40 g cocoa
150 g unsalted butter, softened
175 g Golden Caster Sugar
3 medium eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
150 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp soured cream, at room temperature
200 g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
175 g Golden Caster Sugar
3 medium egg whites
225 g unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp cherry brandy or kirsch
4 Tbsp cherry jam
12 natural glacé or morello cherries
- Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C. Tip the cocoa into a small bowl, add 100ml boiling water and whisk until smooth. Cool.
- Cream the butter and caster sugar together with electric beaters until really pale, light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time with a rubber spatula. Add the vanilla extract and cocoa mixture and mix again until thoroughly combined.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt into the bowl, add the soured cream and fold in using a rubber spatula or large metal spoon. Mix until smooth and then divide the mixture evenly between the paper cases. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until well risen and a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Leave the cakes to rest in the tin for 3-4 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack until cold.
- Meanwhile make the chocolate meringue buttercream. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl either set over a pan of barely simmering water or in the microwave on a low setting, stirring until smooth. Put the sugar, egg whites and a pinch of salt in a medium-sized, heatproof bowl that will fit snugly over (but not touch) a pan of simmering water. Whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is foamy. Continue to cook until the mixture is hot to the touch, thickens enough to only just hold a ribbon trail and turns from opaque to bright glossy white.
- Quickly scoop the meringue mixture into the bowl of the mixer with a whisk and beat on a medium-high speed for about 3 minutes until the mixture has doubled in volume and is thick, stiff, glossy and cold (or scoop it into a new bowl and beat with hand beaters for a little longer).
- Gradually add the butter to the cooled meringue mixture, beating constantly on low-medium speed, until the frosting is smooth, thick and spreadable. If the frosting starts to curdle continue whisking and it will come back smooth after a minute or so. Fold in the melted chocolate.
- Using a teaspoon scoop out a hole from the top of each cupcake (you can eat this bit), brush the cakes with cherry brandy and fill the holes with cherry jam. Spread chocolate buttercream generously over the top of each cake and finish with a glacé or morello cherry.