Saturday Snacks: Baking Be Our Guest’s Triple Chocolate Cupcakes


You know that feeling that you get when you jump into a project with both feet, heart filled with anticipation, only to find yourself, hours later, in the midst of a seemingly never-ending battle? I think we've all been there, but in the off chance that you haven't, I cordially invite you to join me in such a battle today. It was a wrestling match between me and Be Our Guest's Triple Chocolate Cupcakes. Grab a cup of coffee (make it strong), and settle in.

Things started out innocently enough. I mean, who wouldn’t want to make something called Triple Chocolate Cupcakes? If you’ve been to Be Our Guest in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, you know that feeling of I WANT EVERYTHING when the dessert trolley cart comes around. One of those little cupcakes in that magical dessert cart is the Triple Chocolate Cupcake, so I figured that even though there were several steps to the recipe, you and I could keep our eyes on the prize if it meant we had incredibly chocolatey goodness waiting for us at the end. It only makes sense, right? 

The ingredients for Be Our Guest's Triple Chocolate Cupcakes called for a run to the store. I needed bittersweet baking chocolate, and lots of it. We’ve had other recipes here at Saturday Snacks that have called for copious amounts of chocolate in the past, so I was a-okay with it. Chocolate ganache would be involved, lots of heavy whipping cream, seven eggs, and we were going to be making simple syrup. It would be an undertaking, but it would be worth it. 

As I was analyzing the recipe, I surmised that our first step should be to make the simple syrup. If you’ve never done this before (which I hadn’t), it’s an easy thing to do, and something that can be done well in advance.

In a small pot, combine 1 cup of water with a half cup of sugar. Bring the water and sugar to a boil over high heat and stir. Once the sugar has dissolved, you can remove it from the heat to cool completely.

I poured my simple syrup into a mason jar and popped it into the fridge so that it would be ready when I needed it. One step down. Four hundred and ninety-two to go.

Our next step is to grab a medium bowl out of the cabinet to begin making the cupcakes. Into the bowl, sift 3/4 of a cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 3/4 of a cup of all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Once things are good and combined, set the bowl aside.

Next, take your stick and a half of room temperature butter and one cup of sugar and place them in a bowl of a stand mixer (or a bowl and use a hand mixer, if you prefer). Beat the butter and sugar until they are lighter in color and fluffy in texture.

To the butter and cream, add three eggs, one at a time. Once everything is incorporated, go ahead and drop in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and combine. 

The recipe now calls for us to add the flour and cocoa mixture to the batter, alternating with the half cup of sour cream. Now you and I both know that if we add the flour/cocoa while the mixer is doing its thing, we'll end up with a cocoa cloud floating over our kitchens.

Take it easy here, and add just a little bit at a time. The recipe calls for us to begin and end with adding the flour/cocoa, a step I read after beginning with the sour cream. Ahem.

Grab a 12-muffin pan out of the cabinet, and pop a cupcake liner into each spot. Go ahead and scoop the batter into the cups, filling each about 3/4 full.

The recipe said to pour the batter at this point, but the batter was way too thick to be poured. Drop and hope it mostly gets into the liner was more like it. Place the pan into a 350 degree oven for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

While your cupcakes are baking, it’s time to construct the chocolate mousse filling. If you’ve begun to suspect that every pot in your kitchen will be used for this recipe, you are completely correct. Every pot, and sometimes the same pot needing to be washed between steps. I apologize in advance for your dishpan hands.

This is where the train began to leave the tracks. I started to make the custard for the chocolate mousse, and unfortunately brought the 3/4 of a cup of heavy whipping cream to a massive, rolling, almost-boiling-out-of-the-pot boil. When I added the egg yolks and sugar, the whole thing went south. I ended up tossing out that horrible looking mixture and beginning the step again.

Please learn from my mistake. When the recipe says to heat 3/4 of a cup of heavy whipping cream and a small sauce pan until hot, it means it. Don’t let the cream boil, or things will go sideways quickly.

While your cream is getting hot, whisk together 4 egg yolks and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a separate bowl. Once your cream is hot, slowly whisk it into the egg yolks and sugar.

Pour the cream, yolks, and sugar back into the saucepan and, over medium-low heat, cook it until it thickens just a bit. The process will take 4 to 5 minutes. Make sure you’re stirring the mixture constantly.

If you’ve made it this far, you’re doing a great job. Let me just stop and give you a bit of a pep talk. Hey, look at us. Look at us. Who woulda thought? {Insert Paul Rudd meme here.} We’ve already made simple syrup, our cupcakes are baking in the oven, and we’ve just made custard. Yay, us! Hang in there; this recipe is a marathon, and the finish line is in sight.

Once your custard has thickened, pour it through a sifter or a sieve so that any solids will be left out of the next steps.

I’ve recently taken to making a cup of instant espresso in the afternoon. I’ll chalk it up to 2020, but things seem a bit more manageable if I’ve got a little special latte-ish drink going on in my coffee cup midway through the day.

At this point, you’re going to need to add a quarter of a cup of espresso to the custard, and I figured that my instant espresso would do. And it did.

At this point, your cupcakes should be ready to come out of the oven. Pop a toothpick into the center of one of the cupcakes just to make sure that it comes out clean.

Cool your cupcakes in the pan for five minutes and then transfer them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Our next step to completing the chocolate mousse filling is to melt chocolate in a double boiler or a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. I chose just to use good old Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chips for this step.

I placed the chocolate in the bowl, and let the heat created by the boiling water underneath work its magic.

Once the chocolate has melted, whisk it into the egg yolk mixture until smooth. Once combined, pop the entire bowl into the fridge to hang out until it’s very cold.

According to the recipe, the cupcakes are iced with chocolate ganache. In order to make the chocolate ganache, you’ll want to grab another pot, pour 1 cup of heavy cream into the pot, and heat it until it’s hot. Again, don’t boil the cream. Boiled cream = yuck. Break up the bars of bittersweet baking chocolate and place the chocolate in a bowl. The recipe calls for us to chop the chocolate, but it’s a step that really isn’t needed. Breaking it up with our hands will do just fine, and this recipe is already taking long enough, thankyouverymuch. We have things to do today and chocolate cupcakes to shove into our mouths. We don’t need any extra steps.

Once the cream has gotten hot, pour it over the chocolate chunks and stir until the chocolate melts.

Set the entire bowl aside to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, pour the remaining 1 1/4 cups of heavy whipping cream into a bowl, and beat it with a mixer until it reaches the point at which soft peaks form.

Grab the cold chocolate mousse out of the fridge, and whisk in 1/4 of the whipped cream that you’ve just made. Once that’s combined, you can fold in the remaining cream very gently until everything is completely incorporated.

You are very nearly there. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Hang on. And pop a few of those leftover chocolate chips from the chocolate ganache into your mouth. You deserve every one of those chocolate chips.

Grab a small paring knife and cut a cone out of the center of each of your cupcakes.

Grab your simple syrup out of the refrigerator and brush and/or spoon it onto each cupcake. Give those little babies a great big bath in that magical sugary stuff.

Fill the center of each cupcake with a dollop of chocolate mousse, and place the cake cone back on top. You can place the cones with the pointy side down or up. The recipe calls for the points to be up, but I found that that just made things a bit more problematic in the end. 

Without a pastry bag on hand, I spooned chocolate ganache into a quart-size freezer bag and cut off the corner of the bag to create my own little makeshift pastry bag. I then topped each cupcake with chocolate ganache. Unfortunately, this step did not go as well as I had hoped it would. The chocolate ganache, even though I’ve worked with it plenty of times in the past, proved to be a bit finicky. But I persisted. I pushed on to the end, and knew that even if the cupcakes didn’t look the best, they would taste good. Eyes on the prize.

And taste good they did. The cupcakes were fudgy toward the bottom, and filled with that yummy chocolate mousse. Unfortunately, the chocolate ganache dominated the flavor profile. It’s just what chocolate ganache does. It tends to take over whatever it’s placed on. If I make this recipe again (and that’s a BIG if), I’ll top each cupcake with a simple chocolate buttercream icing. Another option for topping the cupcakes in keeping with the Be Our Guest theme would be to whip up a batch of the Grey Stuff. Those cupcakes slathered in Grey Stuff wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. Hmmmmm...

While it took the majority of an afternoon and just about every pot, bowl, and utensil in my kitchen, I’m glad I gave the recipe a shot. We learned a lot today, didn’t we? We made a simple syrup. And that simple syrup can be used in a bevy of recipes, including being poured into a cup of tea or a glass of homemade iced coffee. We made chocolate mousse, and there’s plenty of leftover chocolate mousse after those cupcakes have been filled that'll be useful in the days ahead should a sweet tooth attack occur. We also made chocolate ganache and chocolate cupcakes. We’ve been busy, and we deserve a high five. And a nap.

Hold up. Before the high five and nap, we deserve a chocolate cupcake. Or two.

What are have you been up to in the kitchen? Let me know in the comments below.

Ready to run a chocolate cupcake making marathon? The recipe is below:

Be Our Guest's Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

CUPCAKES
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

SIMPLE SYRUP
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup espresso
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar

CHOCOLATE GANACHE
12 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream

FOR CUPCAKES:

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
2. Sift cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl; beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until each is completely incorporated before adding the next. Beat in vanilla extract.
3. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour mixture and sour cream, beginning and ending with flour.
4. Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes.
5. Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

FOR SIMPLE SYRUP:
Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan over high heat; bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and cool completely.

FOR CHOCOLATE MOUSSE:

1. Heat 3/4 cup cream in a small saucepan until hot. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar, in a medium bowl until well combined; add hot cream to egg yolk mixture in a slow stream, whisking until combined.
2. Transfer mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens slightly, about 4 to 5 minutes. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; stir in espresso.
3. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring frequently until melted. Whisk chocolate into egg yolk mixture until smooth. Refrigerate until very cold.
4. Beat remaining 1 1/4 cups cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until medium-stiff peaks form.
5. Whisk 1/4 of whipped cream into chocolate custard to lighten mixture, then fold in remaining cream gently until completely combined but still light.

FOR CHOCOLATE GANACHE:

1. Place chocolate in a medium heat-safe bowl.
2. Heat cream in a small saucepan until hot (do not boil). Pour cream over chocolate and stir until chocolate melts.
3. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

TO ASSEMBLE:

1. Cut out centers of cupcakes using a paring knife held at a 45 degree angle, cutting in a circle, to create a cone shape. Remove cupcake centers, set aside.
2. Brush top of cupcakes with simple syrup or spoon it over top to heavily moisten.
3. Fill cupcake centers with chocolate mousse. Place cut out cupcake center on top of chocolate mousse, with point of cupcake center facing up. (Refrigerate any remaining mousse, tightly covered, up to 3 to 4 days.)
4. Pipe chocolate ganache on top of cupcakes starting at the outer edges, slowly moving in and up to the top.

Source: D23.com

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