Ben and I were chatting last week and it went something like this:
Me: “Hun, how about I have my mama friends over next week instead of us doing a night out? Just something easy. Drinks and dessert.”
Ben: “Sure. Would you like me to make tapas? Maybe 4 or 5 small courses?”
Me: “Are you serious with that offer? I’m emailing the ladies in a hot second, so I really hope you’re serious!”
Thankfully, he didn’t take it back and my friends and I ate crazy amounts of delicious, bite-sized treats on our Mamas’ Night In. It was one of those great nights where you feel incredibly happy and incredibly lucky. Friends, food, and an adorable chef-hubby popping up every 30 minutes with yet another fancy dish.
I’ve already asked Ben several times to gift me “a night of tapas” for Mother’s Day next year.
Of course, we had to have dessert after tapas…
These cupcakes were my contribution to Mamas’ Night In and were inspired by a recipe I found on Love and Olive Oil, one of my favorite foodie blogs. I used Lindsay’s chocolate cupcake recipe, which I also used for my Chocolate Amaretto Cupcakes. It makes for a really moist, delicious cupcake and is…vegan! How about it!
Since these cupcakes were a special treat for my coolest friends, I wanted to go all out and stuff them with a minty, alcohol-laden, dark chocolate ganache. I added Creme de Menthe to a simple ganache recipe that requires no double boiler and has never failed me. Easy stuff.
Lastly, the buttercream frosting simply came to be in the moment. I knew I wanted my cupcakes to be two-toned with mint on one side and chocolate on the other. Extra ganache easily flavored half the frosting and Creme de Menthe took care of the other half.
It may look like a complex recipe, but each step is surprisingly easy. Just give yourself some time, sip a coffee as you go, and these cupcakes will come together in no time.
CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES – Love and Olive Oil
*Makes 12 cupcakes
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients: coconut milk, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Continue whisking until foamy.
4. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
5. Add dry ingredients to wet in two batches. Mix until little or no lumps remain.
6. Pour batter into liners, filling each with about 4 tablespoons of batter.
7. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick tester comes out clean.
8. Wait 10 minutes before gently transferring cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.
CREME DE MENTHE DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE – Inspired by Smitten Kitchen
*Makes enough to stuff 12 cupcakes and flavor half the buttecream
1. Chop chocolate and place a heatproof bowl.
2. Heat cream until simmering and pour over the chocolate.
3. Let mixture sit for 1 minute and then stir until smooth. If you’re still seeing chocolate chunks after stirring a bit, try microwaving the mixture for 15 seconds and then continue stirring. Repeat until mixture is smooth. Be careful not to burn your chocolate in the micro!
4. Add the butter and Creme de Menthe and stir until combined.
5. Let mixture sit at room temperature until thickened to a nice pipe-able consistency. If you want your ganache to thicken up faster, toss the ganache in the fridge, making certain to stir every 10 minutes so it doesn’t become overly thick.
CREME DE MENTHE & DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE BUTTERCREAM – Make Me Cake Me
*Makes enough to generously swirl frosting on 12 cupcakes
1/2 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon Creme de Menthe
2 tablespoons milk
green food coloring, optional
1. Cream butter until smooth and fluffy (Kitchenaid #4, 3-5 minutes).
2. Add powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time, adding milk as necessary, until light and fluffy (Kitchenaid #4, 3-5 minutes).
3. Set aside half the frosting, keeping half in your mixer bowl.
4. Mix in Creme de Menthe to taste and a touch of green food coloring, if desired.
5. Scoop out Creme de Menthe frosting and set aside. Add plain frosting back into bowl. Don’t bother to wash it clean. Just scoop it right back in.
6. Add a scant 1/4 of ganache to buttercream. Mix until well combined and smooth.
1. Grab your cooled cupcakes and a paring knife. Use your knife to dig out little cupcakes wells, about 2/3 of the way down. As Deb at Smitten Kitchen says, these are your “testers.”
2. Put your ganache in a piping bag (I used a #12 tip but any would work fine) and pipe your wells full. Don’t be stingy with the ganache. I’ve found folks lurve that ganache filling! Alternatively, you could grab a wee little spoon and gently scoop your ganache in the wells. This is faster, but a little messier. Remember to lick your fingers often.
3. Now grab your buttercreams, a piping bag fitted with a 1M tip, and your adorably stuffed cupcakes. Swirl the frosting on each cupcake and top with an Andes Mint, cut in half on the diagonal.