2Tbspunsalted buttercut into small pieces and allowed to soften
Make the Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 F and line 22 muffin cups with paper or silicone liners. (this recipe makes 20-22)
In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until blended.
Beat butter until creamy, slowly add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Beat in vanilla extract.
With mixer on low speed, alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, until just blended. Beat on medium speed for an additional minute to aerate the batter.
Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup. Bake 15 to 18 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack to cool completely.
Whisk together dry pudding mix with milk and vanilla extract. Chill until thickened.
Slice the top off of each cupcake. Remove pudding from fridge and whisk again to make smooth, it should be thick. Spread about one tablespoon of pudding onto the cupcake bottom, then replace the top.
Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the heavy cream in the microwave until hot, about 60-75 seconds. Pour hot cream over the chocolate. Wiggle the bowl to be sure all chocolate is in the hot cream. Let sit for two minutes. Stir chocolate and cream until completely blended then stir in the softened butter cubes until butter disappears and mixture is smooth.
Add about a tablespoon or so of ganache to the top of the cupcake. Allow it to spread, add more or help it along by spreading the ganache across the top a bit.
Allow ganache to set before serving.
This recipe makes roughly 20-22 cupcakes. You could probably stretch it to 24 if you wish.
If you don't have buttermilk on hand, put one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add enough regular milk to the measuring cup to equal one-cup. Stir, then allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
If you like, you can use a yellow cake mix instead of the cupcake recipe above. However, cake mix sets up soft and a bit crumbly. The from-scratch recipe above holds up well to slicing. If using a cake mix, be sure to chill the cupcakes in the fridge for a couple hours before cutting so they don't fall apart.
Do not follow the instructions on the back of the instant pudding box. All the ingredients you need are listed in this recipe. We use a little bit less milk than the box directs so that the filling will be thick.
Make the ganache last, after you've cut the tops off all the cupcakes, so that it doesn't thicken or harden while it sits.
For the ganache, be sure to soften the butter pieces so they will melt easier when added to the chocolate. If you have stubborn pieces of butter after continuous stirring you can heat the mixture in the microwave for short 5 second bursts. Be careful, you don't want to overheat the chocolate which could cause it to sieze up.