I always love the abundance of cherry cordials at the store during the Christmas and Valentines season. My mom would always get the best ones from a local chocolate shop and they weren’t just the tiny size ones, as a child these were probably bigger than my palm and they were oh so irresistible. I thought it would be equally as decadent, if not more, in cupcake form and I’d have to say that assumption was spot on. These cupcakes are divine! They are perfect chocolatey decadence topped with all the flavors of a cherry cordial filling and generous chocolate glaze drizzle, because why not? And don’t forget the cherry on top! Growing up I’d always ask for a cherry on top of my ice cream when we’d go through the drive through, some things never change because on occasion I’ll remember that and it really just makes ice cream that much better.
These chocolate cupcakes are one of my favorites. They are wonderfully chocolatey and the texture of their crumb is everything you look for in a chocolate cupcake – moist, soft and tender, with just enough structure to hold a buttercream frosting. And that frosting, oh that frosting, you’re going to love it!
- 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (semi-sweet works too for milder flavor, I've tested both)
- 1/3 cup (29g) unsweetend cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed, I use regular)
- 3/4 cup hot water
- 3/4 cup (116g) bread flour
- 3/4 cup (155g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1- 2 pinches of salt, to taste
- 3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp maraschino cherry juice, then more if needed
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Red food coloring, optional
- 1/2 of the maraschino cherries from 1 (10 oz) jar, chopped and wrapped in paper towels to dry slightly
- 24 maraschino cherries, plus more for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl, then pour hot water over chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Transfer bowl to refrigerator and chill 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through chilling, until cooled (or 10 in freezer stirring once).
- Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, salt and baking soda. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together canola oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture into oil mixture and stir until well combined, then add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
- Divide batter evenly among 12 paper lined muffin cups (about 1/4 cup in each). Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 17 - 19 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool in baking tin several minutes then transfer to a wire rack. Cool completely.
- For the ganache:
- Add chocolate chips to a bowl. Heat cream to nearly a boil (either in microwave or on stove top) then pour over chocolate chips. Stir until melted and smooth. Let cool until thickened, either in refrigerator or or at room temperature (you just don't want it to be runny but still pipe-able).
- For the frosting:
- While ganache is cooling, in the bowl of an electric stand mixer whip butter and salt until pale and fluffy. Mix in 1 cup of the powdered sugar then stir in maraschino cherry juice, vanilla and desired amount of red food coloring if using. Mix in remaining powdered sugar and whip until pale and fluffy. Using a rubber or silicone spatula, fold in chopped maraschino cherries.
- To assemble cupcakes:
- Place two maraschino cherries (no stems) over tops of cupcakes. Dollop desired amount of frosting over cherries (I wouldn't recommend using a lot, this is a sweet frosting and a little goes a long way) then spread frosting around cherries. Transfer chocolate ganache to a small resealable bag, seal bag and cut a tip from one corner. Drizzle over cupcakes and top each cupcake with 1 cherry. Let cupcakes rest 1 hour (I felt this was best as it not only lets the ganache set but it seemed to lightly tone down the sweetness of the frosting as the flavors melded).
- Recipe source: cake portion adapted from Cooks Illustrated "The Science Of Good Cooking" pg. 431.