Chocolate cupcakes with Salted Caramel Chocolate Ganache

by Shumaila

“Johnny, Johnny
Yes, papa,
Eating sugar?
No, papa
Telling lies?
No, papa
Open your mouth
Ha! ha! Ha!”

It’s my dad’s birthday today!

Yup, while the whole of America celebrates their Independence Day, we, the Chauhan family, celebrate my dad’s birthday.

My dad’s name is Johnny. It’s actually Jasvinder. Johnny’s the name that his course mates gave him. I can totally imagine my dad as the boy in the rhyme. He was a chubby kid, lost weight during his NDA days, but then put it back on, later in his life and weighs quite a lot these days. (Don’t worry Papa, I am not telling anyone how much you weigh)

Its not that he doesn’t exercise. Oh! Poor thing! he exercises and tries so hard, but like me, he has this love affair with food that he just can’t break. Unlike me, though, he doesn’t snack, but, when he eats his meals, the portions are pretty big. The main damage though, happens when he is invited to someone’s house for dinner. He is every hostess’ dream- he will for sure be going for seconds and as a result ends up putting on weight!

He loves food. Loves trying out new stuff. If its raining outside, he will always tell my Mom, wishfully, to make pakodas (fried Indian goodness and of course,fattening!)

He also needs something sweet after every meal. Its his way to know that the meal is over.

This time when I was in India, I taught him how to use the bread machine. So, these days he loves making his own bread, and then eating it too!

I have never seen my dad sick (touch wood!)- barring this one time when he had a slight fever and cold (and of course when he had his ejection). Seeing him unwell I had tears- I guess one always thinks of their dad’s as invincible and don’t realize they too are normal human beings.

And of course, like any daughter, I think my dad is the best (no offense to everyone else’s dad). I’m of course, biased but had I been an outside spectator and a judge of my dad as a dad he would have got top marks for the job he does!

You tell my dad that something is to be done, even if you just mention it casually to him, and though you might forget, he for sure would remember and do it for you. Something he gets from his father. My grandfather is a really efficient man and so is my Dad. Every wish of ours has always been their command.

He has always given me whatever I have asked for, and remarkably, not making me a spoilt kid in the process. He, along with my mother, has kept both my brother and me grounded and I will always be thankful to them for that!

I am really proud of him. Hope one day I can give him the same feeling too- of being proud of me!

He is my guide, my mentor, and my hero.

Happy birthday, papa.

Wish you many many more healthy ones!

This one’s for you!


Chocolate cupcakes with Salted Caramel Ganache

This recipe is a combination of two recipes. The recipe for the cupcakes is from bon appetit. The frosting recipe is adapted from Anne Thornton’s recipe for Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Cake.

The batter for the cupcakes will be thin so do not worry. Fill the cupcake pans only 2/3 full as they will rise while baking. V loved the cupcakes and so did I.
The caramel making is a bit tricky so do keep an eye on it as soon as the sugar starts turning pale yellow.
This recipe yields 24 cupcakes. The frosting yields more than what would be required for 24 cupcakes. Store leftover frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator or eat it with a spoon just like that!

FOR CUPCAKES

makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee

Directions

  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of each with parchment paper; butter paper and dust pan with flour.
  2. Sift sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into large bowl. Add milk, eggs, and melted butter. Using electric mixer, beat at low speed until blended. Increase speed and beat 2 minutes. Stir 1 cup hot water and espresso powder in small bowl to dissolve. Add to batter; beat until blended (batter will be thin).
  3. Spoon into muffin pans lined with parchment paper. Fill only 2/3rd.

DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep in airtight container and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

SALTED CARMEL CHOCOLATE GANACHE

Ingredients

  • 18 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks room temperature unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • Sea salt flakes (recommended: Maldon) (optional)

Directions

  1. Put your chocolates in a big bowl.
  2. Put the sugar and 1/2 water in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and bring up to a boil. As soon that happens, stop stirring and let it boil until it turns an amber color, 8 to 10 minutes or so. (If you think that it needs another stir, brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush, and stir the entire mixture, picking up the pot itself by the handle, being careful not to touch the caramel or else it could crystallize.)
  3. Once the mixture reaches that dark amber color, turn the heat down.
  4. Stand back from the pot and add the cream very slowly, stirring with a heatproof spatula. (If you are nervous about the steam, wear a kitchen glove to protect your hand.) Continue to stir until all is incorporated.
  5. Once the mixture is smooth, stir in the fine salt.
  6. Take off the heat and pour the caramel over the bowl of chocolate.
  7. Whisk to combine, making sure all the chocolate melts. Pop in the fridge for about 1 hour until completely chilled.
  8. Take the frosting out of the fridge and beat it with a hand mixer just until it becomes spreadable.
  9. Add the butter in pieces and mix until it’s all combined. Pop back into the refrigerator for another hour.
  10. Frost on cupcakes!