Saturday, October 24, 2009

Black Black (Forest) Heart Cupcakes (Iron Cupcake)

As if participating in one cupcake group/contest weren't enough (it's so addicting!), I've gone and joined another one (mmmhm). IronCupcake:Earth has just entered it's second year. And clearly, these bakers know how to start a party 'cause the very first theme is music, inspired by our favorite boogie-ing talkshow host, Ellen.

Black black heart why would you offer more?
Why would you make it easier on me to satisfy...I'm on fire
I'm rotting to the core
I'm eating all your kings and queens
All your sex and your diamonds

So which lucky song (=p) was my muse? Well I've gushed before about the talented and sexy Canadian singer, David Usher. The dark and sensuous song quoted above, "Black Black Heart", was my unforgettable introduction to his music and inspired me to make these equally luscious and deeply flavored Black Forest-inspired chocolate cupcakes with brandied cherry filling, whipped cream frosting, and homemade chocolate hearts. Check out the music video after the jump to get the full experience. Voting for Iron Cupcake will begin at this site Friday, October 30th at 8 p.m. (central) and will be open through Thursday, November 5th. And please show some love to our generous IronCupcake:Earth prize providers by visiting their sites!

The Demy™ by Key Ingredient
Hello, Cupcake by Karen Tack & Alan Richardson
Bella Cupcake Couture
Cupcake Stackers by Gourmac
The Cake Mix Doctor Returns! by Anne Byrne

Black Black (Forest) Heart Cupcakes [Printable Recipe]
Cake adapted from Hershey's
Makes about 14 cupcakes

1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water (or 1/2 cup black coffee)
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar plus milk to equal 1/2 cup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons Kirschwasser (cherry brandy)
Cherry Filling (Recipe Below)
Kirsch Whipped Cream (Recipe Below)
Chocolate Hearts (Recipe Below)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line standard muffin pans with paper liners.

In large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the egg, milk, coffee (or reconstituted coffee mixture), oil, Kirsch and vanilla extract. Beat by hand or with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.

Pour the batter, which will be thin, to fill the paper liners about 2/3 full. Tap the pan firmly against the counter one time to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or just until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack and let them cool completely there.

Once cool, cut a cone in each cupcake and spoon in 2-3 teaspoons of the cherry filling. Replace the cone and frost with Kirsch-flavored whipped cream. Finally, top each cupcake with a chocolate heart. Due to the cream, these must be stored in the fridge if not eating right away.

Cherry Filling
1 15-ounce can of tart cherries, drained
2 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons cherry preserves
4 tablespoons Kirschwasser (cherry brandy)

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cherries, water, sugar, and preserves. The mixture should start simmering. Stir frequently until it begins to thicken. Remove from heat, stir in the kirsch, and let the filling cool completely.

Kirsch Whipped Cream

XIAOLU'S NOTE: Chill the bowl and beaters/whisk in the freezer (if metal) or fridge for best results.

1 envelope (¼ oz.) unflavored gelatin (optional)
3 Tablespoons Kirsch (cherry brandy)
2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
1 cup powdered (confectioner's) sugar, sifted

Combine the gelatin and Kirsch in a small bowl and let it sit for several minutes to soften the gelatin. Microwave the bowl for 1 minute and set aside to cool. Using a mixer, beat the heavy cream in a chilled bowl until it holds soft peaks. Add powdered sugar and beat until combined. Finally, slowly add in the gelatin mixture while beating until the mixture holds stiff peaks. It's best to use this immediately or if you are using it fairly soon, keep it chilled in the refrigerator until ready to pipe.

Chocolate Hearts
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Using a fairly thick and dark pen or marker, draw outlines of hearts on light-colored paper.

Place chocolate chips in a plastic zipper-lock bag and microwave at 10-second intervals, massaging the bag in between, until the chocolate is fully melted. Press as much air as possible out of the bag then close the top. Let the chocolate cool for about 10 minutes until it's still fluid enough to pipe smoothly but not so melted that it'll ooze out uncontrollably.

Lay a piece of parchment or wax paper over the outlines you made earlier. Use scissors to cut off a 1/16-inch corner (very tiny!) of the plastic bag and pipe the chocolate onto the parchment paper along the outlines underneath, filling in the hearts completely. Chill all piped chocolate in the refrigerator or freezer until firm, at least 5 minutes.


  1. How delicious. Funny though, I am actually making Black Forest cake for my husband's birthday day!

  2. Julia - I actually intend to tackle the layer cake soon so I look forward to your post (if you post about the cake). I hear the Cake Bible version is fantastic.

  3. Oh my gosh, brillliant cupcakes (I can't believe I forgot to enter this month!!!!) and such a great David Usher song. Beauuuuutiful photography- makes me just wanna eat these up!

  4. These look amazing! I love the theme of this Iron Cupcake. I can't wait to see the round-up with everyone's choices. You were so inventive with these. I got the cookbook just the other day and am loving it! Can't wait to bake something from it soon.

  5. Koko - thanks a lot and I'm sorry you missed this contest. I'm sure you woulda come up with something awesome but I bet next month'll be just as fun!

    Amanda - why thank ya =).

    Joanne - Yay! I'm so glad the book got there safely. Go (cupcake) crazy!

  6. Those look so good! I wish I could have one. A couple of years ago we went to this small city festival and David Usher was performing there. I was really surprised to see him so didn't believe it was actually him.

  7. Thanks emd! I'm so jealous that you saw David. Maybe one day he'll come to DC...

  8. Oh my gosh, you need to send me one. I'm sure the trip to Texas won't even affect the whipped cream.

  9. Haha I would love to, but sadly even with the gelatin, the cream wouldn't be THAT stable. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. very awesomely cute my sophisticated cupcakes they are:)

  11. Fantasticno, mnogo mi se dopada tvoj blog :)))


I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu