The Surprising Ingredient In Ina Garten's Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

If you are looking for a good chocolate cake recipe, most bloggers and cooking sites say you need not go any further than Ina Garten's Beatty's chocolate cake, which is widely shared (and re-shared) online. The cake is named after the grandmother of Michael Grim, a regular on Garten's "Barefoot Contessa" and calls for the use of what Garten calls "good cocoa powder" and "good semisweet chocolate" — which is where her go-to brand, Callebaut, comes in (via Chewing the Fat). 

While most cooks and cookbooks would simply recommend repartitioning the batter to make chocolate cupcakes, the Barefoot Contessa instead puts forward a different recipe, calling for a different kind of chocolate for her chocolate ganache cupcakes. The recommendation is raising eyebrows simply because it's such a departure from her recommended use of Callebaut and cocoa powder. For her cupcakes, Garten recommends the use of Hershey's chocolate syrup — the same liquid that you add to your chocolate milk, and which contains high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, cocoa, and sugar, among other ingredients (via Walmart). But what motivated this decision?

Ina Garten's cupcakes call for Hershey's chocolate syrup

The use of Hershey's chocolate syrup to make cakes and cookies isn't a novel idea. In fact, the ingredient is the star player in Hershey's one-bowl chocolate cake. But Ina Garten's decision to use a decidedly more commercial syrup than her go-to Callebaut raised eyebrows, particularly those at The Kitchn, which elected to test the cupcake recipe. 

Writer Nicole Rufus takes the reader on a step-by-step journey on how to make the cupcakes (which also stand out because they don't have any leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder), before she proclaims that she's not a fan because the cupcakes didn't have any lift, and because it tasted of Hershey's syrup and instant coffee, which is also listed as an ingredient. In the end, she recommends using dark chocolate, and adding both salt and baking powder.

We are sure Garten had her reasons for choosing not to turn Beatty's chocolate cake into Beatty's chocolate cupcakes with ganache, just as we are certain these decidedly different chocolate ganache cupcakes have many fans who swear by them. Any solid chocolate cake recipe is worth a try.