On this third day of Christmas, as I sip my cold, green kale, pear and apple smoothie, I am serenaded by the melody of leaves rustling in the cool summer breeze. Finally, some quiet time! I may even have a dip in the ocean in a little while before hitting the yoga studio for a good burn and re-boot after all the wonderful Christmas feasts.
This year marks my second ever proper Christmas celebration – the kind that involves presents, christmas trees and delicious roast. To celebrate, I made a cracking juicy roast pork (recipe coming soon) and a batch of heavenly black forest cupcakes. They are extremely more-ish. You are first teased by the sweet, juicy cherry. Every bite that follows is delivered with a burst of cherries and cream, accompanied by the punch of brandy that is softened by the spongy, moist chocolate cake. Best part, your mates will think you have slaved all day making them but in fact, it had only taken you a good part of an hour.
BLACK FOREST CUPCAKES
Makes: 20-25 medium-large cupcakes
Adapted from glorioustreats.com
Prep time: Under 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups plain flour
3/4 cup dutch cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Half shot of cherry brandy
Handful of fresh cherries
1. Line muffin tin with paper liners. Heat oven to 180C.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed briefly, about one minute.
4. Stir in boiling water in small additions. Keep stirring until all the water is incorporated and the batter is runny.
5. Fill liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake cupcakes for aproximately 20 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool before decorating.
6. Core cupcakes in the centre. You can use an apple corer for ease but a small, sharp knife will do the job equally well.
7. Double brush cupcakes with a good amount of cherry brandy. Fill with a dollop of cherry sauce. Most of my cupcakes were filled with 2-4 cherries.
8. Fill a piping bag with whipped cream. I used my Wilton 1M open star tip. Pipe away.
9. Grate dark chocolate over cupcakes. Top cupcakes with fresh cherries
Cherry sauce filling
500g bottle/can of pitted cherries, reserve 1/3 liquid
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1. Drain can of cherries, reserving 1/3 liquid.
2. Combine reserved juice, cherries, sugar and cornstarch in a 2 quart saucepan. Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly.
3. Set aside to cool completely.
* Cornstarch can be easily substituted with equal amount of arrowroot flour.
1 cup cold whipping cream
Dash of vanilla extract
1. Preferably with a cold bowl and whisk, whisk cream for a little while until thick and stiff. If you like your cream sweet, you can add 1-2 tbsp of sifted icing sugar or to taste. Be sure to never over beat unless you’re planning on making butter.
* Having cold cream, bowl and whisk makes it easier to whip cream. If just using just a portion of cream, be sure to always shake the carton well to evenly distribute the cream or you may end up slightly disappointed.