Cupcake Series: Black Forest Cupcakes

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Hello at last!

So funny story: it turns out that at some point during the midst of my pre-finals bulk baking in preparation for the summer holidays abroad (and the general wrench in my baking schedule that is the semesterly tradition of making everything suddenly due at once), I thought to myself that it would be a smart idea to mark all of my posts, in which there were only photos and no actual text, as “private” until I got around to inserting said text. Well…guess who totally forgot she did that?

Yeah.

So for those of you who may have thought that I have fallen off of the face of the Earth (which is probably very few of you considering that the face of the Earth is rather difficult to fall off of – and if I could, that would neatly solve the dilemma of being unable to fly), I didn’t. I just forgot to mark the past two months of dessert-related endeavors as public.

Sorry about that.

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Anyway, without any further ado, it is once again cupcake week. For the month of June, we are enjoying the fruits of my very-overpriced-in-May labors of purchasing now seasonably appropriate cherries for the perfect black forest cake (or schwarzwälder kirschtorte in its native German). Unlike other versions which may feature Maraschino cherries (ew), these black forest cupcakes are made with real cherries of the unpreserved variety, along with freshly made cherry preserves (which, thankfully, taste like neither preserved cherries nor worse still, their artificially flavored, cough medicine-reminiscent counterparts).

It’s also all the fun of a real cake minus the commitment of eating an entire cake because it’s much easier to foist off individual cupcakes than questionable pre-cut slices. Although in this case, you may not be inclined to give any away.

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But seriously, back to the amazing cherry preserves. They have single-handedly converted my cooked-cherry-hating mother to magic of properly made cherry fillings, which is a pretty remarkable victory in and of itself. I would cheerfully make a triple batch to eat with a spoon, and I don’t say that lightly – in spite of all of my insinuations about eating frosting (and, you know, the entire dessert blog), I’m not terribly into sweet without a proper dose of sour (or salty, or spicy, but probably not bitter) to round it out. To properly harness their magic, rather than using the sweetest cherries of your batch, go for the slightly underripe ones that will give a nice tart flavor to round out the sweetness from all the sugar. (Which is, by the way, a necessary evil to set the pectin properly, so if you must adjust down and notice that your preserves aren’t setting, that may be the culprit!)

Either way, if you’re looking for yet another reason to volunteer for desserts at your next summer get-together (or a way to feel better about being a millennial who makes the most ridiculously elementary technological mistakes), give these black forest cupcakes a try! Hope you enjoy!

Happy Friday,
Anne

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Black Forest Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cupcakes:
150 g (1 1/4 cup) flour
63 g (1/2 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 oz bittersweet chocolate
7 tbs butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup + 3 tbs skim milk
1/2 tsp instant coffee
1 tbs vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cherry Filling:
3/4 cup cherries, pitted
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar, or more to taste
1 1/2 tbs pectin powder

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar

To Serve:
12 cherries, with stem
Chocolate shavings (shave your favorite bar with a vegetable peeler!)

Directions:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
  3. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or by microwaving in 15 second increments and stirring in between. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Dissolve the instant coffee into the milk.
  5. Beat together the butter and sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved, then beat in the eggs and egg yolks until fully incorporated. Add the coffee milk, vinegar, and vanilla extract and continue beating the mixture.
  6. Once the melted chocolate is cool enough to comfortably touch but still warm enough to remain melted, slowly add to the egg mixture while mixing. Continue to beat until well mixed.
  7. Pour the sifted flour mixture into the liquid ingredients. Gently stir in one direction until the ingredients are just combined.
    Tip: Under-mixing is better than over-mixing in this case. A few small (~1/8″ diameter) stray clumps of flour shouldn’t be a problem!
  8. Fill your cupcake liners a little over halfway with cupcake batter. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the middle of the cupcake comes out with only a few dry crumbs attached.
  9. Set aside to cool before frosting!

Cherry Filling:

  1. In a small saucepan, stir the cherries, water, sugar, and pectin over medium heat until the mixture comes to a light boil.
  2. Turn the heat to low and continue stirring until the cherries have softened completely, then remove from heat. Set aside to cool!

Whipped Cream:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. At this point, when you lift out the whisk, you should see sharp peaks that do not curl over at the tip.
  2. Load into a piping bag fitted with a closed star tip (I used the Wilton 2D!) and set into the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble!

Assembly:

  1. Using a large piping tip and a small spoon, scoop out the centers of each cupcake as shown here, then fill each cupcake with cherry preserves.
  2. Pipe on a tall swirl of whipped cream, spiraling in from the outer edge of the cupcake.
  3. Sprinkle on the chocolate shavings. Immediately before serving, top each cupcake with a cherry. Enjoy!

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