Godfather Cupcakes

This image courtesy of Scott Goodwin

Editor's Note: These cupcakes were created as a Father's Day treat. They feature more manly ingredients. Italiano style, which include a delicious chocolate cake with espresso cream for its filling. The espresso gives it a bolder taste. To liven it up on top we add some delectable ganache, with a dab of sambuca whipped cream. Coffee-loving dads and those dads just looking for a more prominent taste in their desserts will love this combination of ingredients. Even the "Godfather" in Italy would not be able to resist this dessert fit for a king. 

Originally designed for a Father’s Day segment featuring “manly” cupcakes and inspired by the cinema classic The Godfather, this cupcake “Italiano” features a chocolate cake to die for, filled with espresso cream and topped with ganache and a touch of sambuca whipped cream -- a flavor combination you can’t refuse.

Makes18 standard-size cupcakes

Cooking MethodBaking


Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionBuffet, Family Get-together

Recipe CourseDessert

Dietary ConsiderationPeanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegetarian

EquipmentElectric Mixer

Taste and TextureRich, Sweet

Type of DishCake, Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Dessert, Dessert


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups chocolate chips, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup sambuca or anisette
  • 18 chocolate-covered espresso beans, for garnish


  1. Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light. Add the eggs and mix until well blended.

  4. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the egg mixture alternately with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour.

  5. Fill the lined cupcake pans two-thirds full with the batter.

  6. Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with a fine crumb.

  7. Remove the pans from the oven. Carefully remove the cupcakes from the pans and transfer to wire racks to cool. Cool completely before filling and frosting.

  8. Make the filling: In a small bowl, add the boiling water to the instant coffee. Set aside.

  9. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer), whip the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and coffee mixture and continue to whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Use immediately.

  10. Make the ganache: In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream until it is simmering, but not boiling, stirring constantly. Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and stir to blend. Stir in the butter and continue to stir until the mixture resembles thick pudding. Use immediately or store, refrigerated, in an airtight container. To reheat the ganache, heat it in a double boiler or in a stainless-steel bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth.

  11. Make the sambuca cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer), whip the cream on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and sambuca, and continue to whip until stiff. Use immediately.

  12. Assemble the cupcakes:  Fill a pastry bag with the espresso cream. Cut off the tip of the pastry bag to make a small opening. Insert the tip of the bag into the center of the cupcake and squeeze to release the filling. Repeat to fill all the cupcakes. Dip the tops of the cupcakes in the ganache. Fill another pastry bag fitted with a star tip, if desired, with the sambuca cream. Pipe a star of the cream onto the center of the cupcake. Top each with a chocolate-covered espresso bean.


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