Strangely enough, I’ve never had a great version of Black Forest cake. I like all the flavors, but the few times I’ve ordered it, I’ve found it to be cloyingly sweet and slightly artificial tasting. Matt and Renato have come to the rescue, with a perfectly dark and richly chocolatey cupcake, a blast of natural cherry flavor, a delicate meringue frosting, plus a pop of extra chocolate flavor in sprinkle form. If it wasn’t obvious, I really enjoyed these cupcakes.
It turns out these delicious cupcakes are also pretty robust to baker snafus. I made these when I was quite tired and not thinking things through as well as I ought. I measured out the hot coffee right over the chopped chocolate and cocoa, so of course the hot coffee came sloshing out of the pot and I wound up with more than the intended 2/3 cup in there (I think). At least I took the time to make sure my cocoa was relatively chunk-free and I chopped my dark chocolate into small pieces, so I had no trouble whisking everything into a smooth liquid (I’ve learned not to be lazy about some things). A few pieces of egg shell got in the batter and I almost lost them to the mix. As I was measuring out the cupcakes, I thought to myself, “wow, I’m really filling these muffin tins up past 3/4 of the way but I don’t want to waste the batter and it’s not enough to complete another muffin tin”. It wasn’t until after they’d been in the oven for 10 minutes that I realized my 12 cupcakes were supposed to be 24. Miraculously, they survived, requiring only an extra 10 minutes to bake through (30 minutes total). The next morning I decided coring my giant muffins with a pastry bag tip wasn’t going to allow for the right ratio of cherry filling to cupcake, so I used a medium-sized (1.5 inch) biscuit cutter to delineate the cores evenly and then a paring knife to take out the cupcake cores. I made my jam filling with St. Dalfour black cherry jam and Triple Sec instead of Kirsch; the Triple Sec because I didn’t want to buy another liqueur. I figured the orange flavoring, although not traditional, would at least complement the cherry and chocolate… and it did. I wound up putting a heaping teaspoon of filling in each cored cupcake and ran out of filling after those 12 large cupcakes. I was left staring at 12 sizeable cupcake cores that I didn’t want to waste, so I opted to spoon a tiny bit of cherry jam on top of each core and “brush” it on with the back of a tea spoon, then I frosted them too. Et voila, mini Black Forest cupcakes.The meringue frosting itself was really easy to make. No labor intensive whisking over a hot water bath or anxiety-inducing additions of butter pieces to a cooked frosting base here. Just heat some sugar and water, no need to even stir after the first minute or two. In a few more minutes it will reach not-quite soft ball stage and can be drizzled while whisking into the sugar-sprinkled egg whites. A stand mixer or hand mixer does the work of turning these simple ingredients into a light and airy marshmallow-like meringue.My only regret with this recipe was I had a ton of meringue frosting leftover. Even after frosting all 24 large and mini cupcakes, it seemed like almost half the original amount remained. I couldn’t think of a legitimate reason to keep it around, and since Matt and Renato said it’s best within 12-24 hours of whipping, I just threw it away. If I make these again, I’d halve the ingredients for the meringue frosting, but otherwise I found this recipe for Black Forest cupcakes to be utterly delicious. The cupcake itself is rich and deeply chocolatey, the cherry preserves + liqueur keeps the cake from being overly rich, and the light and fluffy meringue isn’t overly sweet but works to balance the strong chocolate-cherry flavors. My co-workers raved about them, and they seemed happy about the two size options too.