Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes

Simple and elegant these little cupcakes, enhanced with amaretto or kirsch are pleasing to the eye and the taste buds. I consider these to be an adult treat, they look decadent but yet are so easy to make. I like to use an easy water ganache for these cakes as it is less heavy on the calories and there is a more pronounced, bitter chocolate taste as a result.


Preheat the oven to 175 degrees c (fan)

Start by making the topping then it will be cool enough to use by the time the cakes are baked and cooled. Break the chocolate into very small pieces – the food processor is great for this or use chocolate chips.  Transfer the chopped chocolate to a heat proof bowl, add the butter which needs to be at room temperature then pour over the boiling water.  Stir well until the chocolate mix is smooth then transfer to a jug and leave to cool and thicken.  It needs to be the thickness of single cream.  If it is too thick by the time you want to use it pop into the microwave for 15 second bursts until you have the required consistency.

To prepare the cherries : first wash the cherries under cold water then dry on kitchen roll. Chop the cherries into small pieces then place in a small mixing bowl.  Take 1 tsp cocoa from the amount to be used for the cakes and toss the cherries around in it until they are all coated.  Set aside.

Cream together the margarine and sugar until soft and fluffy then add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Place the cocoa powder in a separate small bowl or jug and add the milk, almond extract and amaretto/kirsch.  Mix well to a smooth paste.

Sift the flour and fold into the cake mixture along with the almonds then add the chocolate paste and finally the cherries. Fold everything together really well then divide between the 12 paper cases.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cakes are risen and firm to the touch.

Remove from the tin and place on a cooling rack then when completely cold pour over the chocolate topping making sure it spreads to the sides.

Leave for 10 minutes or so to slightly firm up then top each cake with a single fresh cherry or pipe and decorate with water icing and marzipan cherries.

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