Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cherry Surprise Cupcakes-Delicious Recall #2

If you have been following my blog, you know that I do like cherries and chocolate.  When I came across this recipe several years ago, I saved it but have never made it until now.  I guess that is one of the reasons why I came up with this series.

These particular cupcakes are really rich in flavor.  The cake part is made with cherry brandy, cocoa and chocolate chips.  Also, they are doused with chocolate liqueur.  These elements really do make for a tasty combo.  In fact, the cake part was so delicious on its own, I opted not to fill these with the cherry and whipped cream.  I just topped them with a butter cream frosting that has cherry juice and brandy in it. I have included the instructions for the filling below as in the original recipe.

This recipe hails from a blog called The Cheeky Kitchen hosted by Brooke.  This was a recipe that came from a baking challenge between her and a friend that owns a cupcake shop.   This recipe makes about 15 cupcakes.  Make sure you read this whole recipe before proceeding, especially the tips at the end.

Cherry Surprise Cupcakes
adapted from The Cheeky Kitchen

1 tsp cherry brandy
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup self rising flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup chocolate liqueur
1/2 semi sweet chocolate chips

2 cups pitted cherries
1/4 cup cherry brandy
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs vanilla extract

Ingredients/Cherry Buttercream
3 tbs and 1 tsp reserved cherry juice
1/4 tsp cherry extract (optional)
1/2 cup butter
2 tbs vegetable shortening
5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
15-18 whole cherries with stems (optional)

If you are going to fill the cupcakes, the prep work will need to be done first.  Fill a bowl with the cherries and pour in the brandy.  Cover and place in fridge until all cupcakes have been baked.

To make the cake part of the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the upper edge of the cupcake cavities and fill with paper liners.

Sift together the cocoa, flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.  In another bowl cream together both sugars and butter.  Beat in the egg, cherry brandy and vanilla extract.

Fold in 1/2 of the sifted ingredients into the batter.  Then add the milk, stirring until blended.  Fold in the last of the sifted ingredients until no dry streaks remain.  Mix in the chocolate chips.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill each lined cavity about 2/3 full.  You should have about 15 cupcakes.  Put pans in oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until tester comes out clean.  Remove pans and poke holes in the top of the cupcakes.  Then brush chocolate liqueur over the top.  Let set in pans for an additional 10 minutes and then transfer to rack to cool.

While they are cooling, the filling can be made.  Take out the bowl of cherries with brandy. Reserve the juice in a separate bowl and chop the cherries into 1/4 inch pieces and place back in fridge.

In another bowl, whisk the cream until it becomes a little bit thicker than its original state.  Add the sugar and the extract, then beat until the cream reaches a soft peak stage.  Take the chopped cherries out of fridge and fold into whipped cream.  Cover and refrigerate.

Once the cupcakes are cool, take and core out a center piece about 1/2  to 3/4 inch wide and 1 1/2 inch deep.  Then fill the hole with the whipped cream mixture.

For the buttercream, beat butter and vegetable shortening together until smooth.  Then add one cup of powdered sugar, mixing at medium speed.  In one cup increments add the sugar and beat after each addition.  Lastly, add the cherry juice, cherry extract (optional) and vanilla extract and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy.

Fill piping bag with tip and decorate to your preference.  You can place a whole cherry on top or place a chocolate dipped cherry on top, if you desire.

Tips and Notes:
1. If you do not do the filling, the reserved juice will not be available. Maraschino juice can be used in its place with the cherry extract for your buttercream frosting..
2. These cupcakes are very delicate because of the liqueur brushed on top.  Based on that it is important that you do not overfill and that the top edges of your muffin cavities are well greased.  Original instructions said fill cavities 3/4 full, which was too much due to the rise factor.
3. I found the buttercream to be too thick.  You can add more cherry or maraschino juice until you reach the right consistency.
4. Taste your frosting before adding the cherry extract, to make sure you want to add any more flavor.  The longer the cherries sit in the kirsch, the stronger the flavor of the juice.
                         **LAST YEAR: Italian Dippers**