There’s nothing like a bit of baking at the long week – especially if it’s for a surprise birthday lunch. My aunt had a big birthday recently (I won’t say how big) so of course I had to make her favourite – black forest.
While most black forest cakes are made with sponge I decided to go with a super moist mud cake instead stuffed with a sweet cherry filling. These babies are topped off with a creamy mascarpone frosting, a bit of chocolate, and of course, a cherry.
The cherry filling and chocolate discs can be made a day in advance and stored in air tight containers.
chocolate mud cupcakes
makes ~24 cupcakes
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cups dark cocoa powder
2 cups castor sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup strong coffee, at room temperature
2 tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil (e.g., canola)
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F.
First up, make the coffee so it has time to cool. I usually mix about 2 heaped tablespoons of instant coffee powder into 1 cup of boiling water.
Sift together the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle.
In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients and add to the dry ingredients, mixing well.
Fill cupcake papers to about 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer comes out with moist crumbs. If you’d rather make a cake, then bake for 1 hour.
450g fresh cherries
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup castor sugar
Remove the stones from 260g of the cherries (reserve some to serve) and roughly cut the cherries into quarters.
In a medium saucepan stir together the cherries, water and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes and allow to cool at room temperature.
The syrup looked a bit thin, but because I made this a day before it thickened up quite a bit.
600g mascarpone cheese
8 tbsp icing sugar
2/3 cup cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
Beat the mascarpone and icing sugar until fluffy. Add the cream and vanilla and beat until thickened.
~300g dark chocolate (I used 50% cocoa)
Roughly chop or break the chocolate into pieces and melt over a double boiler. Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. This will let the chocolate thicken slightly so it’s easier to work with.
While the chocolate is cooling, line a baking tray with non-stick paper. If you’re as OCD as me you can draw circles on the baking paper to make sure the discs are all about the same size (just make sure you put the pencil side down when you start piping), or you could just wing it.
Once the chocolate is cooled, place it in a piping bag with a small hole cut into it (or use a small nozzle), and start drawing circles onto the baking paper making sure there’s enough overlap so it won’t break when you lift it off the paper. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Core cupcakes and add a few bits of cherry and the syrup into each.
Pipe or spoon the mascarpone onto each cupcake. Place a chocolate disc on each and top with a cherry!
Happy baking! x