Black Forest Cake & Cupcakes

I’ve been waiting to make this post since last week.  Sorry for the delay, but I needed to unload those one-shot deals, so now we can all look forward to regular size posts.  And sadly, less pictures of Izzy…but is a food blog after all.  I think starting a blog dedicated to my bunny would be kinda weird.

Exactly one week ago was my first venture into baking for profit.  I was a little nervous, but only because I wanted it all to turn out perfectly.  I make my fair share of mistakes in the kitchen that result in less-than-attractive desserts, but luckily, I don’t care how they look as long as they taste good.  And then I take pictures of the pretty ones to put up here 🙂

Still, when baking for an occasion, I want my stuff to look good.  Fortunately for me, everything came together nicely even though I did almost everything the morning of.   The only thing I did the night before was bake the cake layers.

I was extremely thrilled when I got 13 cupcakes out of the recipe, because that meant I got one to myself!  Which I ate at 10 in the morning.  Brunch anyone?  I didn’t get to try the cake, but I heard good things.  I’d never made black forest cake before, but it’s relatively straight forward.  The layer cake was two chocolate layers with cherries in the middle, covered in whipped cream frosting.  The cupcakes were chocolate, with a cherry filling and whipped cream frosting.  I used grated chocolate and more cherries for decoration.

Since I work off of requests, I’m very interested to see what I’ll be making for the office next!

Black Forest Cake

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

For the cake:
2 cups sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

For the cherries:
1 can (20 ounces) cherries, drained
¼ cup Kirsch or other brandy

For the whipped cream:
1½ cups heavy cream, chilled
½ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Divide batter between the two prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until thin knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

4. Reserve 12 cherries for decorating. Combine the remaining cherries and the Kirsch; set aside.

5. To make the whipped cream, combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract and whip until soft to almost-stiff peaks form. Refrigerate whipped cream until ready to use.

5. Once the cakes are cool, level the tops and place one layer on a serving platter. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cherries and place on the cake layer. Top with about ½ to ¾ cup whipped cream, spreading over cherries (that’s an estimation, as I didn’t measure, just covered the cherries and spread into an even layer). Place the second layer on top, and frost the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream. Decorate as desired.

* Note: If you do not have Kirsch or brandy, or would rather not use alcohol, reserve ¼ cup of the juice/syrup from the canned cherries before draining.

Also, I doubled the whipped cream frosting recipe here and used it to frost the cupcakes as well.

Black Forest Cupcakes

Adapted from A Cup of Sugar, A Pinch of Salt

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes (though I got 13!)

1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups jarred sour cherries (NOT maraschino cherries!), pitted, with juice
2 tablespoons corn starch

Preheat oven to 350F.

In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at time, then stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture, ending with the flour.

Fill the lined muffin cups three-quarters full, being careful not to overfill. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the cherry filling: Reserve 12-14 of the nicest looking. These will be used for the garnish. Also, reserve 3 tablespoons of the cherry juice to mix with the corn starch while still cold, to make a slurry. Then, roughly chop the remaining cherries and add to a saucepan over low heat, with the juice. Bring to a low simmer. Add the corn starch slurry and, while stirring, let come back to a full boil to thicken. Immediately remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. The filling should thicken somewhat.

To assemble: Insert a small knife at a 45 degree angle about 1/8 inch from the edge of each cupcake and cut all the way around, remove a cone of cake. Cut away all but the top 1/4 inch of the cone; leaving only a small disk of cake which will be used to top the cupcake. With a small spoon, fill each one with 2 tablespoons of the cherry filling and top with the disk. Frost liberally with whipped cream, garnish with a cherry and sprinkle with chocolate shavings.

Keep refrigerated until almost ready to serve.

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