It’s finally summer enough to warrant coffee on the back porch! And while these are hardly summery, I can’t imagine chocolate, cherries and whipped cream have a particular season. I’ve been promising to share the recipe since E’s 16th birthday back in April, when she told us it didn’t really matter what kind of cake she had, but she liked Black Forest. Me too. Who doesn’t? And the flavour combo makes a fine cupcake – a good thing because Black Forest cakes can be tricky to assemble and messy to cut.
With a bag of frozen cherries in the freezer, all we needed was a batch of our standby chocolate cupcakes and some whipped cream. And something fancy to go on top – chocolate trees I recalled seeing somewhere, sometime – maybe on Pinterest? Here, I think? At any rate, I love melting chocolate chips in zip-lock baggies in a cup of warm water, then squeezing it out into shapes that then harden and can be used for decoration. W was on chocolate tree duty while I made filling.
Cherries simmered with sugar and a bit of cornstarch comes out exactly like canned cherry pie filling, only not quite as gelatinous and with better flavour. (I imagine cherry preserves would work as well, only sweeter.) You cut a chunk out of each cupcake and put in a spoonful of filling, then replace the plug, not worrying much about it fitting snugly since you’ll cover it with whipped cream anyway.
(You may have to break off the tip of the little cone you cut out – cooks’ nibbles.)
Once they’re all filled, spoon whipped cream into a bigger zip-lock bag, snip off a bigger corner and pipe it out onto the cakes. Isn’t it satisfying to pipe things out onto other things? I have real piping bags and cookie presses, yet they tend to stay in the basement while I use ziplock bags, which of course can be tossed out afterward. Fewer dishes is always a bonus.
A cherry would have been nice on top, like a little cupcake sundae. And you could do chocolate shavings (use a sharp knife or vegetable peeler and make sure the chocolate is at room temperature) but the chocolate trees! Of course it wouldn’t have to be trees -you could pipe out the chocolate into letters, numbers, whatever suits the occasion that calls for cupcakes.
To make the chocolate trees (or letters, numbers – whatever you like), put chocolate chips into a snack-sized zip-lock baggie, seal and place in a glass or bowl of warm water. Take it out once or twice and squeeze it, until all the chocolate is melted. Snip off a corner and pipe onto waxed or parchment paper, and leave at room temperature or refrigerate until solid, then peel off.
Black Forest Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, or half all-purpose, half whole wheat
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup strong coffee (I mix together instant)
2 cups fresh or frozen cherries, pitted
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
chocolate shavings, extra cherries or chocolate trees
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt, breaking up any lumps of brown sugar and cocoa. Add the milk, oil, eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine; add the coffee and stir until well blended and smooth.
Divide the batter among the cups, filling them 3/4 full, and bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are springy to the touch. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, simmer the cherries, sugar and cornstarch (if you like, stir the sugar and cornstarch together first in a small bowl to get rid of lumps) over medium heat until bubbling and thickened. Remove from heat and let cool.
With a sharp knife, cut a small piece out of the top of each cupcake. (I cut in a circle with the knife pointed in, so you end up with a little cone shaped chunk of cake.) Fill each cupcake with a small spoonful of filling, then replace with the chunk of cake (you may have to break off the pointy end to accommodate the filling).
Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spoon into a larger zip-lock bag, snip a bigger piece off one corner and pipe out over the cupcakes. Top with cherries, chocolate shavings or chocolate trees.
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes.
June 22 2014 10:54 am | cake