Black Forest Cupcakes

For this week’s baking project I decided to pick something a little more German & perhaps more traditional. While black forest cake is usually baked as a full sized, multi-layered cake, I decided to experiment and bake black forest cupcakes. While the cupcakes were in the oven, I read about the history and origin of the black forest cake.

Having assumed that the name originates from the Black Forest area in Germany, I learned that the true inspiration for this “Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte” was not only the dense forests and beautiful highlands with abundant cherry trees, but also the speciality cherry liquor “Schwarzwälder Kirsch Wasser”, which gives the cake its distinct flavour (The cake layers are usually soacked in the cherry liquor). Did you know that Joseph Keller was the inventor of the Black Forest cake? It is rumoured that this cake was first created in 1915, however; a recipe did not appear in print until 1930.

After baking the chocolate cupcakes and allowing them time to cool, I hollowed out the centres to make space for the cherry filling (which I had pre-mixed with a spoon of sugar and cherry liquor). If you don’t have the fancy little gadget / baking tool (more commonly known as a cupcake corer), you can cut a small section out from the middle with a sharp knife. It works just as well. To make the topping you can beat heavy cream with an electric mixer and add in a little powdered sugar and a spoon of vanilla essence.

I am really chuffed with the way these cupcakes turned out. The moist, rich chocolate cake pairs so well with the cherry filling,  fresh whipped cream topping and chocolate shavings. This is definitely an adult cupcake, as it lacks the buttercream icing, that kids usually like. It’s the kind of cupcake that pairs well with a strong cup of coffee while you relax on the couch with a good book. But it also is well suited as an after dinner dessert cupcake – the perfect portion and mix of something sweet after a satisfying meal.

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Crispy Choco Fridge Cake with Marshmallows & Nuts

IMAGINE- Chocolate, butter, Marshmallows, Nuts and biscuits. With everything that goes into this little treat, how could it not be delicious? But these aren’t ordinary treats. These are to be considered “fashionista” treats as I found the recipe in an October issue of Vogue. They are the kind that pair well with a cup of afternoon tea, but also (and probably more preferably) with a glass of bubbly.

The recipe is very easy and you can whip these together in just a few minutes. Simply melt the chocolate with the butter and a couple spoons of syrup, then add the broken biscuit chunks, nuts and mini marshmallows. I tossed these in a lined loaf tin, so that I could ensure each slice of the log would be at least 2cm deep. Allow them a couple hours to set in the fridge and then you can chop into logs and individual pieces.

While making these, preparing the ingredients and tasting the batter (an absolute MUST, as every baker and chef knows) I was instantly reminded of Smores, a beloved American treat. Having lived for 8 years in Cleveland, Ohio, I of course was all too familiar with Smores. For those who don’t know what Smores are – this is a treat you can enjoy on a winter evening over a log fire or braai with friends: Two graham crackers, a piece of chocolate and a toasted marshmallow. You then sandwich the marshmallow on top of the chocolate and between the graham crackers. The chocolate melts and you have an amazing taste of chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers all in one bite! Well that is the traditional way of making Smores, but as with everything, there are other creative alternatives. I have memories of Christian and I trying to warm up/toast our marshmallows in the microwave!

So overall, a quick and easy recipe but really delicious. Be warned though – these are rich. You will need to limit yourself to one (ok maybe two) per serving.

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Mini Burger Cupcakes

Yes – these sweet burgers are cupcakes! I made these a couple of weeks ago for our American friends who came to visit us in Germany. I needed to bake two seperate batches of cupcakes, a mix of chocolate and vanilla. The vanilla cupcake tops are used as the hamburgers buns & the chocolate tops make the meat patty. But a burger is not a burger without sauce! So I made a regular butter cream icing and then added the red & yellow food colouring to resemble the ketchup and mustard. Who would’ve thought burgers could be a meal and a dessert?

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Mocha Espresso Cupcakes

These cupcakes were really delish – the perfect combination of chocolate and coffee flavour (two of my favourite things). I also got to try out the new baking accessories I had ordered- different shaped & sized nozzles for icing & piping bags! The cupcake holders are self made too –  a really nice touch for personalizing your cupcakes.

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Giant Cookie Monster Cupcake

Well here I am writing the first article for my blog. I’m new to blogging so probably need some time to get used to all of this & find my find blogging style. A big thanks to Christian- my wonderful husband- for setting everything up. I still have some tweaks to make and personalize it and hope to get round to this over the next few weeks. And a big thanks too, to the lovely Cara Bush for helping design my logo (Cupcakes on the house when we visit Durban).This is the Giant Cookie Monster cupcake that I made a couple of weeks ago. We gave it to a friend’s daughter who was turning 6 years old. I like how the coloured coconut appears to look like the Cookie Monster’s fur. I had experimented the ‘Cookie Monster’ first with regular sized cupcakes and those worked well too. But I just love the Giant Cupcake baking mould. I can’t wait to try different recipes & maybe even fill it with Chocolate mousse in the inside!

Our friend Thom will visit us in Düsseldorf with his girlfriend, Lisa, at the end of August. Thom has requested a Giant Cookie Monster Cupcake on arrival. But I am thinking of some other creative decorating ideas…maybe something typical American themed to celebarte our American friends arrival or perhaps something German themed to welcome them in Germany.

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