Saturday 4 September 2010

Black forest cupcakes with flour frosting for Dad

My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. ~ Clarence Budington Kelland

I'm gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you'll always know
As long as one and one is two
There could never be a father
That loved his daughter more than I love you
~ Paul Simon
It's Father's Day today in New Zealand.  A lot of people will associate Father's Day, with buying CDs, socks and ties and cooking Dad a steak dinner. 

I was a Daddy's girl so for me, Father's Day is remembering how great my Dad was, how much I miss him and how lucky I was for all that he taught me, sacrificed for me and saw in me.  Dad made me believe I could do anything but was proud of me just the way I was.

He's been gone five years now and while time does smooth over some of the sadness, certain days, like birthdays, special occasions, and of course, Father's Day, are just a bit harder. 

So to cheer myself up, I decided to make Black Forest Cupcakes with Port because black forest gateau was Dad's favourite dessert.  

The cupcakes are just my chocolate cupcake recipe, with some chopped up maraschino cherries stirred in and the water substituted for cherry juice.  I also soaked the cupcakes in a mixture of cherry juice and port (you could use kirsch or rum for a boozier version).

The cupcake is really light and fluffy but with a deep dark chocolatey flavour and bits of sweet sour cherry throughout.  I love the port in it, it gives the cupcakes a fruity sweetness and makes the cupcake really moist without knocking you for six, well without knocking me for six (have I mention I'm a really cheap drunk?  I could probably get tipsy off a piece of heavily liqueur doused cake!)

Traditionally, black forest gateau is iced with whipped cream or buttercream and then chocolate shavings pressed on to the frosting/icing.  I find normal buttercream with icing sugar just a tad sweet but then again whipped cream doesn't last...what to do?  Well, I found a number of frosting recipes that use the cooked flour, or boiled flour technique.  It's supposed to make a super creamy, not toothachingly sweet frosting that is just like whipped cream.

I mashed up the recipes I found at How To Eat A Cupcake and Our Best Bites and kind of created a recipe of my own.  Oh. My. Goodness.  This frosting is out of this world.  Like thickened whipped cream, it's silky and creamy and pipes like a dream. 

I read that the frosting splits if put in the fridge so I left my cupcakes out overnight and they were just as good the next day!  Hello new buttercream go-to recipe!

Another word of warning though, apparently this frosting does not do well with adding purees to it so just stick with essences or try out this chocolate version  at Our Best Bites.

Cherish your Dads everyone and Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there.

Black Forest Cupcakes with Port and Flour Frosting

makes 24 cupcakes

2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp shortening

1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil (canola)
1 1/2 cup maraschino cherries chopped up
1/2 cup juice from the cherries
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

4 Tbsp port (or kirsch or rum)
4 Tbsp cherry juice

1. Preheat oven to 180oC.  Line two 12 cup cupcake tins with cupcake wrappers.

2. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir to mix.  Add shortening and beat to mix until there are no lumps.  You may need to get your fingers in there to rub out some of the lumps.  (You can keep this mixture in a ziplock bag or jar for several months)

3. Add sour cream, oil, cherry juice, eggs, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and beat for 1 minute till combined.  Stir in the chopped up cherries.  Fill cupcake wrappers to 3/4 full (be careful as the mixture does rise quite a bit).

4.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes (rotating pans, back to front and top to bottom at 15 minutes) or until skewer comes out clean.  Remove from pans immediately and place on a wire rack for cooling.

5. While the cupcakes are still warm, poke lots of holes with a toothpick ~ 15 per cupcake.  Be careful not to pierce the cupcake wrapper on the bottom like I did!

6.  Mix together the port and cherry juice and either using a pastry brush to brush over or a spoon to spoon the mixture on to each cupcake.  I used about one teaspoon of the syrup per cupcake, let it soak in and then added a second teaspoon.

7.  Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Flour frosting

makes enough for 1 layer on 24 cupcakes - if you want to do a swirl, I'd double the recipe.

6 Tbsp plain flour
1 cup milk
240 g unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm cubes
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence (or any other favouring)

1. Whisk the flour and sugar in a small sauce pan to remove lumps.  Add milk and heat on medium heat, stirring constantly till the mixture thickens.  It will thicken all of a sudden and turn into almost a opaque paste.

2. Take off the heat and let cool until warm.  Add vanilla and beat on high for 5-7 minutes until completely cool. 

3.  With the beater on medium, add the butter around 5-6 cubes at a time.  When all the butter is added, beat on high until fluffy.

4.  Pipe on to the cupcakes and top with dark chocolate shavings and top with a cherry (I didn't have any left but they would have looked so cute with one on the top!).

5.  Store the cupcakes in an airtight container.  Should keep for 3 days.


  1. These are so cute, and I love the cupcake wrappers. Did you make those or purchase? Either way, super pretty. Great photos :)!

  2. These look fantastic, I usually don't like frosting (coz people sometimes go overboard with it) but these look so appetising. And I know my dad would love them - he has a huge thing for anything blackforest, so I will have to remember this recipe. Btw I hope they cheered your day up.

  3. this sounds delicious. It's on my list to try. thanks for sharing.

  4. Meredith: I got the wrappers as a prez. They are super cute but a little impractical...were hard to get apart and didn't fit into the muffin tins so I just sat them on a baking tray but I overfilled them and the spilled out of some of the cups. Looked pretty though :P

    Linno: Aw thanks for your comment, they did cheer me up...there's something about baking and making pretty things that just makes you smile huh? Especially if you have polka dot cupcake wrappers! The frosting really tastes like thick sweetened whipped if you're not a fan of buttercream this might be the frosting for you?

    Nancy: No probs Nancy! Thanks for stopping by. Totally let me know how it goes if you do try them :)



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