Thursday, November 12, 2009
My Venture into Chocolate Cupcakes
I'm not a big fan of chocolate. I also can't stand maraschino cherries and I think store-bought cherry frosting tastes very artificial to me. In fact, I'm going to come out and just say it. I hate EVERYTHING about this recipe. I'd rather eat a cupcake liner and a couple of the cherry stems than this sinfully rich dessert. I guess if you're one of those weirdoes who likes chocolate or maraschino cherries, you'll probably like it. For me -- aaaack!
As you have probably noticed, I don't post a lot of chocolate recipes. Like any cook, I sample the food that I prepare and try to think of ways to improve the taste. I also really enjoy making new recipes. I can't do that with chocolate. When I take a bite of it, I'm overwhelmed with the taste of, well, chocolate. It's so hard for me to get past the taste that I can't think of ways of making it better – other than, of course, eliminating the chocolate. I do make exceptions. My friend Denise, a chocoholic to the bone, encouraged me to try a chocolate-curry confection at a local, gourmet chocolate store. I was very dubious because 1) I don't like chocolate, and 2) chocolate and curry would appear to go as well together as cats and water. On a whim, I bought one and you know what? I loved it! I know it sounds disgusting but it's was really good. I'm SO going to make a recipe with chocolate and curry sometime. If your local chocolatier sells something with chocolate and curry, try it. I bet you'll be amazed by the flavor.
Even though I hate the taste of these cupcakes, I did have fun piping frosting on the top. I never have the patience to do it properly. I had to pipe three of them just to get one that was presentable enough to photograph. If you want to check out someone who does a much better job of piping and has great recipes, check out Betchacanteatjustone. She's really good.
If you don't like chocolate, skip this recipe. If you DO like chocolate and decide to make it, leave a comment with ideas on how to make it better. I'm sure most of you are MUCH better bakers than I am anyway. Enjoy – and happy baking!
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Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
1 18.25 oz dark chocolate cake mix
1/3 cup juice from a jar of maraschino cherries
1 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 cup halved maraschino cherries
3/ 4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 or 2 containers of cherry-flavored frosting
18 maraschino cherries for the top (preferably with the stems on)
Preheat oven per the instructions on the cake mix (usually 350F). Add 18 paper cupcake liners to cupcake tins. Depending on how full you fill each muffin cup, you may be able to get more cupcakes out of each batch. Set aside.
Do not prepare the cake mix per the package instructions. Instead, measure out 1/3 cup of maraschino cherry juice and add it to a mixing bowl along with the water, oil, and eggs. Whisk to combine.
Cut enough maraschino cherries in half to make one cup (larger cherries should be quartered). Dump the cherries into a small bowl (not the same bowl as the liquids). Add 2 tablespoons of the powdered cake mix to the cherries and use a spoon to evenly coat them. This will help to keep the cherries from sinking to the bottom of the cupcakes while they are baking.
To the liquid ingredients, add the remaining cake mix and whisk to combine. Use a spatula to fold in the mix-coated cherries and mini chocolate chips. Fill each paper liner nearly to the top with the batter (I use an ice cream scoop). Bake per the package instructions (about 20 minutes).
Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let them to cool completely on a wire rack.
You have two options for frosting the cupcakes. You can add a "normal" amount of frosting to the cupcakes and use only one container of frosting. Alternatively, you can frost them "bakery-style" and pipe a large amount of frosting on top. The bakery-style method will require a second container of frosting. Top each cupcake with a maraschino cherry.
Posted by Cooking Ventures at 7:33 PM