I needed the cakes to be portable and easy to eat, so I chose to make muffins and instead of a thick layer of whipped cream, I dug a little well into the muffin and filled it with creme patisserie. A cherry on top, a light sprinkling of melted chocolate and a dusting of icing sugar...job done!
I'd probably call these "Black Forest Muffins" as they remind me of a Black Forest cake - what do you think?
Black Forest Muffins (makes 15 - 18)
2 tins of cherries in light syrup (pitted, our tins are 425g including the syrup)
250g butter, softened
200g sugar (I used caster sugar)
a pinch of salt
6 eggs, medium size
350 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 -3 heaped tbps cocoa powder (unsweetened)
a little icing sugar for dusting
For the creme patisserie:
2 egg yolks
40g caster sugar
2 tsp corn flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
a little icing sugar
Also needed: a muffin tin and paper muffin cases
Method for the muffins:
- Drain the cherries, pat dry with some kitchen roll and cut in half (now is the time to remove any stray stones...I found three!). Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 160c (fan oven) / 180c (conventional oven).
- In a bowl, mix the butter, sugar and pinch of salt until creamy. One by one, beat in the eggs.
- Now add the flour and baking powder and briefly mix in - do not stir the mixture too much, just enough to combine and get rid of lumps.
- Divide the dough into two bowls - in one bowl, add the cocoa powder and stir in well.
- Put paper muffin cases into a muffin form.
- Start by spooning a layer of pale cake mix into the muffin cases (fill to about 1/3), add a couple of cherries and top with a layer of chocolate cake mix. Finish off by gently pressing another couple of cherries into the chocolate layer.
- Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes, then leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Once cooled, scoop out a well in the middle of the muffin with a teaspoon or knife (don't scoop out too much - a teaspoon worth will do it...you can freeze the scooped-out cake to use in a trifle).
- Fill a teaspoonful of creme patisserie (see method for this below) into the well, dust the muffin with icing sugar and decorate with another cherry.
Method for the creme patisserie (as per BBC Good Food):
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until they turn a pale.
Whisk in the cornflour and set aside.
Place the milk and vanilla extract in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for about five minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 30 seconds.
Pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking
all the time, then return the mixture to the pan. It is important to
pour the hot milk onto the cold eggs before you return the mixture to
the pan to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
Bring the mixture back to the boil and simmer for one minute, whisking continuously, or until smooth.
- Pour the cream into a clean bowl and dust with icing sugar to prevent a skin forming.
- Once slightly cooled, you can use this to spoon into your muffins (or fill pastry cases or other cakes).