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Recipe: Black Forest Cupcakes

Tim and I spent this weekend with our friends Nicky, Dave R, and Pete. The five of us have decided to get together at least once a month – they provide the pizza, we bring along a pudding (US: dessert). Last time we got together, I took an apple and blackberry crumble along. This time, I wanted to do something different.

I made a black forest cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, see? It is related to the Austria/Germany trip!) back at the beginning of August for our friend Dave B’s birthday. It was delicious – we didn’t even have a single piece left of it! Nicky and I were going through my food pics over IM and I said I thought I might make that for this weekend. To make a long story short, her brother (Dave R) made a joke about how I needed to make 5 cakes – one for each of us. Originally I had said that I thought a cupcake version of this would be too messy….but then I had to rise to the challenge, especially after someone on one of the cooking/baking communities I read posted a link to Bake it in a Cake. If that person can bake loads of things into cupcakes….I could do a black forest version. I even modelled my recipe off of their cherry chocolate cheesecake recipe.

The first attempt I made was a half-failure, I’ll be honest. I knew I wanted to take 10 cupcakes with me this weekend (2 cupcakes per person), which meant that would leave two “extra” – just enough for Tim and I to taste test them. The first batch tasted GOOD, but they were too gooey. The cupcakes were spilling out over the top of the liners, the paper stuck to the cakes, and there was just no way that the cupcakes could be eaten without a fork. The filling leaked through the bottom of the paper liner (AFAIK, they don’t sell aluminium liners in the UK) making the liner soggy. I looked back at the cheesecake recipe, and noticed that they gave their cupcakes a crust. Black Forest Gateau sometimes has a biscuit base, so I thought “why not?” and since I had plenty of batter left, attempt number two was made. I am pleased to say that the addition of the bicsuit layer helped to keep it less of a mess!

So, here’s how to make them! This recipe will make 24 Black Forest Cupcakes. I didn’t half the recipe because of the possibility of making a mistake, but when I make these again, I will probably cut the recipe in half and only make 12.

You will need:

200g biscuits (I used 100g plain digestives and 100g chocolate biscuits) (US: cookies)
150g butter, melted

125g plain chocolate (US: baking chocolate), melted*
225g butter, softened
295g sugar
3 eggs (mine were medium sized)
2 tsp vanilla extract
300g flour (I happened to have self-rising, but plain will probably work, too)
4 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp bicarbonate of soda (US: if using baking soda, only use 2tsp**)
1/4 tsp sea salt (regular salt will do fine)
320ml milk
2 tsp cherry brandy (optional)

1 can cherry pie filling
1 jar maraschino cherries
1 packet dream topping/whipped topping (US: Dream Whip or Cool Whip) or cream for whipping if you’re good at that
good quality chocolate, about 25g (for garnish)

cupcake tin
cupcake liners

hint: To melt your chocolate without worrying about it overcooking if you don’t have a double boiler (I don’t!), place a bowl filled with the chocolate in a larger bowl filled with boiling water. Be careful the water doesn’t get in the chocolate.

hint: If you have cookies/biscuits the same size as the bottom of the cupcake tin, don’t worry about the butter. Just place the cookie directly in the bottom of the paper case. An Oreo (with the filling scraped off) might work well!

hint: to make the whipped topping whip better, chill the bowl and the beaters for at least an hour before you make it.

Preheat oven to 175C and put the liners in the tin.
Melt 125g chocolate.

Make the biscuit layer by crushing the biscuits until they are a fine powder. Combine biscuits with 150g melted butter and spoon into cupcake liners. You’ll need about a teaspoonfull per each cupcake. Use your fingers to make sure the biscuit mix covers the bottom of the cupcake liner. This does not need to be super thick.

Cream together sugar, 225g butter, vanilla, and eggs. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking powder, and bicarb. If you don’t have a sifter (I don’t), either mix it together really good or push the ingredients through a strainer. Add melted chocolate to the butter mixture. Alternate adding milk and flour mixture, beating until smooth. If you have cherry brandy, add it at this time. Your batter should look light and fluffy.

(Please note, that picture is from the first batch. DO NOT fill your cupcakes that full!) Spoon 1-2 teaspoon’s worth of batter in each liner and spread the mixture so it covers the biscuit base. Then, spoon a teaspoonfull of the cherry pie topping into each liner (make sure you have at least one cherry in each cupcake). Cover the cherry filling with another teaspoon or two of batter. You shouldn’t be able to see any cherry filling.
Bake 30 minutes and allow to cool completely.

Drain maraschino cherries and make dream topping. Take your 25g of good quality chocolate and use a vegetable peeler to shave it into curls.
Put one spoonful of dream topping on each cupcake – just enough to go nearly to the edge. Top with 1-2 maraschino cherries and sprinkle with the chocolate shavings. There will be plenty of topping left. Just freeze the extra for another treat!

*I used a combination of plain chocolate, 85% cacao “good quality” chocolate, and 5 Cherry Cordial Hershey Kisses
**For unknown (and un-googleable) reasons, UK bicarbonate of soda is not as powerful as US baking soda. I’ve noticed I have to add 50% – 100% more in most of my recipes to get them to rise the same as they would have in the US.

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4 comments

4 Comments so far

  1. Nicky February 15th, 2011 9:27

    They were beautiful, in taste and look, would highly recommend 🙂
    (thankyou both for a delightful weekend- see you soon)

  2. Rebecca February 15th, 2011 12:08

    Thanks! Glad you liked them!!

  3. Michelloui February 17th, 2011 19:41

    Wow! These sound amazing! I have just started getting into cupcakes but I haven’t had the gumption to do anything tooooo creative. These look inspiring.

    I did find online some ‘cupcake cases’ that were foil on the outside and paper on the inside which worked well for one especially runny batter I use.

  4. Rebecca February 17th, 2011 19:48

    They got the seal of approval from everyone – in that there were none left! You should try these out – I have NEVER done anything this creative with a cupcake before, unless you count the chocolate cookie dough surprise ones (where you put a ball of cookie dough in the bottom of the cupcake). I’m actually really excited to see what else I can come up with and have been eyeing up the bag of Jet-Puff my mom sent me a few months back as a cupcake filler! LOL

    Do you happen to remember the site? That would be so much easier than having my mom send me some.

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