The “Delishious” Black Forest Cupcake
I am always using my friends as culinary guinea pigs; they don’t seem to mind…until their waist band begins to expand and suddenly it’s all my fault. Even my friends who live in other cities and countries have to listen to me wax poetic about my latest cupcake recipe or dessert that I’ve made, so you had better believe that when I travel to visit those friends, I am loaded up with sweet treats to make up for “cake – teasing.” One such friend recently inadvertently gave me a new play on words (I think that is what it is!). He meant to write “delicious,” but instead wrote “delishious.” He will remain unnamed, but he knows who he is! I think it’s fun and decided to use it in the name of my cupcakes, mostly because I couldn’t find anything particularly deliciously alliterative to go with Black Forest.
I’ve never really been a fan of Black Forest cake with the often edible oil product tufts of white stuff and sickly sweet maraschino cherries. I decided that I had to make the cupcakes with fresh cherries as last year’s crop was so very delicious! However, in typical Christie fashion, I procrastinated until the cherries were all gone and while bemoaning the wait for the next cherry season, my German friend Kristin provided me with a huge bottle of sour pitted cherries. Just the thing I needed! In my ignorance, I had assumed that all off-season choices of cherries would be relegated to the aforementioned maraschinos or cans of Bing cherries. I have an irrational fear of canned food, but bottled foods I can do.
The next step was finding some kirsch, which is a cherry – flavoured liqueur. In Ottawa apparently all kirsch is available in huge (and expensive) bottles. In typical Christie fashion, I stalked the LCBOs for a smaller and less expensive bottle – after all, how much kirsch can one gal need? I ended up with a bottle of Austrian – made Schloss Kirsch, which to my admittedly kirsch ignorant taste buds, does not taste very cherry – like. Maybe I should have gone for a pricier kirsch, although this one was no slouch at $22.
Dear Martha has a Black Forest cupcake in her Martha Stewart Cupcakes book and let me remind you, that if you don’t want your guests embarrassingly picking up half of their cupcakes off of the floor, then don’t present them the way that the pictures in her book suggest. That’s a hot mess waiting to happen. I decided that I would rather go with MS’s good ol’ Devil’s Food cupcake, my favourite standby with a rich chocolatey taste and perfect domes for filling. Here is the recipe from Martha Stewart’s website:
While my perfect domes were rising in the oven, I drained and chopped the sour pitted cherries, liberally doused them with the kirsch and allowed them to incubate in the liqueur.
Next came the pastry cream, which is easy enough to make. Just prepare your ingredients in advance, along with an ice bath, in which a glass bowl should be set with a fine mesh sieve over top, to catch lumps and any cooked egg from the pastry cream. The ice bath helps to chill the pastry cream faster for, if not instant, then “sooner gratification.”
Admittedly I overcooked my pastry cream so that it was a bit too stiff once cooled – keep in mind that it will thicken as it cools. I was at the time also making duck breast with a Port & cherry sauce, to carry along the theme, and I felt a bit like a contestant on Chopped, trying to bring everything together for a special meal for my parents, who were visiting from New Brunswick.
Next was the chocolate ganache glaze. I will note that I have tried making Martha’s “shiny” variation and I think the writers of the book were on crack here – I followed the recipe directions implicitly and I got a cafe au lait – coloured chocolatey cream that looked nothing like her photos. I added extra melted chocolate and it corrected the problem. I’m sure that there is a mistake in the recipe so I’ve been following the regular version and it works well as a glaze: just dip, twist, drip and allow the glaze to set up.
Side note: With the pastry cream and chocolate ganache glaze and the subtraction of the cherries and kirsch, you’ve got some pretty wicked Chocolate Boston Cream cupcakes. Two birds with one stone! It also pleases the fussy ones who don’t know what they are missing out on because they think they don’t like cherries.
Assembly: I use a cupcake corer, which seem to be available everywhere nowadays, but I got mine at Golda’s Kitchen in Mississauga, ON. I placed a teaspoon of the drained cherries in the bottom of the cored cupcake and filled it with pastry cream, plus I added a teaspoon or so of the kirsch. Usually I do not bother with replacing the top of the core, but for the purposes of dipping, I clipped the top of the core and replaced it. Then I dipped the cupcake in the jacuzzi of chocolatey ganache goodness and allowed it to set before piping on a dollop of real whipping cream, whisked by hand, and topped it with a sprinkling of shaved dark chocolate and a sour cherry.
From a scorner of Black Forest cake to a Delishious Black Forest Cupcake lover – this is one of my all – time favourite Christie’s Cakes cupcakes. Just like most good things, they are worth the time and effort. Enjoy with an Americano and a game of Mexican Train with the parents; it’s sure to be a thrilling night, wink!