Recipe: Cherry & Chocolate Cupcakes

For the most recent meeting of Cake Club I made chocolate cherry cupcakes, garnished with suitably ghoulish bloody eyeballs. The recipe I used is a simple Nigella recipe, and the resulting cupcakes were delicious. A nice soft cake with a deep, dark fruity flavour from the use of cherry jam in the mix. Nigella topped her cupcakes with cherries, but I chose eyeballs (made of chocolate) instead, to fit in with the Halloween theme.

Chocolate cherry cupcakes

Cherry & Chocolate Cupcakes (Halloween style)

Ingredients:

  • 125gm soft unsalted butter
  • 100gm dark chocolate (I used the Sainsbury’s basics chocolate found in the confectionary aisle – 30p for 100gm and rich in cocoa, perfect for baking)
  • 300gm morello cherry jam (I used Sainsbury’s reduced sugar morello cherry jam)
  • 150gm golden caster sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150gm SR flour

For the icing:

  • 100gm dark chocolate
  • 100ml double cream
  • Box of Lindt truffle balls (I used milk chocolate)
  • 200gm white chocolate
  • Red and blue food dye to decorate
  • 4 tbsps raspberry jam

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 180C and line a 12-cup muffin tray with cupcake cases.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When nearly fully melted, stir in the broken dark chocolate, leave to warm for one minute, then remove from heat. Stir until smooth and combined.
  • Add the cherry jam, sugar and salt, and stir until well combined. Lightly beat the eggs and then add these too.
  • Lightly stir in the flour, and then spoon into the prepared cupcake cases.
  • Bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes. When they look ready, take them out and leave the pan to cool on a wire rack for ten minutes, before turning out the cupcakes.
  • Once cool, prepare the icing.
  • Break the dark chocolate into squares, and put in a saucepan with the cream. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat and stir til smooth. Allow to cool slightly, then whisk until thickened.
  • Spread this on the top of the cupcakes using a spoon, and then top with one of your chocolate eyeballs.

Iced cupcakes

To make the eyeballs, melt the white chocolate in a bowl in the microwave. Zap it for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each blast, to ensure it doesn’t burn, and instead reaches a nice runny consistency.

Using two teaspoons, drop the unwrapped lindt balls into the chocolate one at a time, and roll around to cover, before scooping out gently, and placing on some greaseproof baking paper to set.

White chocolate covered Lindt balls

After the chocolate had hardened, I was planning on using my newly purchased (from eBay) sugar art pens in red and black to draw on the eyes.

Sugar art pens

Unfortunately the pens didn’t seem to work properly on the white chocolate surface, and dried out, meaning only two of the eyeballs were done before they stopped working.

After a few minutes of panic, I decided to instead use red and blue gel food dyes to create the eyeball effect, and they worked pretty well. I applied the dye with the end of a toothpick, drawing the red outline first, then dabbing blue in the centre.

Chocolate eyeball close-up

I’ve got my eye on you!

Cupcake close-up

To create some blood for oozing out of the eyeballs, I placed the raspberry jam in a strainer over a bowl, to remove the seeds. The smooth liquid that resulted, was then dropped onto each eyeball, running down the side onto the cake, to create a ‘bloody’ effect.

Straining the jam

This is a very useful chocolate cupcake recipe to have on hand – very easy to make, and they taste delicious. You can use a similar recipe with other flavours such as orange, raspberry or apricot, using the relevant replacement jam in the mix. I think I’ll try apricot next.

Happy baking x

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Cake Eaters Anonymous

Exactly one year ago I attended my first ever meeting of Cake Eaters Anonymous in Nottingham. Scheduled cake eating with other cake lovers? Yes, I was pretty keen, and have been a committed Cake Club member ever since. The idea behind the group is simple – once a month we get together in a chosen venue, bring a cake to share and raise money for a worthy local charity.

Today was the October meeting, which took place at the beautiful Fothergills Pub in the centre of Nottingham, opposite Nottingham Castle and the photo opportunity that is the Robin Hood statue (see my profile pic for a demonstation of ‘Robin-Hooding’).

Given the timing, this month had a Halloween theme, and the room was awash with an excess of orange food colouring, bats, spiderwebs, skeletons, and even a graveyard.

I decided to try this Nigella recipe for chocolate and cherry cupcakes, topped with gory bloody eyeballs. Steps on how to try this at home to follow in another blog post soon.

The cake spread was seriously impressive this month – the majority of people had gone to town on the Halloween theme, and those that hadn’t instead chose to showcase seasonal flavours such as pumpkin, cinnamon, apple, almond and hazelnut in their cakes.

Bat cupcakes and coffin cakes (with homemade honeycomb).

Halloween bundt cake by the very clever Kerry, no-bake tiffin and a very lovely looking chocolate and almond cake.

Spiderweb cupcakes and Laura’s very lovely chocolate and orange fudge cake.

For the ticket price, we’re entitled to three cakes/pieces of cake. The monthly decision of which cakes to have is probably the toughest I face in my life. Yes, I know, I have quite an easy life and it’s a very nice problem to have!

I decided to go for a piece of Laura’s chocolate orange fudge cake (which was voted the best cake of the day), a cinnamon swirl cupcake by talented Liana of Star Bakery (whose son had helped with the decorations) and a piece of gorgeous hazelnut and apple cake.

What a treat!

I always look forward to the last Sunday of the month – such a top way to spend the afternoon, chatting with lovely people, sharing homemade cake and sipping tea in a beautiful venue.

I’d also like to take the chance to dispel a few cake club myths…

1. Cake Club isn’t a euphemism for ‘greedy overeaters’. We’re all there because we love baking and sharing what we’ve made with fellow bakers, and I’m pretty sure we all limit our cake bingeing to once a month. Although that said, it is a pretty dangerous club to attend if you’re on a diet.

2. Cake Club isn’t just for ladies. Most people assume Cake Club is some sort of extension of the Women’s Institute, but we actually have quite a few male bakers every month, and often they make the best cakes (see the three finalists from this year’s Great British Bake Off if you still need convincing boys can bake).

3. Cake Club isn’t just for professional bakers. We have people of every age and ability attending, from people who bake professionally, to those who are just starting out and use it as a chance to try new recipes and techniques. Everyone is welcome.

The next meeting of Cake Club is taking place on Sunday 25 November. Join the Facebook page to be kept up to date on tickets. You can also see a list of other cake clubs around the UK on the notes of the Facebook page if you’d like to find one near you. Or start your own! As well as raising money for charity through ticket price, there is also a raffle and donation box on the day.

Happy baking,

Erin