Today is the hubby’s birthday. He is not fussy when it comes to celebrating this special occasion. Give him a round of golf (or two) with his friends and parents, some R&R, add one of his favourite home-cooked meals and he’s one happy guy. No big production needed. On the menu tonight is his second most favourite dish that I make: no fuss spicy Korean ribs. For dessert, black forest cupcakes. I made him a black forest cake last year (you can read about it here), but it was a bit of a production. I have no time for that this year seeing as it’s a weekday and all.
This is another recipe I concocted from a couple of recipes, but it is not really a fussy recipe. The top and bottom of the cupcake is made of a chocolate truffle cake batter. Oh how I wished I had taken photos of the whole process. The batter looked so yummy, much like a creamy, smooth cappuccino mousse that could be eaten as is. But I digress. Inside is a layer of cream cheese, topped with a layer of bright cherry pie filling. I really wanted to make my own pie filling, but cherries were nowhere to be found, not even frozen ones. Canned pie filling it is. See, what did I say about it being non-fussy?
This is not your traditional black forest cake, but the essence is there. These cupcakes are decadent, but strangely light. They are a bit tart with a hint of sweetness. The whipped frosting, with a smidgen of brandy flavour, is light and fluffy and goes so well with the slightly rich cake. I know all this because we had to do a taste test last night as soon as they came out of the oven (at 10pm) and were cool enough to frost.
Now all that needs to be done tonight is to stick the ribs in the oven, put the cupcakes on a plate, sprinkle on some chocolate and dig in.
But enough about the cupcakes. To my wonderful husband and best friend, the one who knows me better than myself, happy birthday!
Cake batter (adapted from Frosting for the Cause)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 oz (0.4 cup) sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 1/2 oz (~0.5 cup) bittersweet (dark) chocolate, melted
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1/2 can cherry pie filling
- maraschino cherries (optional)
- chocolate sprinkles/shavings (optional)
Cream cheese filling (from allrecipes.com)
- 1 (250 g) package light cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp brandy extract
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Line cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
- To make cake batter: In a mixing bowl, use a hand-held mixer on medium-high speed to beat the butter and sugar together until light & fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. In alternate batches, stir the melted chocolate, dry ingredients, and milk into the butter mixture.
- To make cream cheese filling: Mix cream cheese, egg and sugar until well blended
- For each cupcake, add 1-1.5 tbsp cake batter, followed by 1-1.5 tsp cream cheese filling and 1-1.5 tsp cherry pie filling. Top with more cake batter.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
- To make frosting: Whip cream on medium-high until peaks form. Add vanilla and brandy extracts and mix until incorporated.
- Garnish with maraschino cherries and chocolate sprinkles.
Notes and Tips:
I ended up with 12 cupcakes, with about 1/4-1/2 of the cream cheese filling leftover. There wasn’t enough cake batter to completely fill all the tops of the cupcakes, so make fewer cupcakes if you don’t want the fillings to be exposed.