I've discovered a new advantage of bringing sweets to work:
People love me.
It's a win-win situation really. I bring co-workers delicious treats and they prevent my gut/butt from getting too big.
There's only two downsides to this situation though:
(1) I need to keep bringing desserts to keep people happy. And sometimes I need to barter cookies for IT help. But hey, it's not biggie. Just keeps me on my game.
(2) I need to bring desserts that are easy to share. When I was in the lab I'd only be serving ~16 people, so cupcakes and cakes work really well. But at the museum there's a lot more people, so I like to bring things that can be more easily shared. Like cookies and bars and MINI cupcakes.
Yes, I actually bought mini cupcake pans specifically to bring treats to work. And a few weeks ago I got to try them out for the first time.
I had some heavy cream in the fridge that I wanted to use up, which inspired my mini-mocha cupcakes with whipped ganache frosting.
You'll notice that the cupcakes have little pink flowers on them. It really wasn't for any particular reason, other than the fact that the cake decorator in me couldn't serve them nekked. But I also didn't want to spend forever on some decorations. So what to do?
Mini flower cutters to the rescue! Aren't they adorable?!
If you make these cupcakes at home I'm just going to warn you that the filling is very very wet. Like a thick chocolate sauce really.
The best part about that though is that it makes filling over 50 cupcake papers very easy. Just pour the batter in a measuring cup with a spout and pour away. Faster and less messy.
After a quick trip in the oven, some simple piping and a few flowers they're allllll done.
The frosting is amazing: enough said.
As far as the cakes go, they were quite good. My favorite cupcakes are the dark chocolate cupcakes recipe from Cooks Illustrated, but those are sooooo amazing nothing has ever come close. But these are a delicious, moist and tender cake. And because they're light and aren't super sweet (bonus in my book) they pair well with rich and thick ganache frosting. Although you can taste the coffee in the batter, once they cook the coffee flavor is less pronounced. So if you'd want these suckers to have a more mocha flavor, I'd pair them with a coffee buttercream frosting vs. ganache.
Mini Mocha Cupcakes with Whipped Ganache Frosting Cake adapted from Tasty Kitchen and frosting from Cooks Illustrated
1-½ cup Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
½ teaspoons Baking Soda
½ teaspoons Salt
8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
¾ cups Cocoa Powder
1 cup Strong Brewed Coffee
1 cup Buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 TBSP lemon juice or vinegar, allowed to sit for 10 minutes)
1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 cup Granulated Sugar
2 whole Large Eggs
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line mini muffin pans with paper tins.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
3. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cocoa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Off heat, whisk in the coffee, buttermilk, and sugars until dissolved. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, then slowly whisk in the in the flour mixture until no streaks remain. (The batter will be very wet, like a thick chocolate sauce.)
4. Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it is thoroughly combined. Using a small scoop or cup with spout, pour batter into each individual mini muffin tin, filling till almost full (~1/4" from the top).
5. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean with a few crumbs attached, about 9-12 minutes (mine took closer to 15 minutes), rotating pan halfway through baking.
6. Let the cupcakes cool for 8-10 minutes in pans and set out onto a wired wrack and let cool for about 1 hour.
Makes about 55-60 mini cupcakes.
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate , chopped
1. Bring cream to boil in medium saucepan or in microwave. Remove from heat. Add chocolate to the saucepan, cover with foil and let stand 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool and slightly firm, 45 minutes to 1 hour.*
2. Transfer cooled chocolate mixture to bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment; whip mixture at medium speed until fluffy and mousse-like and forms medium-stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. It will have the consistency of a buttercream frosting.
*Note: if you leave it longer and the ganache gets too hard, you can defrost it in the microwave until it is soft enough to be whipped.