It’s been a couple months since we’ve had a lab birthday to celebrate, but I finally got the chance to whip up some cupcakes for our lab manager’s big day this week! I’m usually up pretty late when I undertake a baking project in the middle of the week, but this time I somehow managed to have the cupcakes completely decorated AND the entire kitchen cleaned by 11pm. Usually the kitchen is a complete disaster the next day and I have huge bags under my eyes, so I was pretty proud of my efficiency! Anyway, one of Christina’s favorite treats is black forest cake, so I decided to make chocolate cherry cupcakes.
I brushed the top of my chocolate cupcakes with a generous layer of cherry puree. Since cherries aren’t in season right now, I used frozen pitted sweet cherries from Dole, and they worked just beautifully. I also folded some of the cherry puree into whipped cream that I piped on top of the cupcakes. Of course, they weren’t complete without a sprinkle of dark chocolate shavings and a maraschino cherry on top too!
Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
Cherry Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 ounce shaved dark chocolate
16 maraschino cherries
To make the chocolate cupcakes, heat oven to 350˚F. Fill 16 cups of 2 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt together into the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl until well combined. Add whisked liquids to dry ingredients and mix for 1 minute or until combined on medium speed. Scrape down sides of the bowl and mix again briefly. Evenly distribute cake batter into the 16 prepared cupcake liners, filling each about 3/4 full, and bake at 350˚F for 20 to 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cupcake comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes in the pans, then remove cupcakes and place on a wire rack.
To make the cherry puree, place thawed cherries in a food processor and pulse until smooth, about one minute. Place puree in a small stockpot and stir in sugar and lemon juice; bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes, stirring frequently, or until sugar is dissolved. Cool 1/2 cup of the puree to room temperature (I stuck mine in the freezer for 15 minutes) and set aside to use in the cherry whipped cream. Pierce each cupcake with a fork 5 times and use a pastry brush to evenly cover the cupcakes with the remaining cherry puree; evenly cover with one layer, allow to dry, and then add another layer, as needed.
To make the cherry whipped cream, place heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in a well chilled bowl and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes. Fold 1/2 cup cooled cherry puree into the whipped cream until smooth.
To assemble the cupcakes, place cherry whipped cream in a decorating bag with a 1M decorating tip. Quickly frost cupcakes evenly and top with shaved chocolate and the maraschino cherries. Store in the refrigerator until serving. Makes 16 cupcakes.
Nutrition: 368 calories, 22.9g fat, 2.1g fiber, 4.3g protein per cupcake
Cost: $0.56 per cupcake