Black Forest Cupcakes
Author: 
Yield: 24 cupcakes
 
Ingredients
For the Black Forest Cupcakes
  • 1 ounce (28 g) good-quality dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup (40 g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder, such as Valrhona
  • 2⁄3 cup (165 ml) hot coffee
  • 1⁄3 cup (75 ml) whole milk
  • 1 1⁄3 cups (170 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 ounces (11⁄4 sticks/140 g) unsalted butter, cool but not cold, cut into 1⁄2-inch (12-mm) cubes
  • 1 cup (220 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Filling
  • 1 scant cup (7 ounces/ 200 g) cherry preserves
  • 2 tablespoons kirsch
For the Frosting
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 1⁄2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Assembly
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • 24 fresh cherries with stems
Instructions
MAKE THE BLACK FOREST CUPCAKES
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. Place the chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the coffee directly over them, let sit for 1 minute, and whisk until combined. Add the milk and whisk until smooth.
  3. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the chocolate mixture, and beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  5. Fill the prepared cups about three-quarters full. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Turn the cupcakes out onto the rack, place them right side up, and let them cool completely.
MAKE THE FILLING
  1. In a small bowl, combine the cherry preserves with 1 tablespoon kirsch. Mix and set aside.
MAKE THE FROSTING
  1. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir together 1 1⁄4 cups (250 g) of the sugar, the corn syrup, and 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) water. Once the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to medium-high and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Without stirring, heat the mixture to almost 235°F (113°C; almost the soft-ball stage). Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup fully reach 235°F (113°C), but not higher.
  3. Sprinkle the remaining 1⁄4 cup (50 g) sugar over the soft peaks of the egg whites and turn the mixer to low. Slowly stream in the hot sugar syrup. Once all the syrup has been added, increase the speed to medium-high and beat the icing until it is thick and shiny, about 7 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat again for 10 seconds. Set aside.
ASSEMBLE THE CUPCAKES
  1. Line up the cupcakes on a sheet tray. Stick a large round pastry tip (the kind you usually use in tandem with a pastry bag) into the center of each cupcake, pressing it about halfway down, essentially coring the cupcake. (Alternatively, you can use a small paring knife.) Remove the excess cake.
  2. Using a pastry brush, spread the remaining tablespoon of plain kirsch on each cupcake top. Spoon a teaspoon of the cherry preserves mixture into each cored cupcake.
  3. Transfer the frosting to a large pastry bag using the same large round pastry tip you used to core the cupcakes. Generously pipe frosting onto each cupcake.
  4. Sprinkle each with chocolate sprinkles and top with a cherry. Serve immediately.
Notes
How to Store: The frosting used on these cupcakes tastes best when eaten within 24 hours (even better within 12 hours); however, if you have leftovers, you can cover them tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Recipe by Baked Sunday Mornings at http://bakedsundaymornings.com/2017/04/27/oven-black-forest-cupcakes/