Heart on My Sleeve: Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes with White Mint Chocolate

The angel's halo was slightly crooked. She possessed a stunning natural beauty, though her expression was bored. I watched from across the party, apprehensive to make conversation because pretty girls tend to be mean. A mutual friend introduced us. She stuck out her hand, smiled, and said warmly, "Hi, I'm Heather!" She giggled at my Pikachu ears. We were friends instantly. Halloween 2003.

She is my Richmond lover, rock, bf, and QP. She is one of the two people I tell my story to without edits or censorship. Her honesty and openness makes me turn red; she is a hopeless romantic and eternal optimist. Always with her heart on her sleeve- so I made her a simple cardigan to match. It's a refreshing dynamic.

I made these cupcakes for her moving-away picnic. I will effing miss you girl but it would be a sin to restrain that spirit. Safe travels! You know we'll be in touch! And don't worry, Jake's spirit is with you- he would follow you to the ends of the earth. I love you Heather Boo.

These cupcakes are simple and delicious. All you have to do is melt, mix, and stir things! Just make sure you give the topping the two hours it needs to chill in the fridge (or sneak it into the freezer to speed things up). They're essentially mini flourless cakes which translates to thick richness- hence the souffle part. They rise a little bit in the oven then sink down- don't worry- they're supposed to do that. There's no flour supporting the structure. Pure, unadulterated chocolate.

Topping these lovely cupcakes is white chocolate mixed with peppermint extract. It's not frosting, it's not really ganache either. The cool part is when you blend it a little bit and it begins to thicken up. I thought this was a very neat way to create a topping.

These cupcakes got punished. I actually doubled the recipe because it yields about 9 cupcakes. I came out with about 20 cupcakes. The awkward number is kinda nice- sometimes you don't need 12 cupcakes.

Best served warm to keep the gooey part of the souffle, but I made these a day before and people still loved them. Imagine them fresh out of the oven, a small serving of vanilla icecream on top instead of the white chocolate in the summer time? I can't wait!

Chocolate Soufflé Cupcakes
from Smitten Kitchen

6 ounces (170 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) (86 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) espresso or instant coffee powder
3 large eggs, separated
6 tablespoons (97 grams) sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

White Chocolate Mint Cream

2 ounces (56 grams) white chocolate, finely chopped
3 ounces heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract

Prep the white chocolate topping. Place the white chocolate in a small bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer, pour it over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute to melt the chocolate. Whisk well. Add the peppermint extract and whisk again. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the cream. Chill until very cold, about two hours.

Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9 standard-size (3-ounce) muffin cups with paper liners. Stir chocolate, butter and espresso powder together in heavy medium saucepan over low heat mostly melted, then remove from the heat and whisk until it is fully melted and smooth. (I like to put the butter underneath the chocolate in the pan, so that it protects the chocolate from the direct heat.) Cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.

Using an electric hand mixer, beat egg yolks and 3 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until mixture is very thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Briefly beat lukewarm chocolate mixture, then vanilla extract, into yolk mixture.

Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and all of the salt, beating until medium-firm peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. Divide batter among prepared cups, filling each three-fourths of the way.

Bake cakes until tops are puffed and dry to the touch (some may crack, embrace it) and a tester inserted into the centers comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a cooling rack, where the cupcakes will almost immediately start to fall. It will be all the better to put your mint cream on them.

Finish your masterpiece: Beat mint white chocolate cream with electric beaters until soft peaks form. Remove cupcakes from pan, arrange on a platter. Fill each sunken top with a healthy dollop of white chocolate mint cream. Top with shaved dark chocolate, if you’re feeling fancy.