We’re off to visit Justin’s little sister and family this evening for dinner and I promised to make dessert. You know how sometimes you have to think for ages about what to make and other times you just instantly know? This was one of the latter: Black forest brownie cupcakes….
A few weeks ago I’d made the first batch of brownie cupcakes which were topped with peanuts, salted caramel and a layer of whipped cream (mmm… healthy, I know!), but ever since English cherries came into season, I had been dying to try this version out. The cherries came from Godshill Cherry Orchard on the Isle of Wight, via Winchester Farmers’ Market. With all the rain this year, the growers have had a tough time and generally across the UK, cherries aren’t as concentrated in flavour as they usually are. That said, cherries are one of my favourite fruits, whether fresh, in liqueur, glaced or in jam and I’m definitely going to make the most of the short season.
Black Forest Brownie Cupcakes
Makes 6 muffin-sized cupcakes
55g dark chocolate (min. 60% cocoa solids)
45g unsweetened cocoa powder
225g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
55g self raising flour
50g dark chocolate (min. 60% cocoa solids)
125g cherries, stems and stones removed (plus 6 extra whole cherries, stems attached)
1/2 jar black cherry jam
2 tbsp pacharan or sloe gin
1/2 tsp almond essence
6 tbsp creme fraiche
- Preheat the oven to 170c / GM3 and line a 6-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
- Melt the chocolate, cocoa and butter in a saucepan then leave to coola little.
- Whisk the sugar and eggs together with an electric whisk for 3 minutes until very light and creamy, then fold everything together until evenly mixed.
- Spoon into the paper cases and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until the inside is just about to set.
- Transfer the caks to a wire rackand leave to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, melt the chocolate then dip the 6 cherries with stems in half way and leave to set on silicone paper. Use any left over chocolate to pipe flowers or butterflies onto silicone to use later as decorations.
- Put the stoned cherries in a saucepan with the jam and heat until simmering.
- Cook for 2 minutes then take off the heat and stir in the sloe gin and almond essence. Leave to cool completely.
- As the cupcakes cool the centres will sink a little, giving you a cavity to fill with the cherry compote.
- Top the compote with a spoonful of creme fraiche and decorate each cake with a chocolate-dipped cherry and any extra piped decorations.
Pacharan is a sort of Basque version of sloe gin with a slight aniseed flavour. I love it, but Justin thinks it tastes like cough mixture. I quite like the taste of cough mixture.
The chocolate-dipped cherries for the topping make a great informal dessert just on their own – allow about 6 per person as they’re pretty addictive! Much better than chocolate-dipped strawberries in my opinion.
If you pipe chocolate butterflies, make a stand for them from some card folded into an ‘M’ shape. Rest the silicone paper in the ‘v’ while the chocolate sets and they’ll look more realistic than the same shape as 2D.
If you want to make these out of season, replace the fresh cherries with tinned cherries and continue above with the jam, etc. I’d be tempted to buy some griottines with stems to decorate the top, but it’s a dangerous thing for me to have in the house…
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