Blackforest cupcakes

Remember those towering chocolate layer cakes served in posh hotels back in the 70s, this simplified cup cake version is just as delicious but much easier.

Dish type: Dessert
Makes 12
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes



100 g (4 oz) soft margarine
100 g (4 oz) caster sugar
85 g (3½ oz) self-raising flour
15 g (½ oz) cocoa
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


300 g (11 oz) British cherries, stalks and stones removed, fruit halved
2 tablespoons caster sugar
6 tablespoons water
1½ teaspoons cornflour
100 g (4 oz) butter, at room temperature
200 g (7 oz) icing sugar
1 tablespoon semi skimmed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Kirsch, optional


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4. Separate 12 silver foil cake cases and arrange in the sections of a muffin tin.

Add all the cake ingredients to a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until smooth. Divide spoonfuls between the foil cake cases, smooth the tops level then bake for about 15 minutes until well risen and the tops spring back when pressed with a fingertip.

Transfer the cakes in their cases to a wire rack to cool completely. Meanwhile make the cherry topping by adding the cherries, sugar and 5 tablespoons of water to a saucepan, simmer gently for 5 minutes until the cherries begin to soften and the juices run. Mix the cornflour with the remaining tablespoon of water then stir into the cherries, increase the heat and cook, stirring until the sauce has thickened. Take off the heat and leave to cool.

Beat the butter with half the icing sugar until smooth then gradually beat in the remaining sugar, milk and the vanilla, beating until very soft and smooth. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.

When ready to serve, skewer the top of the cakes and drizzle the kirsch over the top, if using. Pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge of each cake then carefully spoon the cherry mixture into the centre and arrange on a serving plate.