#31 Black Forest Cupcakes

When I got my Martha Stewart Cupcake book back in September I saw these cupcakes and thought how complicated and time consuming they looked. Not that they didn't look delectable or anything but I was kinda trying to avoid this one like the plague. So with my luck of course this cupcake was picked for this months monthly MS cupcake challenge. Since I wasn't able to do last months I sucked it up and did it. Plus after it was all said and done it really wasn't that bad :) But a little for warning... The cherries look a little like buggers so don't get grossed out!!! When I was at the store I didn't completely read the label and ended up with yellow cherries. There totally tasty but they lack some of the contrast red cherries would have with the cream (or in my case custard I'll get to this disaster later!!). Red ones would have looked way better.

Black Forest Cupcakes (courtesy of Martha Stewart)
The chocolate cupcake by it's self is good, but I would have to say the ganache is the best part.

The Goods
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 1/2cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 lg eggs room temp
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 jar (12oz) preserved cherries in light syrup
2 tablespoons kirsch (cherry-flavored brandy) I could find this fancy stuff so I used cherry liquor

The How To
Preheat oven to 350degrees. Brush standard muffin tins with butter, dust with cocoa powder, tapping out excess. I of course didn't feel like doing this step so I just used paper liners. Much easier!! Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

With your mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy-about 3mins.

Add brown sugar, and beat until fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

Yes Yes Yes I know the egg isn't fully beaten in yet
Mix in sour cream.

Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and mixing until just combined after each.

Before dividing the batter evenly among prepared cups-Let your taste tester test out the batter. This is the most important step to the cupcake process!!

I think it was approved!!
Now go ahead and fill cups three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until tops are firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean. About 18-20mins. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely.

Look at that-No mess! Gotta love paper liners :)
So while the cupcakes are cooking make the pastry cream or if you've got time and you thought about this ahead, make this stuff the day before. I actually attempted to make this stuff twice. The first time I made the cream I poured the milk in too fast and it seized up the sugar stuff. Let me tell you that was the hardest stuff to get off the bottom of the pan! If I had an extra one I would have just thrown this horrible mess away!!

This actually looked way worseI manged to scrap a lot of it off.
So the second time I attempted it I used my hand mixer in hopes that it would be getting mixed enough as I poured the milk in. Nope this didn't work too well either but I was out of milk so I couldn't try it again. I ended up just letting the Carmel goop melt and it then turned into like a custard. As bad as it sound it was pretty tasty.

Pastry Cream
Good luck that's all I can say ;)

The Goods
4 lg egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla

The How To
Whisk egg yolks until smooth in a large bowl and set aside for now.

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan, and cook over medium heat.

Also don't use plastic.... This poor spoon melted in the first batch I attempted.
This is where the extra pair of hands come in.
Stirring constantly, gradually add milk in a slow, steady stream, and cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble, about 5 mins.

Whisking constantly, slowly pour one third of the milk mixture into egg yolks. This step tempers the eggs and prevents the eggs from curdling.

Pour the egg mixture into the remaining milk mixture and cook over medium heat whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil and is thick enough to hold its shape when lifted with a spoon, 2-4mins. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl.

Cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap, pressing it directly on surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 2 hours.

I opted for plastic.
 Now for the ganache! I love this stuff. I didn't have enough of the semi sweet so subed in some bittersweet and I think it turned out good.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze

The Goods
6oz semisweet chocolate. I ended up using 4oz semisweet and 2oz bittersweet.
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

The How To
If your chocolate isn't already chopped up go ahead and do this first and then put in a heat proof bowl. The finer the better.

Bring cream and corn syrup just to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.

Now pour mixture over chocolate and let stand without stirring until chocolate begins to melt.

Using a flexible spatula, gently stir chocolate and cream until totally combined.

Now to finish drain cherries, reserving 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons syrup. Combine reserved syrup and kirch or in my case liquor in a small bowl.

gotta love my unred cherries!

A dollar sounded a lot better than 13 on a whole bottle.

Using a serrated knife, split cupcakes in half horizontally. If you've used liners make sure to remove them before cutting.

Brush both cut sides with liquor mixture.

If only my cherries were as red as the the liquor...
Arrange halved cherries over cupcake bottoms; spoon about 1 tablespoon of the cream evenly over cherries.

You can tell that my cream/custard turned out really thick. It pretty much stayed in place, but was a little hard to spoon on top of the cherries.
Replace top halves and spoon 2 tablespoons glaze over tops. Refrigerate 30mins before serving.

They kinda look more like sandwiches than cupcakes but that's ok. They tasted pretty good.
Up Next...
Could be something with carrots, or maybe mint... Or even something sugar free. Sooooo many options!


  1. looks good....i didn't have good luck with the pastry cream either :(.....so i ended up using vanilla cream cake filling! They look yummy!!

  2. Yum! They look great and sound really tasty!

  3. For some reason,I've never had a problem with pastry cream...and I usually do with things like that.

    I love that you bought the wrong colour of cherries without paying attention...I do stuff like that all the time.

    Thanks for baking with me.

  4. Yours look really pretty and I love your step by step photos, especially the ones of your testers.