Back in June, when Mama C and I hit the local food stores of Newcastle, I picked up a lot of speciality ingredients that sounded wonderful. The only problem was, I had no idea what to do with them. Having faith (or blind hope) that an opportunity to use all my goodies would present itself in time, I pushed all my new things into the grocery cupboard.
When passing the preserves isle on that fateful trip in June, I saw my favorite jam on special. Not knowing which flavour to choose, I picked the fruit that sounded the most delicious – cherry. Despite the fact that I’ve never tasted it or that I don’t eat jam very often these days, I thought it was a great idea. Now every time I open the cupboard to get the oats out (good for the heart and they warm us up, yum!) I see a beautiful little jar of cherry conserve winking at me from the top shelf. And I have to use it!!
Tomorrow is my last day in my current company. Our gang at ‘No Care’ has been through some very tough times, but we’ve had a lot of fun along the way. To celebrate my second-last day, and to spoil those I am going to miss (while the ones I’m not going to miss are away) I decided to make cupcakes. As the gang has tasted a lot of my cupcakes in the past six months, I wanted to do something a little different. I don’t think I’ve met a person that doesn’t like black forest cake. Even though the name reminds me of a laxative (Black forest tea. Don’t leave the tea bag in for too long apparently…) the cake is amazing. But what about black forest cupcakes eh? A perfect excuse to use the cherry conserve in the cupboard!
Taking my favorite basic cupcake recipe, I tweaked it to make the cupcakes extra chocolate-y. I mixed the cheery conserve with the smallest drop of brandy and used it as a filling. If you can find cherry brandy, it would be ideal, but no-one near me seemed to stock it. Lastly I topped it with whipped cream and some grated chocolate, and voila! Black Forest lollcakes…
Black Forest cupcakes – recipe adapted from “Cupcake Magic” by Kate Shirazi
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup margarine, softened
2 tbsp milk
300ml thickened cream
4 tbsp cherry conserve
1-2 tsp brandy/cherry brandy
1 tbsp icing sugar
Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced, and line a 12-hole muffin tin. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and castor sugar into a large bowl. Add in margarine, eggs and milk; and beat until light and fluffy.
Divide mixture between 12 muffin cases, and bake for 20 mins until the tops are firm. Remove from the pan and let cool. While cooling, mix the cherry conserve with the brandy. Whip the cream with icing sugar until stiff.
Cut pockets into cupcake, fill with cherry mix, and pop the tops back on. Put cream into a piping bag and pipe swirls on top of the cakes. Sprinkle grated chocolate on top. (and pop on a cherry if you have, I didn’t…) And enjoy!