What's Baking: Lemon Cupcakes with Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache Frosting

I have never made a chocolate ganache icing before, but the first recipe that came to mind when taste-testing the Ghirardelli Luxe milk chocolates was that the hazelnut flavor would make a great icing ingredient. (Let's face it, I was also jonesing for some cupcakes, too.) I managed to find a small batch cupcake recipe (because, um, I really don't need one or two dozen cupcakes laying around the house) and made a few changes to make the recipe my own. I figured the light citrus flavor would meld well with the chocolate ganache icing; turns out I was right!

Lemon Cupcakes (printer-friendly version)
makes six cupcakes

1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup organic pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup raw sugar
1 farm egg
2 tablespoons organic heavy cream
2 tablespoons organic skim milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Add six liners to a cupcake tin. Set aside.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, use a whisk to mix together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
4. Stir together the heavy cream, milk, and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Set aside.
5. Cream together the butter and sugar using an electric mixer. Continue mixing until the mixture is light yellow to white in color. Beat in the egg just until combined.
6. Add in the cream mixture and continue mixing until combined.
7. Add in the dry ingredients in small batches, stirring between additions. Gently stir in the lemon zest. Do not overmix.
8. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners. Pour water into the empty cupcake holders.
9. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
10. Cool on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before icing.

(adapted from this recipe)

Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache
makes enough to frost six cupcakes

3 oz Ghirardelli Luxe Milk Hazelnut bar
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon organic heavy cream

1. Chop the chocolate bar into small pieces.
2. Bring the heavy cream to a boil over medium-high heat in a small saucepan.
3. Once the cream begins to boil, turn off the heat and stir in the chocolate. Continue stirring until the chocolate is completely melted.
4. Let the ganache cool for at least 15-20 minutes to allow it to thicken up.
5. When the ganache has thickened, spoon it over each cupcake. (To avoid making a big mess, put the cupcakes on a wire rack with a paper towel underneath it.)