Imagine luscious, moist chocolate cake with surprising flecks of sticky, intense, sweet cherry. The kind of thing that you can’t help but moan a little when you have that first bite. These cupcakes are so good that I never feel the need to frost them. I keep thinking they would be even better swirled with a rich chocolate frosting or ganache and topped with a glacé cherry, but then I would have to wait before I could eat one.
And, did I mention they’re as easy as anything to make? The recipe is from the queen of lusciousness herself, Nigella Lawson, in her book How to Be A Domestic Goddess. I love that book. Not just all the recipes it contains, and how fresh and unusual so many of them were to me when first encountered, but also its elegant, sophisticated black and gold design.
If I may confess, I’ve always identified with the kitchen goddess concept (which seems a little ridiculous given that I’m sitting here wearing yoga pants and an old top with my hair carelessly pulled back in a ponytail). No, the kitchen goddess isn’t about how you look, but the confections you whip up in the kitchen, and the ease and flair with which you do so. It’s about somehow just knowing what flavours will work together, and coming up with new concoctions that will captivate and delight your guests. I may never attain full goddesshood, but, oh, I can aspire. I can aspire.
These cupcakes surely put me a few rungs up the ladder.
Slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess
Preheat oven to 350º and prepare a muffin tin with 12 paper cups
- 1/2 cup soft unsalted butter (I use margarine)
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces
- a 225 ml (not quite a cup) jar of morello cherry or black cherry jam
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup flour
- 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
Put the butter or margarine in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat to melt. When almost melted, add the chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate starts softening. Remove pan from heat and continue to stir until the butter and chocolate are smooth and melted. Add the jam, sugar and eggs and mix until well incorporated. Stir in the dry ingredients.
Evenly divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out.
Be prepared for anyone in the house to drift into the kitchen, drawn in by the wonderful fragrance of chocolate and the alluring yet not-quite-recognized subtle notes of the cherry jam. Be prepared for these cupcakes to disappear fast.