For the cupcakes: Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line your cupcake tins with paper cases.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well to combine
In a separate bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the melted butter and both sugars until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl each time and beating well after each. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture. Stir through gently until just combined. Now add half of the buttermilk, Mix gently on low again. Continue until all the flour and buttermilk is combined. It is important not to overmix or be too heavy handed otherwise your cupcakes will turn out dense and tough.
Fill the cupcake cases only to about half full. Bake in the oven for around 18 minutes, turning the pan around in the oven half way through to make sure they bake evenly. When a toothpick inserted comes out with just a crumb or two, they are done.
Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Cut a teaspoon sized hole in the top of each cupcake
For the ganache: Heat the cream over low heat until it starts to steam then pour over the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Allow to sit for a few minutes before stirring to a smooth ganache. If the chocolate doesn’t melt completely, just place the ganache in the microwave for 10 seconds and stir again. It should then be perfect.
Fill the holes in the cupcakes with ganache.
For the buttercream: In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 8 minutes (yes, that long. We’re going for whipped butter here). Scrape down the sides half way through then continue beating until it’s soft and lightened in colour.
With the mixer on low, add the sugar 1 spoon at a time until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the salt, vanilla and cream and beat for 5 minutes at medium speed until it looks light and thick and whipped.
Top the cupcakes and serve.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, pipe on your buttercream.
Top with all the toppings and serve
I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (= 4 teaspoons worldwide)
These cupcakes freeze well, so go ahead and place the ones you don’t need in the freezer for another time. Make sure to wrap them well to keep the air (and hence frost) out. Wrap in one big bundle with a small piece of baking paper on top of each one, in aluminium foil. Then wrap the whole lot well in plastic wrap or in a well sealed, air free, snap-lock bag.
For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).