IMBB 13 - Lazy persons' Black Forest Cakes
This month's IMBB has the theme of cupcakes or muffins, which is such a great theme! I'll often mix up a batch of muffins and reguarly use a standard cake recipe to make into little individual cupcakes. People who may be intimidated by a whole cake, are so receptive to individual portion-controlled cupcakes and muffins. They're so convenient when you need to take something to a meeting or function; easy to transport, easy to decorate and easy to enjoy!
This time around I chose to make a variation of the Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes in Nigella's Domestic Goddess. This is a really simple recipe that is very effective; she adds 300g of cherry jam to the chocolate cake batter, which gives it a wonderful flavour. I wondered how it would turn out if I added the same weight of bottled sour cherries roughly pureed in the food processor - essentially turning it into a lazy version of a Black Forest Cake" Hmmm...interesting idea. Topped with chocolate ganache, a dollop of whipped cream and a sour cherry, they might just work really well.
I have a function to go to next week, so I only fully decorated one cupcake for the photo. The others are sitting in the freezer, and I didn't want to make up the whipped cream topping just yet, so I decided to pool some thin cream on the surface with a hole in the centre; kind of the opposite to usual photos of icing dripping slowly from the centre to the outside of a cake... Ahh the extremes I go to just for a good IMBB photo.... :-)
The method for this cake is incredibly simple; it's all made in one saucepan! Do try it - it's difficult to go back to multiple bowls and implements after these sorts of cakes!
Interestingly, despite trying this variation once before and having the cake turn out beautifully light and yet dense at the same time, this time around the cake was only dense and quite heavy. Not in a bad way, of course, but I think one cupcake each will be enough for the people at the function next week. Last time I used cherries soaked in Kirsch....mmmmmm....boozy cherries....so maybe the alcohol had a lightening effect? These dark chocolate cakes are studded with pieces of sour cherry and have a distinct Black Forest cake flavour offset by the cool cream and the sour cherry on top. They're very yummy!
Update, Sat 26 March: How they looked late afternoon today, finally decorated to go out to our Easter brunch tomorrow morning.
Lazy persons' Black Forest Cupcakes
Inspired by Nigella's Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes
12 bun muffin tin
125g soft butter
100g dark chocolate, broken
300g bottled sour cherries (mine came from Slovenia and cost all of $3!)
2 large eggs, beaten
150g self-raising flour
100g dark chocolate
100ml double cream
few spoonfuls cherry juice
12 cherries to top
Preheat oven to 180c/gas mark 4
Put the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan on the heat to melt. When nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate. Leave for a moment to begin softening, then take the pan off the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are smooth and melted. Puree the cherries and juice in a food processor, or similar, until roughly chopped. Now add the cherries, sguar, salt and eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon and when is all pretty well amalgamted stir in the flour.
Scrape and pour into the muffin papers in the their tin and bake for 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out.
When the cupcakes are cook, break the chocolate for the icing into little pieces and add them to the cream in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat, let cool, and then whisk - electronically is much better - until thick and smooth. Ice the cupcakes, top with a dollop of whipped cream and stand a cherry in the centre of each.