Mine ended up looking nothing like the picture on the calendar or the recipe card. This is either because my ganache frosting hadn't thickened enough by the time I had to head out for the party, or because the frosting in the picture is actually a chocolate buttercream.
Either way it was fantastically delicious, and I have twelve (plus the extra ganache) leftover in my freezer.
I started by combining three (yes, three) sticks of unsalted butter and 2 and 1/4 cups of sugar in a saucepan, heating them until melted and smooth (sort of).
While that was heating, I combined 3/4 of a cup of cocoa powder and 3/4 of a cup of hot water, whisking until smooth. I also combined 3 cups of flour, a teaspoon each of baking powder and baking soda, and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of coarse salt in a mixing bowl.
When the butter/sugar mixture was ready, I poured it into my big mixing bowl and beat it on medium-low for about five minutes, until it had cooled. Then I added 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well in between. Next I added a tablespoon plus a teaspoon of vanilla and the cocoa mixture and beat until combined.
Now I had to add the flour mixture and 1 cup of sour cream, alternating each, and beat until just combined after each addition.
The oven needs to be preheated to 350 degrees. I found some really pretty Wilton cupcake liners at Walmart, so I lined my cupcake tins with them.
After dividing the batter evenly between the cups, I baked them for 20 minutes. The recipe says the yield is 32 cupcakes, but I only have two 12-cup tins, so my yield was 24.
I'd rather have a bigger cupcake anyway.
After baking, I let them cool for 15 minutes in the tins, then took them out to cool completely on wire racks.
It was sheer torture waiting to eat these babies. You'll only know how good they smell if you make them yourself.
I distracted my nose by making the ganache. Since it was for a birthday, I splurged and bought Ghiradelli bittersweet chips. But I didn't have quite enough and had to supplement six squares of Baker's semi-sweet chocolate.
I combined 2 and 1/3 cups of heavy cream and 1/4 of a cup of Karo syrup in a pan and heated just to simmering, stirring frequently. Then I poured the mixture over the chocolate and let it sit for a few minutes before stirring to a smooth consistency.
The directions say to put the ganache in the fridge and stir it every 5 minutes until thick enough to spread, but I needed to speed things up. So I put my bowl in the freezer.
Once I felt the ganache was thick enough, I started smearing it all over those beautiful cupcakes. I topped them with a few dark chocolate Nestle's chips for a tasty finish.
And they were tasty, let me tell you!