3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate baking chips
2 tablespoons brewed espresso
3 1/3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 cup cocoa
High-quality maraschino cherries, such as Luxardo, for filling
Crushed espresso beans, for sprinkling
For the cake batter: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F; line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners.
Sift together the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract, egg and 6 tablespoons water and mix until smooth and completely combined.
Pour the batter into the cupcake liners and bake until cooked through and risen, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.
For the ganache: In a small saucepan, heat the cream just until it begins to boil. Put the chocolate chips in a small bowl and pour in the cream and espresso. Stir until creamy.
For the chocolate frosting: In a medium mixing bowl using an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the confectioners' sugar 1/4 cup at a time, followed by the cocoa, and mix until completely smooth.
To assemble: Cut out the center of each cupcake with a paring knife and fill with some cherries. Smooth a layer of the melted ganache over each cupcake, and frost with the chocolate frosting. Sprinkle the cupcakes with crushed espresso beans to taste. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
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