By now, it’s obvious I am enamored with the Bake It In A Cake trend. What I have not shared is that I also have a deep love of two local candy bars, the Cherry Mash and the Valomilk. This week’s Sweet incorporates the Cherry Mash. (Don’t worry Valomilk fans, I’ve got a Sweet lined up…)
For the uninitiated, Cherry Mash has a maraschino cherry flavored center and is covered with chopped roasted peanuts and milk chocolate. First sold in 1918, it is made in St. Joseph, Missouri. It should not be confused with the Twin Bing, which is made in Iowa. I think the two taste nothing alike, but some people find them to be similar.
Alton Brown ate a Cherry Mash somewhere in Nevada on an episode of Feasting on Asphalt and commented that the color of the center does not occur in nature, except in poisonous frogs in the Amazon. He may be right, but what I found most surprising about him eating a Cherry Mash was that he found it in Nevada. Cherry Mash seem to be found mostly in the Midwest and I sometimes have difficulty locating the mini size in my local market even though I live only 45 minutes away from the factory.The mini size is needed for this week’s Sweet.
This week’s Sweet is a Chocolate Cherry Cupcake with Cherry Mash Surprise, topped with Chocolate Ganache and Kirsch Cherries. The Mini Cherry Mash did sink to the bottom of the cupcakes. If I made these again, I would fill the cupcake tins with all of the batter first and place the Cherry Mash on top of the batter, as suggested by Megan at Bake It In A Cake. They still turned out well, but the Cherry Mash did form sort of a melted chocolate crust at the bottom of the cupcake.
Chocolate Cherry Cupcake with Cherry Mash Surprise with Chocolate Ganache & Kirsch Cherries
Makes 24 cupcakes (based on this recipe from the Cupcake Project)
1 2/3 c. of my favorite gluten-free flour blend
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Askinosie)
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. xanthan gum
1 t. salt
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. instant coffee grounds
1 t. very hot water
2/3 c. cream
2/3 c. buttermilk
24 mini Cherry Mash
*Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt.
*Combine very hot water and coffee grounds in a small dish. This will make a very thick substance, sort of an improvised coffee extract.
*In stand mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in eggs, vanilla and coffee/water mix.
*Mix cream and buttermilk together.
*Incorporate flour and cream/buttermilk mix into the stand mixer bowl, alternating between the flour and the dairy mix.
* Insert papers into regular size cupcake pan, fill 2/3 full with batter, place one mini Cherry Mash on top of batter and give it a small push into the batter.
Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. If toothpick testing, make sure you test around the perimeter, not into the Cherry Mash.
While baking, prepare the cherries:
12 oz. frozen whole cherries, unsweetened
1/3 c. Kirsch
3/4 c. sugar
*Place all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil.
*Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Liquid will reduce by approximately half.
*Remove from heat. Strain liquid from cherries, reserving liquid.
Chocolate Kirsch Ganache
9 oz. Chocolate (I used this)
1 c. cream
1 T. Kirsch
Melt Chocolate in a double boiler. Slowly whisk in cream and Kirsch. Remove from heat and set aside.
While ganache is cooling, use a fork to poke 8 to 12 holes in the top of each cupcake. Using the liquid from the cherries, drizzle over the top of each cupcake.
Once the ganache has cooled for 10 to 15 minutes, dip each cupcake into the ganache, coating the top. Turn back over and place on a cooling rack. My ganache was a bit runny and made a fun mess on the counter. A bit of paper beneath the racks would have been good.
Top each cupcake with 3 cherries while the ganache is still soft. Once the ganache firms up, the cherries will stay in place nicely.
This week’s Sweet Friend is Margie. I met Margie many years ago when I was brand new to using balloons as an artistic medium. She owned a successful balloon decor company and was terrific to provide insight and advice to others in the same market. There are not many people willing to provide encouragement to others competing for the same customers. I’m thankful for her input as I began a new business.
Margie has since moved on to other business ventures. I want to share one with you because it seems appropriate with Halloween just around the corner. Margie’s latest book is Haunted Independence. It’s full of scary tales of haunted homes, hotels and historic buildings. It’s perfect reading for Halloween! Once you read it, you’ll want to get another of Margie’s books, The Ghost Hunter’s Field Guide. While I’m not a ghost hunter, I sure do enjoy reading and hearing about Margie’s ghost hunting adventures!