Cheat Day [cheet dey] – noun: The one day of the week where diet minded fitness freaks throw caution to the wind and indulge only on the most tantalizing, ridiculously calorie dense foods known to man. Often associated with the term, “carb hangover,” which occurs the morning after a particularly fruitful cheat day. Synonyms: Free Day, Fun Day, Fat Day

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dark Chocolate Ganache filled Cupcakes

So I'm on cheat day probation.  Still.  And it sucks.  If you are wondering why, I can most certainly provide you with a few vacation in Mexico related reasons.

And, as my husband is fully aware of, not having a cheat day makes me a cranky pants.  And this cranky pants had to haul her butt to Chicago last week for 5 days of supply chain learnin', delicious food avoidin', high heel blister formin' excitement.  Fabulous.  It's one thing eating grilled meat and cottage cheese when I compare it to how I used to eat (hamburger helper and drive through!)  It's is quite another eating health crap when the alternatives are...

- Company paid, super fancy pants dinners at expensive restaurants where everyone but you is drinking wine, ordering appetizers, and topping off their amazing meals with delicious desserts.
- Catered in lunches every day from a little cafe serving up trays of pastries and cannolis, vats of pasta, and more ciabatta surrounding a sandwich than I would need in a week.
- Anything but the damn packets of tuna I packed in my luggage to sustain life on.

All bitching aside, I'm well on my way towards my pants-fitting-again weight after a week of NOT CHEATING despite all odds.  So for my baking endeavors this weekend, my sister asked me to make the same cupcakes I had made for a shower many moons ago, so that she could take them to a friend who particularly cared for them.  That way, since these are tried and true recipes, I wouldn't be tempted to taste.

All in all, a very successful endeavor! There might have been some spoon licking along the way.  I can't deny or affirm that happening.

Cupcake Time!
Ok, first off- cupcakes are the most awesome things to photograph.  Especially when you have a cupcake backdrop in which to place your cupcakes in front of while you take pictures of said cupcakes.  Cupcakes. 

My husband actually made these so they'd be ready for Saturday, and I was out of town all week.  What a sweetheart!  He used my favorite recipe, which I've done before as a strawberry cake and a lemon one.  Follow the same directions as I've done here, except with a white cake mix!

Next, mix up your chocolate ganache.  In a perfect world, you'd do this when the cupcakes are just coming out of the oven, so you can fill them when they are slightly warm.  But sadly, not everything is perfect, and I made my ganache the next day.

I love ganache- because it's so easy and impresses a crowd.  I did a double batch, and had leftovers, because I really don't mind having extra ganache in the house.  Put your bittersweet chocolate chips in a mixing bowl, and starting heating your cream over medium heat.  As soon as the cream starts to bubble, remove it from the heat (be careful, as it's easy to have it bubble over!)  and slowly pour over your chocolate, making sure to cover it.  Wait about 5 seconds and then mix with your whisk attachment (or, you know, a whisk) until there are no chunks.

Next, let it set up.  If you are impatient you can stick it in the fridge and watch it carefully.  You want it just firm enough so that it wont leak out of your piping bag, but no firmer (otherwise it will be very hard to get it out of the piping back and into the cupcake.)

When it's ready, fill your bag and inject the ganache into the cupcake.

Once your cupcakes are filled, you can put them into the fridge while you whip up some butter cream frosting to pipe on.

Awe!  These are so fun!  And if they need something just a little extra, you can sprinkle on a little colored sugar, and that's that!  You have a perfect, classic little cupcake that everyone will love!

The Cupcakes:
Adapted from

(18 ounce) box white cake mix 
cup flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water
1/8 cup vegetable oil
teaspoons real vanilla
1 (8 ounce) container of sour cream
large egg whites

Mix dry ingredients in mixer, and then blend in the wet ingredients.  

Pour into cupcake tins.
Bake at 325 until done (check time on boxed mix)

Dark Chocolate Ganache 
Taken exactly from:

I did not change this recipe, so you can follow the instructions here.  I do not add the optional rum.  Before injecting into cupcakes, make sure to let it set!

The Frosting:
Make a double batch of My Favorite Butter Cream (more for decorations, if needed.)  For this cake, I used regular old salted butter, whole milk and red food coloring.

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