Thursday, December 9, 2010
After taking the summer off I decided to give the Iron Cupcake Challenge one more go. The theme this month was Germany. I scoured various sites trying to find out what Germany is known for, besides beer and bratwurst, and I found quite a few different things. The one recipe that seemed to stand out to me though was Black Forest Cake. I love chocolate, I love cherries, and I love whipped cream! What could be better than the three of them combined and all wrapped up in a cute little package.
I found a recipe on a site that I have frequented before so I figured I couldn't go wrong with her recipe. Well, that might not have been true. It's not that the recipe was bad, it's just that it wasn't really great. For some reason the cupcakes just tasted kind of ho-hum to me, and that's even after I brushed some of the cherry liqueur on the top of the cupcake as well as using a dropper to drip it into the cherry filling. My biggest dilemma now is what to do with the other 374 mL of Kirschwasser Cherry Brandy. Hmmmm . . .
I did enjoy my first experience with using the cone method to fill a cupcake! It was especially fun to try it on a mini cupcake since there isn't much room for error. All in all the cupcakes went together smoothly, if not a bit time consuming, but the overall taste just wasn't what I was hoping for. Maybe next time. You might find you enjoy them more than I did!
Black Forest Cupcakes
Source: Annie's Eats
For the cake:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. espresso powder
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups buttermilk
For the filling:
1 lb. fresh cherries, washed, pitted and destemmed
2 tbsp. sugar
Maraschino cherry juice or cherry liqueur
For the frosting:
1¼ cups heavy cream
6-7 tbsp. sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Fresh (or maraschino) cherries, with stems
2 tbsp. sugar
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line wells of cupcake pans with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder together; whisk to blend, and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients in three additions alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix each addition just until incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ of the way full. Bake 10-12 minutes for mini cupcakes or 18-20 minutes for full-size cupcakes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the filling, add the fresh pitted cherries to a bowl. Mash with a wooden spoon or potato masher until the cherries are no longer completely intact. Mix in the sugar and toss to coat the fruit.
To fill the cupcakes, use the cone method to remove a portion from the center of each cupcake. Spoon in about 2-3 cherries. Drizzle some maraschino cherry juice (or cherry liqueur) over the fruit. (Additionally, this can be brushed over the edges of the cupcake to further deepen the cherry flavor.)
To make the whipped cream frosting, add the heavy cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start beating on medium-low speed, slowly increasing as the cream begins to thicken up to medium-high speed. While the cream is being whipped, gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar a spoonful at a time. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. (Be careful not to overbeat!) Fold in the vanilla extract.
Frost the filled cupcakes with the whipped cream. Garnish as desired with a cherry and chocolate shavings. Refrigerate until ready to serve.