Recipe Review

This 1 Ingredient Totally Ruins Ina’s Chocolate Cupcakes (I’ll Never Make Them Again)

updated Feb 9, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

It’s no secret how much we love Ina over here at Kitchn, and we’re perhaps most vocal about our love for her chocolate cake. Considering it’s the birthday cake of choice among many of our staffers and took home top prize in our chocolate cake showdown, it was a no-brainer to include her cupcakes in our chocolate cupcake showdown.

Ina’s chocolate cupcake recipe intrigued me right from the start. Instead of cocoa powder, she uses Hershey’s chocolate syrup to add chocolate flavor. Interestingly, she also omits baking soda or baking powder, and instead of a fluffy buttercream she frosts them in a smooth chocolate ganache. Overall, I appreciated her concise grocery list and that I already had most of items on hand, so I was pulling for this recipe to be a winner.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

How to Make Ina’s Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

You’ll begin by creaming the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, followed by the chocolate syrup and vanilla extract. Carefully mix in the flour and instant coffee and continue mixing until just combined.

Spoon the batter into lined muffin cups. Bake for 30 minutes, or until firm in the middle, and be sure not to overbake. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan.

In a double boiler (or pot set over simmering water), cook the heavy cream, semisweet chocolate chips, and instant coffee until smooth. Dip the top of the cupcakes into the ganache or spoon the ganache over the top. That’s it!

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

My Honest Review of Ina’s Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

Sadly, I was not a fan of these chocolate ganache cupcakes. The texture was all wrong. They were incredibly dense, but not in a fudgy way — just very dry and heavy. The lack of any leavening agent proved to be a huge issue: A bit of baking powder could have given them a lift, preventing them from being so hockey puck-like.

Even the flavor (or lack thereof) couldn’t save them. Ina’s cupcakes taste like Hershey’s syrup with a little instant coffee drizzled in, and that’s it. Usually, the addition of coffee in chocolate desserts is a match made in heaven, but the chocolate syrup doesn’t have a deep-enough flavor to balance out the coffee here. This recipe is also desperately in need of salt. Even just the slightest bit would have helped give them more dimension.

I will say that the chocolate ganache was smooth, tasted good, and cooled really nicely on the cupcakes, so the recipe does get a few points for that. But honestly, if you want to make a cupcake from Ina, I would just turn her Beatty’s chocolate cake into cupcakes.

Credit: Nicole Rufus

If You’re Making Ina’s Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes, a Few Tips

  1. Use dark chocolate. Opt for the dark chocolate version of whatever chocolate syrup you end up choosing. It will give the cake more depth of flavor and help balance out the coffee.
  2. Salt is your friend. This recipe needs a pinch of salt for flavor. Do yourself a favor and add it to your dry ingredients.
  3. Don’t skip the leavening agent. Adding about a teaspoon of baking powder to the dry ingredients would help make these fluffier and less dense.

Rating: 5/10

Have you tried Ina Garten’s chocolate ganache cupcake recipe? Tell us what you thought in the comments!