Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache and Strawberries

Here are a 5 incredibly good reasons cupcakes will be enternally loved and adored:

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1. They are little individualized cups of delights that are already portioned out so that you know when to stop....or to get up and get another one.

2. They are damn cute in their shrunken, miniaturized cake adorableness.

3. There is no wrong way to eat a cupcake and everyone has their own interesting style and philosophy to eating one.  I like to randomly ask people how they eat their cupcakes. It tells a lot about a person.

4. No knife, fork, or plate is required. Just a hand to insert a cupcake into your face and a dog to clean the crumbs off the floor (or toddler, whichever is handy).

5. Um, guys...they are made out of cake. So, yeah, cake pretty much seals the deal. 

 

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Here is what I don't like about cupcakes. They've kind of gotten a bad rap as something that has to be loaded with refined sugars, fats, and even chemicals. I feel like a lot of people have resigned themselves that just being part of a cupcake. Poor cupcakes.  

My inspiration for this recipe is easy to explain: necessity. Alice is a regular ol' kiddo who loves her sweets, but especially cupcakes. And honestly, I love them too. Ken doesn't seem to mind when they are kicking around the house either. So, I wanted to have a really good cupcake recipe I could go to when the need (or craving) struck.

 

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Now, folks. These are not magical cupcakes. They are still regular old cupcakes that are just made with cleaner, healthier ingredients. So, by no means should you be living off of these (though we are all allowed to dream). But, if you are going to have an occasional cupcake...have one of these. 

For Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup almond milk 

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and arrange liners in a 12 hold muffin tin.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. Stir in almond milk and water.

4. Stir in apple cinder vinegar and vanilla extract. Mix well until batter and smooth. 

5. Fill each muffin hole with 1/4 cup of batter.  

6. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick insterted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing cupcakes and transfering them to a wire rack to cool completely. 

 

For Ganache and Strawberry Topping

5 oz. dark chocolate

1/4 cup almond or coconut milk

 6 fresh, ripe straberries, halved lengthwise 

1. Chop chocolate into small pieces (1/4 of an inch or smaller). This will help the melting process.

2. Place chocolate into a double boiler or small sauce pan.  

3. Over low heat, stir the chocolate with a whisk until they just start to melt. Slowly stir in milk and continue to stir until ganache is smooth and all the chocolate chunks have melted . Remove from heat. 

4. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, spoon 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of ganache a top each cupcake and top with a halved strawberry.