The chocolate ganache topping is a divine finish on top of these cupcakes; it can be coated on with a knife or piped in an elegant pattern.






Skill level

Average: 2.9 (50 votes)


  • 20 ml (¾ fl oz/1 tbsp) espresso coffee or strong coffee
  • 65 g (2¼ oz) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 225 g (8 oz/1½ cups) self-raising flour
  • pinch of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • pinch of salt
  • 115 g (4 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 115 g (4 oz) soft brown sugar
  • 120 g (4½ oz/about 2) whole eggs
  • 115 g (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted
  • 140 g (5 oz) sour cream
  • 50 ml (1¾ fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 175 g (6 oz) good-quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 6 marshmallows
  • 70 g (2½ oz/ ¼ cup) crunchy peanut butter
  • 12 chewy caramels

Chocolate ganache topping

  • 250 g (9 oz/1⅔ cups) finely chopped good-quality milk chocolate
  • 120 ml (4 fl oz) cream (35% fat)


Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Ganache cooling time: 2 hours

1. For the chocolate cupcakes, preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F). Put the coffee, 20 ml (¾ fl oz/1 tablespoon)water and the cocoa powder in a bowl and stir to create a paste.

2. Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, followed by the coffee paste, melted butter, sour cream, vegetable oil and chopped milk chocolate.

3. Place 12 paper cases in a cupcake tin (or line the holes with baking paper). Cut the marshmallows in half and place a piece in each paper case. Place a small portion of peanut butter on top of each piece of marshmallow. Cut the chewy caramels into four pieces and place on top of the peanut butter in each paper case.

4. Evenly divide the chocolate cupcake batter into the cases on top of the fillings. Bake for 15–20 minutes. The cupcakes are ready when you gently tap the centre of the cake and it bounces back. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before removing them and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. Meanwhile, to make the chocolate ganache topping, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Put the cream in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate,whisking until combined. Put a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ganache and leave to set at room temperature for approximately 2 hours until it reaches a piping consistency.

6. Once the ganache has set, put it in a piping (icing) bag with a 1 cm ( ½ inch) star-shaped nozzle and pipe one swirl on top of each cupcake. (Alternatively, you can just spoon or spread the ganache on the cakes.) These cupcakes can keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe and image text from Chocolate by Kirsten Tibballs (Murdoch Books, RRP $49.99). Photography by Greg Elms.