Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Birthday Cupcakes

We were in Florida over the holiday weekend to celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday.  It was a great party with lots of friends and family, but we didn't want to overlook the fact that it was also the day before my dad's 60th birthday!  I asked what kind of cupcakes he would want, and he went with classic chocolate cake topped with cherry buttercream.  Happy Birthday, Dad!

This chocolate cake was surprisingly rich considering that there's not a lot of chocolate in it, and very moist.  The cherry buttercream was delicious- I couldn't find the tart cherry preserves called for in the original recipe, but regular sweet preserves worked fine, since the cake itself wasn't particularly sweet.  I halved both recipes for an even dozen cupcakes, with some frosting leftover.

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
cake from Wilton, cherry buttercream from Food Network

What's in them:

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 c all-purpose flour, unsifted

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 3/4 c butter, room temperature

  • 2 c sugar

  • 3 eggs (if halving, use 1 egg and 1 egg yolk)

  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • 1 Tbsp instant coffee or espresso

  • 1 1/2 c milk

  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted

  • For the frosting:

  • 4 - 4 1/2 c confectioners' sugar

  • 1 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

  • 3 to 4 Tbsp milk

  • 2/3 c cherry preserves

  • cherry halves for garnishing

  • How to make them:

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla and instant coffee; beat thoroughly. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Add melted chocolate and beat thoroughly. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in pan on rack; remove and cool completely before decorating.

    While cupcakes are baking, make the buttercream.   In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle or whisk attachment, mix together 4 cups of the powdered sugar and the butter on medium-low speed until well blended. Add the vanilla and milk and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Beat in the cherry preserves until well incorporated.  Add more powdered sugar to reach your desired consistency.  I left mine a little on the soft side so that I could gently spread with a spoon for a smooth finish. 

    Frost cupcakes either by spreading or piping the buttercream onto them.  Top each with a cherry half.

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