Black forest gateau cupcakes with morello jam filling
This is a dessert from the 1970s made into a modern cupcake. The cupcake is soaked in Kirsch syrup, but it is fine to leave out the alcohol if you prefer. Choose cherries, when available, with intact stalks for more of a dramatic effect.
160g crème fraîche 110g butter, softened (I use salted) 4 medium eggs 220g caster sugar 180g self-raising flour 40g cocoa powder (sifted if lumpy) 125g morello cherry jam 50g dark chocolate, grated 12 fresh cherries
FOR THE SOAKING SYRUP 100g caster sugar 80ml water 3-4 tsp Kirsch (optional)
FOR THE FROSTING 300ml double cream, well chilled 60g icing sugar seeds of ½ vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
EQUIPMENT 12-hole cupcake tin mechanical ice-cream scoop (optional) hand-held electric whisk piping bag with 1.5cm nozzle (optional)
1 Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C/350F/gas 4) and line the cupcake tin with twelve paper cases. 2 First make the cupcakes. Put the crème fraîche, butter, eggs, caster sugar, flour and cocoa powder in a bowl and mix together until well combined. Stir as little as possible to give you much lighter, fluffier cupcakes. Then, using a large spoon or mechanical ice-cream scoop, divide the mixture among the cases, using a spatula to ensure you get every last bit out of the bowl. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and smell baked. To check that they are cooked, insert a skewer in the centre of a cupcake – it should come out clean. 3 As the cupcakes are baking, make the soaking syrup. Put the caster sugar, water and Kirsch, if using, in a small pan over a gentle heat and cook gently until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and allow to bubble for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool a little. 4 Once the cupcakes are cooked, remove them from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin. Then, using a melon baller or apple corer, scoop out the centre of each cupcake, making sure you don’t go all the way down to the bottom. Reserve the scooped-out bits, then fill each hole with 1 heaped teaspoon of the cherry jam. Put the reserved cupcake bits back on top and press down to secure, then brush with as much of the Kirsch syrup as you like and set aside while you make the frosting. 5 Put the cream in a bowl with the icing sugar and vanilla and whisk using the hand-held electric whisk until the cream is just holding its shape with soft peaks. Avoid over-whisking the cream so it stays smooth, shiny and supple. Spoon or pipe the frosting over the cupcakes, scatter over the grated chocolate and place a cherry on top of each one to serve.