29 April 2013

Back Forest Butterfly Cakes

I've managed to hold off my baking for a couple of weeks, but I couldn't keep it up any longer. The following recipe had taken my fancy and I just had to give it a try.


I'd only read through the ingredients list before going shopping and had already decided to also add some Kirsch to it, I think it would work ever so nice with the Black Forest theme. Certainly chef Rachel Allen is generous with it in her creations.

However our supermarket didn't carry Kirsch, in fact nothing even remotely like it, but I spotted a group of "cherry brandy liqueur" bottles trying to pass themselves off as alco-pops, so I grabbed one of them, hoping that it would work anyway.

Of course, adding liquid to a sponge mixture means that the dry ingredients need to be increased or the consistency will be wrong. OK, I decided to increase the flour. My initial thought had been to add the Kirsch to the icing, but Lundulph pointed out that this would limit when they could be eaten... so the booze would have to go into the sponge itself.

At this point I read through the instructions and also realised that it is a heavily branded recipe. But no way I'll go and buy things I already have at home, just because they aren't the right brand! What was a bit disturbing was that everything should be mixed together in one go - normally it's the sugar and butter first or sugar and eggs first, then flour and baking powder to be sifted and mixed together well... My gut feeling was right, I should have done things more traditionally, however mixing everything in one go worked a lot better than I expected.

Makes 12

150 g caster sugar
150 g unsalted butter at room temperature
150 g plain flour
25 g cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
3 medium eggs at room temperature
3 tbsp cherry brandy liqueur
1 tsp vanilla extract
200 g ready-made chocolate flavoured icing
red glacé cherries
edible silver shimmer spray


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (gas mark 4). Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. Place the caster sugar and butter in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, then stir together to mix well and add to the sugar and butter.
  3. Add the eggs, liqueur and vanilla extract, then whisk with an electric whisk until smooth and fluffy.
  4. Distribute the batter between the muffin cases, they should be about two-thirds full so as to rise and form domes during baking.
  5. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until they are ready (test with a toothpick - it should come out clean), then remove from the oven and onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
  6. Using a serrated knife carefully cut off a lid from each muffin, then cut the lids in two.
  7. Pipe some of the icing on the cut surfaces of the muffins, then carefully push in the two dome halves to form butterfly wings.
  8. Place a glacé cherry in the middle and finish with lightly spraying with shimmer spray - careful not to over-do it.

The instructions did say to make sure to fill the cases enough so that domes form and sadly I got over-excited to the point that I only got 11 muffins. And I was scientific about it - weighing the batter and dividing by 12, but mysteriously it didn't quite work out. 56 g of batter per case resulted in this:


No more than 50 g next time in each muffin case, I think.

Spread out muffins meant the domes I cut out were too big, but this was easier to sort out, I just cut out a strip in the middle of each dome:


I only decorated two yesterday and thought I'd decorate the others on a per need basis. As it turned out, when I opened the lid of the cake box a moment ago, the muffin surfaces had gone a bit soggy and it was barely possible to make the butterfly tops. So these should be done on the day only.

The silver shimmer spray was quite cool, it made a huge difference visually - sadly I wasn't able to capture it well on camera:


But the best thing was the cherry brandy liqueur. I did have a little sip before adding some to the muffin batter and it was delish! And it works really nicely in the muffins too. Though the ready made icing was quite over-powering and sweet, I piped too much yesterday and the flavour of the muffins was lost, however in my second attempt, I was more measured and the lovely cherry flavour came through. I'll add the cherry liqueur to the icing next time and make it myself, so it's not so sweet.

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