• Heat oven to 350°. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Sift first 6 ingredients into a large bowl. Add eggs, 3/4 cup warm water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla; mix until smooth.

  • Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 min. Transfer cupcakes to a rack and let cool.

  • Meanwhile, make glaze: Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium. Place chocolate and corn syrup in a small bowl. Pour cream over chocolate mixture and let stand 2 min. Whisk until smooth.

  • Dip tops of cupcakes into glaze, shaking off any excess. Let set 10 min.

  • Make icing: Whip butter in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar until incorporated. Add milk and whip until fluffy. (If too stiff, add more milk.) Place in a pastry bag with a small round tip. Write messages on cupcakes. Makes 2 dozen.

Tips for Working with Ganache and a Piping Bag

  • There are two ways to thin out your ganache frosting if it gets too thick: Try stirring in a little warm heavy cream until it loosens up, or gently reheat it in a double boiler set over simmering water, stirring until smooth.

  • To get neat lettering on the cupcakes, skip that fourth cup of coffee! Also, pick up a small writing tip (the smaller the opening, the better). For simple squiggles, snip a small corner off a quart-size plastic bag and go nuts.

Nutrition Facts

182 calories; 8 g total fat; 169 mg sodium. 27 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein;