I made Chocolate Wasabi Ganache Cupcakes on Wednesday, and they turned out awesome.
For the cake itself, I used a recipe off an old Droste cocoa box that's lurking in the pantry, and then I added some wasabi powder to the recipe for Cook's Illustrated's ganache-filled cupcakes from this year's May issue. (I think it was May, anyway.) And for the ganache frosting, I just did a very, very simple chocolate-and-heavy-cream mixture that turned out great. I even took pictures! But then I managed to delete them while attempting to transfer them from my camera to my computer. Oops. You'll just have to make your own to see how gorgeous they are when they're finished.
Chocolate Wasabi Ganache Cupcakes
3/4 c boiling water
3/4 c high-quality dark cocoa powder
1 c buttermilk
2 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c butter, softened
2 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350* F.
2. Pour boiling water over cocoa to dissolve; whisk until smooth. Stir in buttermilk and set aside to cool.
3. Stir together the dry ingredients (minus the sugar, of course), and set aside.
4. Mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. (You can use an electric mixer, but I usually do this by hand. It seems to work just fine.) Stir in vanilla.
4. Beat dry ingredients into butter mixture, alternating with the chocolate mixture.
5. Pour into paper cup-lined muffin pans (leave a bit of space at the top, but these won't rise too much), drop 1 tsp. of ganache onto the top of each, and bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 30 cupcakes, depending.
The Chocolate Wasabi Ganache
4 oz. high-quality dark chocolate (60-72% recommended), in pieces
1/2 c heavy cream
2 Tbs confectioners' sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp wasabi powder (I use Ninja Wasabi Powder from New Zealand. Please note that if you use the lesser amount, the wasabi flavor will be subtle, and some people won't be able to taste it. If you use the greater amount, more people will be able to taste it, but the chocolate might take on a strangely stale, chalky flavor -- too much wasabi in chocolate does that. You might do well to split the difference at 3/8 tsp, which is what I used.)
1. Drop the chocolate, cream, and sugar in a small glass bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth after you've stirred it a bit.
2. Add the wasabi powder; stir to incorporate fully (and remember, the wasabi taste will be a bit stronger when the ganache is cool, so if you can't taste the wasabi very much when the ganache is warm, it's probably just perfect).
3. Set aside to cool (while you make the cake batter). When the batter is poured, drop about 1 tsp of ganache on the top of each cupcake before baking.
4. If there's any ganache left over, eat it up with a spoon. NOM!
The Ganache Frosting
8 oz. high-quality dark chocolate (60-72% is good)
1/2 plus 2 Tbs heavy cream (you can go up to 3/4 c heavy cream if you want a much softer frosting, but remember that it won't hold up as well at room temperature)
1. Melt the chocolate and cream in a microwave in 30-second intervals until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth after you've stirred it a bit.
2. Dip the top of each cupcake in the ganache and swirl around a bit to completely coat each one with the ganache frosting. Set aside to cool a bit and let the frosting begin to harden a little, then store in an airtight container in the fridge until you're ready to eat. Rejoice in the awesomeness of your endeavor.
Note: You can also make these with a chocolate cinnamon, chocolate mint, orange chocolate, or raspberry chocolate ganache filling (and/or frosting, too). Hell, you could make them with pretty much any flavor ganache filling and frosting. In fact, Chocolate Guinness might be awesome, now that I'm thinking about it ...