Halloween Black Forest Cupcakes

There’s absolutely no reason why Halloween treats should be restricted to children and these delicious little cakes with their naughty Kirsch-infused cherry filling within the dark chocolate sponge are quite magical. The fiendish dollop of sweet cream on the top completes the wicked trickery! Enjoy!

Makes 12

What you need…

1 x 12-hole muffin tin, lined with paper cases

180g unsalted butter, softened

180g caster sugar

3 large, happy eggs, beaten

130g self-raising flour

50g cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

for the filling and topping

450g frozen black cherries

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1 star anise

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons Kirsch/cherry brandy

300ml double cream

2 teaspoons icing sugar

10g dark chocolate, shaved or grated (or one broken up Flake bar!)

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180˚c / 350˚f / gas 4.

Into your food processor tip the butter and sugar and then whizz until pale and fluffy. Gradually pour in the beaten egg, making sure that each addition is fully incorporated before you add any more. Tip in the flour and cocoa, whizz to combine; add the vanilla bean paste and whizz again.

Spoon the mixture evenly into the cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, turn to the filling. Tip the cherries into a pan over a moderate heat and add the lemon juice, caster sugar, star anise and water. Bubble gently for 15 minutes, until starting to turn gorgeously jammy. Stir in the Kirsch and set aside to cool.

Once everything is cool, scoop out a teaspoon or so of the middle of each sponge, popping the retrieved and superfluous sponge into your mouth just to check for quality! Fill the remaining holes up with the cherry compote.

Whip the cream with the icing sugar until peaks form and then pipe or slather the cream over the top of each cake. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings and serve – deliciously wicked!!!!

Tip…

The frozen cherries usually come in 350g bags so there are loads left over. My vote is either to stir them into a natural yogurt with maybe a little honey or….the favourite: tip them into a sterilised jar and pour Kirsch over them – let them gather flavours in there for a couple of weeks (in the fridge) before serving with ice-cream – delicious!

Inspired by…

Waitrose and Partners Food

How easy…

Childs play – does take a little time though, just whilst the sponges and filling cool down.

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