Dark Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

A rich, chocolate-lover's dessert: moist dark chocolate espresso cupcakes topped with a light and silky espresso ganache.

  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x



Whipped Espresso Ganache


  • 2 7/8 ounces (2/3 cup, spoon and level) all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/8 ounces (2/3 cup) good-quality cocoa powder (not dutch-process)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) canola/vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, room temperature*
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) espresso or strongly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Ghirardelli Valentine's Day Impressions
  • raw (demerara) sugar


Whipped Espresso Ganache

  1. Place the chocolate in a large, heat-safe bowl and set aside.
  2. In a separate, microwave-safe bowl, mix together the cream and espresso/coffee. Microwave until just coming to a boil, about 1 1/2-2 minutes.
  3. Pour liquid over chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool completely, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, make cupcakes.


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, egg, espresso/coffee and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir/fold in just until evenly incorporated; batter does not need to be perfectly smooth.
  5. Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 of the way, to make 11-12 cupcakes.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes in pan, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Whipped Espresso Ganache (continued)

  1. Transfer cooled ganache to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment (or use a bowl and handheld electric mixer). Beat on medium-high speed just until thickened and paler in color, wiping down bowl and beater occasionally. Be careful not to overbeat.
  2. Immediatley transfer whipped ganache to a piping bag fitted with a large tip (I used an Ateco #827 open star tip) and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Press a Ghirardelli Valentine's Day Impression into the top of each and sprinkle ganache with demerara sugar.
  3. Store cupcakes in an airtight container. These should be fine kept out for a couple hours at cool room temperature, but otherwise should be refrigerated.


*To quickly bring an egg to room temperature, place in a bowl and cover with warm water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before using.