Black Forest Cupcakes

I keep saying that I will cut back on my daily cake consumption. But it’s kind of laughable, because when I’m eating the last cupcake of the batch, I immediately begin thinking of what wonderful warm, fluffy, sweet foodstuff I can create next. I swear that each sweet treat that I bake becomes even more indulgent, full of sugar, with different textures, more buttercream – more everything! And you know what? They prove for momentary happiness. And any form of happiness is worth it, in my opinion.

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Ingredients:

Organic cocoa, 40g

Unsalted butter, 150g, softened

Caster sugar, 175g

Eggs, 3 medium, beaten

Vanilla extract, 1tsp

Plain flour, 150g

Baking powder, 2 tsp

Baking soda, ½ tsp

Soured cream, 2 tbsp

For the buttercream:

Dark chocolate, 200g, broken into pieces

Caster sugar, 175g

Egg whites, 3 medium

Unsalted butter, 225g, softened

For decorative purposes:

Cherry jam

Glace cherries, 12

Method:

Line a standard muffin tin with paper cases. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160/gas 4. Using a small bowl, add the cocoa and 100ml boiling water, whisking until smooth. Leave to cool.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and the caster sugar together with an electric whisk, until the mixture is pale, light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the vanilla extract and the cooled cocoa mixture, mixing until thoroughly combined.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt into the bowl. Add the soured cream, folding all ingredients together and mixing until smooth. Divide the mixture evenly between the paper cases. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean. When cooked, remove the cakes from the oven and leave to rest in the tin for around 5 minutes. Carefully transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the chocolate meringue buttercream, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl in the microwave for 30-60 seconds (depending on the strength of the device). Place the sugar, egg whites, and a pinch of salt in a medium-sized, heatproof bowl that will fit over a pot of simmering water, without touching. Whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved and until the mixture is of a foamy appearance. Continue cooking the mixture until it is hot to the touch, turns from opaque to a glossy white and thickens enough to barely hold a ribbon trail.

Scoop the meringue mixture at a quick pace into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk on a medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is thick, has doubled in volume, is stiff, glossy and cold to the touch.

Gradually add the butter to the cooled meringue mixture and beat constantly on a low-medium speed, until the frosting is of a smooth consistency, is thick and spreadable. Fold in the melted chocolate and mix until combined.

Scoop out a hole from the top of each cupcake and fill the holes with cherry jam. Spread the cupcakes with lashings of chocolate buttercream, top each one with a cherry and indulge like you have never indulged before!

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