Notes from the Test Kitchen:
These cupcakes are WONDERFUL! This recipe is done completely from scratch and you sure can taste the difference. These take a little time and TLC during preparation, but I think you'll find the effort is well worth it!
CAKE: Preheat oven to 350 and line your cupcake tins. Beat 4 eggs in a bowl, gradually adding sugar, until well incorporated (takes about 4-5 minutes). Add vanilla extract and blend until well incorporated. Gradually add the flour.
Heat one cup of milk and the butter until the butter is melted. Add to batter and mix well.
Use 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop the batter into the cupcake tins. Bake for 11-12 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely.
GANACHE: Place chocolate in separate bowl. Heat one cup of heavy cream on the stove until it comes to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, pour over the chocolate. Stir until well combined, then refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes, until the mixture becomes slightly thick.
PASTRY CREAM: While the ganache is chilling, start on your pastry cream. In a mixing bowl, combine cornstarch and remaining sugar. Whisk in 1/2 cup milk. Using a wooden spoon, blend the four lightly beaten egg yolks into the cornstarch and sugar mixture. Stir until completely smooth.
In a sauce pan or pot, heat remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Bring to a simmer (do not boil) and remove the pan from the heat. Temper egg mixture by gradually drizzling in the hot milk, whisking constantly.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and continue cooking over low-medium heat, vigorously stirring with the whisk until the mixture comes to a boil and the whisk leaves a trail in the pastry cream. (It will take a little while to come to a boil – about 5 minutes.)
Remove from the heat as soon as you reach that consistency (if you leave on a stove too long, it won’t be soft and creamy pasty cream). Add vanilla extract and remaining butter. Stir well until well blended.
Cover the pastry cream surface with plastic wrap and put into the fridge until the pastry cream is cool - about 15 minutes.
ASSEMBLE: Once cupcakes are cooled, cut a circle out of the top of the cupcake and scoop just a little bit out of the cupcake center. (Keep the top the circle you cut out.)
Fill the cupcake with the pastry cream, put the top back on the cupcake and top with ganache. Enjoy!