It feels so good to be participating in the Martha Stewart Cupcakes Club again this month! I've been MIA for the last two assignments, for various reasons, but this time I'm back and ready to bake! This time around, we were to make Martha's Black Forest Cupcakes, chosen by Janine of Janine's Crazy World. I almost did not participate this time, either, because I'm not really a fan of cherries. However, I decided to go for it and to take on the challenge of adapting this to better fit my personal taste.
The cupcake part was made exactly as the recipe was written. Well, I did cut the recipe in half, and I used low-fat sour cream, but other than that it was very faithful to Martha's original take. I didn't want to mess with the cupcake; it sounded so good just the way it was! But then I got to the filling part, and I just had to start tampering with it.
You see, even though I am not a fan of eating whole cherries, I could totally see myself eating some yummy frosting that tasted like cherries. So I decided I would slice my cupcakes in half, through the middle like Martha indicates. However, instead of filling them with pastry cream and cherries, I thought I would make a cherry buttercream filling for this. Then, instead of brushing the cut cupcake sides with the cherry liquor/syrup, I just brushed some cherry preserves on each side. The buttercream was a delicious combination of butter, confectioners' sugar, and cherry preserves. The preserves contained pieces of cherry, but once they joined the butter and sugar in my stand mixer they got all chopped up. They were able to leave the frosting mostly smooth, with streaky bits of cherry throughout.
Finally, I topped the cupcakes with the indicated chocolate ganache glaze. Yum! That is all I have to say about the topping. I sent these to work with my husband and he returned home with just one left (which was for him since he did not get a chance to eat one at the office), so I am assuming that these were well-received by everybody! I thought they were delicious, and I really enjoyed my variation. It made the cherry flavor way more palatable for me, and I loved the way they looked. They almost reminded me of a chocolate parfait or something; lovely layers of goodness!
I'm glad these were chosen for this month because if I hadn't been assigned to make these, I probably never would have. Now I've discovered a new flavor combo that I previously would have been skeptical to try. Thanks, Janine, for the great choice! The full recipe (Martha's way) can be found on Martha's website, here. And to see how the other bakers in the group did, check out the Martha Stewart's Cupcakes Club blogroll, here.