Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro
- Chocolate Cake:
- 1 cup Dutch process cocoa
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups superfine sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose soft-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chocolate extract
- Paper baking cups
- Vegetable cooking spray
- 24 milk chocolate kisses
- Cherry Frosting:
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons cherry jam or maraschino cherry juice
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
- 24 red maraschino cherries (with stems)
- Chocolate Ganache:
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cocoa and 2 cups boiling water in a large heatproof bowl, stirring until blended and smooth; cool completely. Beat butter with a mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture alternately with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in chocolate extract.
- Place paper baking cups in 2 (12-cup) muffin pans, and coat with cooking spray; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Do not cool.
- While cupcakes are still warm, press 1 chocolate kiss into the center of each. Let cool completely.
- To prepare cherry frosting, beat first 5 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Beat at high speed 2 minutes or until creamy. Makes 3 cups.
- Frost each cupcake with Cherry Frosting using metal tip no. 2D.
- To prepare ganache, cook cream in a heavy nonaluminum saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, just until it begins to steam (do not boil); remove from heat. Place chocolate in a glass bowl. Slowly add hot cream to chocolate, beating with a whisk until chocolate melts and mixture is well blended. The mixture will thicken as it cools. Makes about 2 cups.
- Dip cherries in Chocolate Ganache, and place 1 on top of each cupcake.