Monday, September 16, 2013

Authentic Black Forest Cupcakes (Schwarzwald Kirsch Kuchen) with Meringue Mushrooms

I got a job today! Not just any job, but a job that will surround me with freshly baked breads and coffee beverages on a daily basis AND I actually get paid for it! There is nothing left to do but celebrate with cake!

As you can see I am continuing the German theme, I'm not sure why but I have been obsessed with everything that is German lately. I hope to travel there someday. I put "Authentic" in the title because the Black Forest Cake I was used too consisted of sickeningly sweet frosting and artificial maraschino cherries (oh America, you so silly). This cake is the exact opposite of the American version in every way. Some interesting tidbits I learned about this cake is that it is not named directly after the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) mountain range in southwestern Germany but rather from the specialty liquor of that region, known as Schwarzwälder Kirsch(wasser) and distilled from tart cherries. This is the ingredient, with its distinctive cherry pit flavor and alcoholic content, that gives the cake its flavor. This cake blew my mind, the cake itself is moist and rich, slightly soaked by the cherry Kirsch, topped with a whipped cream and coffee flavored frosting, accompanied by dark cherries which have also been soaked in Kirsch. These cupcakes take some time to assemble, but they last for a long time! I have kept mine for a week in the fridge and they are still super moist and delicious!

*You will have to prepare the cherries in advance so plan accordingly

Black Forest region of Germany

Black Forest Cupcakes

Before you start on the cake, take 1 cup of dark sweet cherries (I use frozen) and soak in 1/2 cup Kirsch overnight.

makes about 15-20 cupcakes

for the cake...
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1.Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line large muffin tins with cupcake liners.
2.Sift the dry cake ingredients together. Cream the shortening and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk and mix well. Pour evenly into the cupcake pans.
3.Bake for 20 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Cool and the cakes.
4.Using an apple corer or a small knife, remove the center of each cupcake and pour the 1/2 cup of Kirsch (that the cherries soaked in) onto each of the cakes(see pictures below) then insert a couple of soaked cherries inside and top with filling.

for the filling...

1/2 cup kirsch
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 cups icing sugar
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup espresso
1 1/2 lbs fresh black cherries

In a bowl beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the icing sugar, salt and espresso and mix well. If the icing is too thick add Kirsch or cherry juice.

for the icing...

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 TBS kirsch
2 tablespoons icing sugar
cocoa powder (for garnish)

The day you're going to serve this cake prepare the icing. Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. Add the vanilla and pour in the Kirsch until it's a good consistency. Frost cakes, then place the fresh, intact cherries on top for decoration and cover the top with the chocolate shavings or cocoa powder. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bekah Goertzen

For a tutorial on meringue mushrooms, click HERE

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