Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

August is just around the corner, along with cherry season. The first ones are on sale now and fortunately for me, there is a lovely little market by Finsbury Park station where I recently purchased a batch of cherries. So what’s a girl to do with a pound of cherries? 

Why–make cupcakes, of course. 

These are very dark and intense, not for the faint-hearted. Devour at your own risk! If all the melted dark chocolate is too much for you, try using (vegan) milk chocolate, or perhaps you could substitute cocoa powder for the chocolate bars, but you’ll have to adjust the amount of wet ingredients. 

If you can get your hands on some cherry extract–great, use it! I could not find any in my local supermarkets and my attempt at combining fresh cherry juice with the ganache was a complete and utter failure. 

I also recommend you use specifically cake-covering chocolate bars for the ganache; regular chocolate bars just won’t melt properly with the cream. When preparing the ganache, the chocolate should become silky and shiny, not grainy. If it looks more like the latter, it hasn’t melted properly, or it has burnt. Please follow the instructions for melting very carefully. Chocolate making (and melting) is an accurate science!

Preparation time: 10 mins + 15 minutes
Baking time: 25 mins
Makes 12 large cupcakes, or 15 small ones
For the cakes:
250g self-raising flour
180g brown sugar
250ml almond milk
1tsp apple cider vinegar
100g good quality dark chocolate
300g cherries, half of them pitted (or 30 cherries)
For the chocolate ganache:
75ml soya cream
150g cake covering dark chocolate (Menier is a very good brand)
icing sugar (optional; I didn’t use any)

For the cakes:
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar. In a separate container, combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar and let them curdle for a little bit. 
Boil some water in a small pot and place a glass/plexiglass bowl over it. Break up the chocolate into small bits and let it melt over the hot water; this way, it won’t burn. When it’s silky and shiny, it’s ready to be mixed in with the flour, along with the curdled milk. 
Spoon the batter into 12–15 lined cupcake tins, placing a pitted cherry in the centre and making sure it’s covered by the batter.
Bake in the oven for 23–25 minutes. 
For the chocolate ganache:
Heat the soya cream in a small pan until it starts boiling; at that point, remove from heat and drop in the chocolate, broken into small pieces. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon until it is perfectly melted. 
When the cupcakes have cooled completely and the ganache has cooled a little bit (it should still be liquid, don’t put it in the fridge) spoon the ganache on top of the cupcakes and decorate with a whole cherry. 

There shall be no blog posts for a while as I am going on holiday to India for three weeks. I’ll be staying in an Ashram in the Himalayas for a little yoga retreat. I’m not sure what it’ll be like but perhaps I’ll blog about the food there, depending on how much photography I get to do. 

I hope you all enjoy the Olympics if you are watching them, and if not, that you have a lovely summer and hopefully get lots and lots of sunshine. Look out for some more cake recipes next month as my birthday is coming up and of course, I have to make a birthday cake for myself 🙂 

Take care, my lovelies

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