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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

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!)
pinch salt
2 large eggs, beaten
150g self-raising flour

100g dark chocolate
100ml double cream
few spoonfuls cherry juice
whipped cream
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.
Makes 12.


  • You know, I've noticed that, too. For Alex's birthday, I made the cake, as well as two dozen cupcakes. The cake was barely touched, but I think half the cupcakes were gone by the end of the night!

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 3/24/2005 04:20:00 am  

  • Looks and sounds delicious Niki!

    Re: muffins vs cakes - muffins also have better crust ratios. Remember that episode from Seinfeld re: the muffin tops? :-P

    By Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop), at 3/24/2005 09:11:00 am  

  • hiya Niki
    Your cupcakes look so delicious! Very clever of you to use sour cherry :-) And the single sour cherry on top looks so tempting too.

    By Blogger pinkcocoa, at 3/24/2005 05:15:00 pm  

  • that sounds exactly like what i need.. a lazy person's black forest cake! i like the simple decoration.

    By Blogger Emily, at 3/25/2005 02:30:00 am  

  • They are so elegant Niki! Mmm, I'm sure I can smell them from here... And uh, is that - yes, that's a fine taste, too!;-)

    By Blogger Zarah Maria, at 3/25/2005 03:27:00 am  

  • Stephanie - I know! It's amazing. Almost like people are afraid to get a knife and cut it. Perhaps they're too scared for others to see the size of the slice they're cutting. Cupcakes are all equal portions for everyone. They're the communism of food!

    AG - You're right! I'd never thought of it that way, but I think it's true. Muffins seem to be larger too, particularly the ones that are sold in bakeries and cafe here in Aust. Usually those Texas-style ones that look suspiciously dry and crumbly to me.

    Pinkcocoa - Thank you! I checked yours out too (and your SHF entry) and they looked and sounded fab!

    Emily- Yep, definitely feeling lazy down here right now. The cherry on top is kind of the quintessential cupcake idea isn't it? ('Pretty please, with a cherry on top?')

    Zarah Maria - Ah yes, but mine looked restrained compared to the splendour of your cupcakes. I'd SO love to try one!

    By Blogger Niki, at 3/26/2005 02:36:00 pm  

  • I agree with Zarah! The cupcakes look elegant and must taste very good too. But I also like the cupcake on the main photo. It's like you have to go through a moat to get to the cherry. Nice one!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/28/2005 01:25:00 pm  

  • Wow! These look dreamy! I can hardly wait to try these ones. Mmmm. I love cupcakes!

    By Blogger Robyn, at 3/31/2005 05:23:00 am  

  • Does anyone know where to get the most delicious and prettiest cupcakes in Melbourne (Aus)? I want to get them for my wedding there, but I am in London at the moment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/14/2005 04:02:00 am  

  • Hi - The cupcake craze hasn't yet taken off in Melbourne, but I immediately thought of 'The French Lettuce' where we often get cakes for special occasions. I haven't found a website for them, but they have a listing on the Melbourne Wedding guide, which seems appropriate! They're in Nicholson St, Carlton.

    By Blogger Niki, at 4/17/2005 12:17:00 pm  

  • Sorry - just cut and paste this below, but remove the space I inserted!

    http://www.completewedding.com.au/ melbourne/wedding_cakes/ the_french_lettuce

    By Blogger Niki, at 4/17/2005 12:18:00 pm  

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