This is a very special post. I am participating in a Dessert Challenge hosted by Sheryl at Lady Behind the Curtain. Each month Sheryl comes up with two ingredients and challenges other bloggers to come up with an amazing dessert using these ingredients. I love a challenge! Thanks Sheryl, I have had so much fun creating and experimenting.
The two ingredients for this month are Coca Cola and cherry; a classic combo. My first thoughts were to create a cupcake using my mother’s Coca Cola cake recipe and combining this with cherries somehow. Simple, right? Oh, no – not simple at all. The cupcakes were dry and flavorless – sorry, mom – and were completely overpowered by the cherry filling. I needed to rethink this. I started thinking about the flavors in coca cola: citrus, hints of vanilla and some spicy notes. Then, I thought about cherry cola. Yes!!! Here are some flavors I can work with! Instead of a chocolate cake, I tried a vanilla cake with cherry cola for the liquid. Not memorable; the cherry cola flavor was not evident at all. Then I remembered coca cola syrup, concentrated cola flavor! So, how about cherry cola syrup – is there such a thing? After doing some research on the internet, I found a recipe for this wonderful ingredient at a website called DIY Cocktails by Marcia Simmons. I made the syrup and WOW, what flavor! I can honestly say that these cupcakes really taste like cherry coca cola. Couple this with hints of chocolate, black cherry filling and cherry cola cream cheese frosting and this one is a winner. Try it, you won’t be sorry. Oh, the two ways? Read on….
Mise en place
First, beat butter until creamy and add sugar, vanilla bean paste and almond extract. Add egg whites and beat well. Finally add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk and cherry cola syrup. Easy peasy.
When they are finished baking and cooling, fill with black cherry preserves.
Next, prepare the chocolate ganache and dip one half of the cupcakes in the ganache. Let the chocolate set for a few minutes. (This is the 1st way)
Prepare the frosting and frost all of the cupcakes.
(2nd way) Place the cupcakes without the chocolate ganache in the freezer for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, dip each of the cold cupcakes in the remaining chocolate ganache.
This is how they came out:
Cherry Cola Cupcakes with chocolate (2 ways)
1/2 cup butter
4 egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup cherry cola syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Cherry Cola Syrup: Get the recipe here (Published with permission from Marcia Simmons, DIY Cocktails)
Filling 1 cup Black cherry preserves
Chocolate Ganache (Adapted from Martha Stewart)
8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp white corn syrup
Cherry Cola Cream Cheese Frosting
1-1/2 cups butter, softened
16 oz. cream cheese – COLD
1 lb. confectioners sugar
1/2 cup cherry cola syrup
1/2 cup black cherry preserves
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp almond extract
1. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Combine buttermilk and cherry cola syrup; set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, vanilla, and almond extract; beat until combined. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.
3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full.
4. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks.
5. When completely cool, fill cupcakes with black cherry preserves.
6. Dip tops of one half of the cupcakes in chocolate ganache.
7. Frost all of the cupcakes with Cherry Cola Cream Cheese Frosting. Place the cupcakes that were NOT dipped in ganache in the freezer for 15 minutes.
8. After 15 minutes, dip the cupcakes that were in the freezer in the chocolate ganache (the cream cheese frosting will be covered with ganache).
1. Coarsely chop chocolate.
2. Bring cream just to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour over chocolate, and add corn syrup. Let stand for 10 minutes.
3. Stir with a whisk until smooth and shiny to break up any pieces and emulsify cream and chocolate.
Cherry Cola Cream Cheese Frosting
1. Beat together butter, confectioners sugar, syrup, preserves, vanilla and almond extract until creamy.
2. Add COLD cream cheese a few tablespoons at a time until completely mixed together. Do not overbeat!
Yield: 18 cupcakes
Next time, back to Martha!
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