remember that ganache? Time to get it out, spoon into a ziplock bag with the end snipped off, and pipe the filling into the center.
When you’ve got that done, grab the frosting and frost the little darlings. If you happen to have some Halloween sprinkles, now is the time to get them into the game.
If you are not too full from sampling cupcake batter, ganache beater licking, and frosting tasting, now is the time to take a big old bite out of one or two of these!
Happy Halloween everyone! Hope you enjoy these decadent and delicious little treats. And thanks so much to my blogging partner, Tricia, for the inspiration and recipe elements to put this all together. xoxox
- 1 ½ cups unbleached flour
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (we use the high fat powder that has not been ‘Dutched’, but either kind is OK)
- ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup freshly brewed coffee
- 1 ½ tsp. vanilla
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 10 ounces (or about 1⅔ cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips (we like Guittard)
- 2-4 ounces best quality bourbon (or any other liquor you prefer). For a strong, boozy flavor, choose 4 ounces (oh yeah), but feel free to use less if you like. You can always start small and add more until it’s just right for you.
- BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup softened butter
- 4 tablespoons milk, half & half, or whipping cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3 tablespoons liquor of your choice (We liked Godiva White Chocolate Liquor, but Frangelico, Kailua, Bailey’s, etc. would also be great. Again, you can start with less and work your way up to make it just the way you like)
- FOR THE CUPCAKES
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, soda, salt and cocoa powder.
- In a separate bowl, combine the oil, buttermilk, eggs, coffee, and vanilla
- Mix on low speed until all ingredients are combined.
- Pour into muffin tins with paper cupcake cups, until about ¾ full.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Set aside to cool, or refrigerate if you are in a hurry. Remove from the muffin tins after about 10 minutes though.
- This will make about 18 cupcakes.
- FOR THE GANACHE
- Pour the cream into a small to medium sized saucepan, and heat until it just begins to boil.
- Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips. Continue stirring until chips are melted and mixture is smooth and shiny.
- Pour in the liquor of your choice and stir to combine. Refrigerate until thickened and ready to use.
- FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- Whip the butter, salt, and milk in a medium bowl until smooth and fluffy.
- Add powdered sugar, and continue beating until thick and smooth.
- Add liquor and vanilla and continue beating until combined. Taste and adjust flavorings as needed.
- TO ASSEMBLE
- Using a melon-baller or sharp edged spoon, hollow out the center of each cupcake.
- Spoon ganache into a Ziplock bag, and snip off the end. Fill the cupcakes by squeezing the bag’s contents into the hollowed out center. You will probably need to go back and smooth them over with a knife to make the tops flat.
- Either use a piping bag with decorative tip, or just use a butter knife and thickly swirl the frosting onto the top of the cupcakes. We think it looks nice to finish the whole thing off with some colorful sprinkles.
- Note: this frosting is super soft, so the cupcakes need to be refrigerated to hold the frosting’s shape. That is, if they last that long.