Baked Cherry and Almond Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting
Portion/Yield:Makes 12 cupcakes
I have had a serious love affair with cherries since I was a little girl. Cherry season in South Africa is around Christmas time and Mum would buy a little box of cherries each year as a pre -Christmas treat. I remember it to be a fairly expensive treat and I was taught to appreciate the cherries, from that stemmed the love and respect for this beautiful fruit. Even when I was working in Michelin stared restaurants in London many years ago, we served fresh cherries in beautiful solid silver bowls along with the petit fours. I always associate these fruits to be for the glamorous and rich.
I also adore almonds, for this recipe I have used cubed bits of marzipan in the cupcakes. My preference is a good quality marzipan and I choose one with at least 60% almond content.
Ingredients & Method
For the baked cherries
- 400g cherries
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
For the cupcake batter
- 250g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
- Pinch of salt
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 medium free range eggs
- Zest of one lemon
- 120ml milk
- 50g unsalted butter
- 80g marzipan, 60% almonds
For the mascarpone frosting
- 60g soft unsalted butter
- 80g icing sugar
- 150g mascarpone cheese
- seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod
First prepare the baked cherries. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Wash the cherries, cut them in half and remove the stones. In a large mixing bowl toss the cherries with the sugar and ground cinnamon. Spread the sugar coated cherries onto the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Let the cherries cool once baked.
Next prepare the cupcakes. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases and preheat the oven to 180°C. Dice the marzipan in small cubes and set aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl, add the zest of one lemon.
In a second bowl cream the sugar and eggs until fluffy and creamy. Melt the butter and stir the melted butter and milk into the creamed eggs, mix. Gently fold the sifted flour mixture into the egg mixture, do not over work the cake batter.
Spoon a large table spoon of cake batter into each of the cupcake cases, add a teaspoon of the baked cherries and a few pieces of the diced marzipan, top each cupcake case with more cake batter to just below the rim. Sprinkle the rest of the diced marzipan on top of the cake batter and bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes.
Let the cupcakes cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
While the cupcakes bake prepare the mascarpone frosting. Cream the butter, icing sugar and vanilla seeds until light and fluffy, add the mascarpone and mix to cream. Do not over work the mascarpone mixture to prevent it from separating.
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled spread the frosting on top of each cupcake and add a spoon full of the baked cherries on top.
Do not mix the mascarpone frosting too much as it will separate. Make sure that the cupcakes are completely cold before garnishing them, if they are still slightly warm the mascarpone frosting will melt.