Friday, November 12, 2010

Black Forest Cupcakes

Last month, my facebook baking group chose a black forest cake as the group recipe.

The girl who hosted the month said that black forest cake was traditionally served at Okterberfest celebrations. She thought this recipe would make a great October selection for the group.

I was very excited about the recipe...except for the fact that I don't really care for chocolate...or cherries. Other than that? This recipe was awesome! LOL!

As the group began baking this cake some members were having difficulties with the frosting. Other's had issues with the cake itself.

So I decided to make the cake into little cupcakes.

Seeing as how I don't like cherries or chocolate and was none too thrilled about the combination of flavors in this dessert, I took these to a dinner party. 2 out of 3 people thought they were delicious.

One woman who tried the cupcake mentioned that the German idea of 'sweets' was not the same as the American idea. The Germans tend to favor desserts with less sugar than the Americans.

That being said, these are a great treat for those of you out there who do not care for body twitching sugary desserts.

Either way, the recipe was fun to make and I liked how they turned out looks wise. I enjoyed making the recipe into cupcakes instead of a 3 layer cake.

Here's how I made these cupcakes:

Grab your ingredients: eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, bread flour, cocoa powder, pastry flour, vegetable oil, cream of tartar, cornstarch, butter, whipping cream, cherry brandy and cherries (I could not find fresh so used canned. You can also use jarred if you wish).

We are going to start by making the cake. Place 5 eggs in a mixer and whip on high speed for 5 minutes.

Once the eggs are whipped up, add the sugar, salt and vanilla and mix well to combine.

Take the bowl off the mixing stand and place it atop a pot of simmering water. Heat the mixture to between 110 and 115 degrees F.

Once the mixture is heated, place it back on the mixing stand and whip for another 15 minutes to stabilize the mixture.

While the mixer is mixing for 15 minutes, go ahead and sift together the bread flour, pastry flour and cocoa powder.

Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. While folding, slowly add in the oil.

Continue folding until all the ingredients are well combined.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured muffin pan. Immediately place in the oven and bake until the cake springs back to the touch, about 18-20 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

While the cake is baking, make the syrup. Combine the sugar, water, cherry brandy and cream of tartar in a small saucepan. Cook on low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Cover and let simmer about 2 minutes then remove from heat to let cool.

Next up, the cherry filling. Place the cherries and cherry brandy in a small saucepan and stir to coat the cherries.

Cook over medium low heat until most of the brandy evaporates, about 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.

Now we can work on the pastry cream. Reserve 2 Tablespoons of the milk. Then combine the rest of the milk with half the sugar in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.

In a small bowl, combine the reserved milk with the cornstarch and whisk to make a slurry, or thin paste.

Then whisk in the rest of the sugar and the eggs.

Temper (or warm up) the egg mixture by slowly whisking in some of the heated milk to the mixture.

Now pour the warmed egg mixture into into the pot of boiling milk. Bring back to a boil, whisking constantly, and cook for 1 minute.

Remove the mixture from the heat. Then whisk in the butter and vanilla until the butter is melted and everything is combined.

Pour the cream into a large pan, cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool.

Now that everything is cooked and cooled it is time to start assembling the cupcakes! Take your cooled cupcakes and cut them in half horizontally.

Grab your cooled syrup and a pastry brush. Brush generous amounts of the syrup onto each cupcake half (or you can try to drizzle/pour the syrup over the cupcakes but I was too scared to do that).

Spoon some of the cherries onto the bottom of each syrup covered cupcake. Then spread some of the pastry cream onto the tops of each cupcake. Place the tops onto the cherry covered bottoms.

Whip the heavy cream and sugar on high speed until stiff peaks form.

Using whatever method you enjoy, top the cupcakes with the whipped cream. I placed my whipped cream into a pastry bag with a 1M decorating tip and swirled it. You can get a similar effect by putting the whipped cream in a large ziplock bag and cutting off the corner. Or you can spread or spoon it on.

Decorate with cherries or sprinkle cocoa powder on top.

Serve to your friends. And enjoy!!

Oh! And if this recipe interests you, come on over to our group and join us!

Black Forest Cupcakes
Slightly adapted from Food Network

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For the cake:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon bread flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon oil

For the syrup:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 4 teaspoons cherry brandy
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the cherry filling:

  • 1 quart fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 cup cherry brandy

For the Pastry Cream:

  • 1 1/3 cups milk, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the whipped cream topping:

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the Cupcakes:
  1. Heat a skillet full of water to a bare simmer. 
  2. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, whip eggs on high speed for 5 minutes. 
  3. To the eggs add sugar, salt and vanilla and combine. 
  4. Set the bowl into the hot water bath to heat the mixture to between 110 and 120 degrees F.
  5. Stabilize the mixture by whipping on medium speed for 15 more minutes.
  6. Meanwhile sift together the bread flour, the cocoa powder, and the pastry flour. Prepare the baking pans by greasing 2 cupcake pans and dusting with flour.
  7. Gradually fold the sifted dry ingredients into the egg mixture by hand. Slowly pour in the oil while folding.
  8. Fill the muffin pans approximately 2/3 full with the batter and place immediately in the oven. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes. (The surface of the cake should spring back when touched.) 
  9. Cool 10 minutes in the pans, then remove to wire racks to let cool completely.

For the syrup:

  1. Combine the sugar, water, cherry brandy, and cream of tartar in a small saucepan. 
  2. Cook over low heat stirring only until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is hot. 
  3. Cover and simmer gently for 2 minutes. 
  4. Remove from heat, uncover and let cool.

For the cherry filling:

  1. Place cherries in a small saucepot and add brandy, stirring to coat cherries. 
  2. Heat over medium low heat until most of liquid evaporates, then remove from heat and let cool.

For the pastry cream:

  1. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the milk then combine the rest of the milk with half the sugar and bring to a gentle boil. 
  2. In a small bowl whisk the 2 tablespoons of reserved milk into the cornstarch to create a slurry. 
  3. Add the other half of the sugar and then the eggs to the slurry and whisk to completely combine. 
  4. Temper the egg mixture with the boiling milk. (This is done by spooning some of the milk into the egg mixture to equalize temperatures without cooking the eggs.) 
  5. Return all liquids to the pot and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook for 1 minute. 
  6. Remove the milk mixture from the heat and whisk in butter and vanilla extract. 
  7. Pour into a large pan, put plastic wrap directly on the surface, and allow to cool.
  8. Slice each of the cupcakes (horizontally). 
  9. Place the cupcake halves onto baking sheets (which have a rim) and pour or brush cherry syrup over the layers, allowing them to soak.

For the cream topping:

  1. Whip the heavy cream and sugar with an electric mixer on high to a stiff peak.
  2. Assemble the cakes by spreading a layer of the pastry cream on the top half, then placing brandied cherries on the bottom half. Place cupcake halves together. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.
  3. Frost top layer of cake with whipped cream topping and garnish with cherries or sifted cocoa powder.
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