June 9th, 2009

cherry_cup_cake

Baked Cherry and Almond Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

I have had a serious love affair with cherries since I was a little girl. I remember that the cherry season in South Africa is around Christmas time and how 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. It was perceived as the fruits for the glamorous and rich.

Cherries still have a truly special meaning for me. When Mum visited four years ago, the British cherry season was in full flow. She still reminisces about the day trip to Kent and buying fresh cherries at a roadside stall. It’s four years on and Mum is visiting again, to celebrate the occasion I developed this special baked cherry and almond cupcakes with mascarpone frosting. I hope that the fond cherry memories will live on and that this visit  will happily be added to the list of anecdotes.

I am also fond of almonds and will find almost any possible way to add them to my cooking. For this recipe I have used marzipan to add the almond yumminess to my cupcakes. By roasting the cherries with a hint of ground cinnamon adds a complete mystery level of flavour to my cupcakes. I double the cherry quantities and serve the baked cherries for breakfast with natural yoghurt or add a spoon full over Bircher muesli.

Finding a good quality marzipan is not easy. I always look for a 60% almond content; try to avoid the very yellow artificial looking marzipan that is widely available. A good quality marzipan is expensive and you will find it at superior food stores or delicatessens.

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These cupcakes are just as yummy, without the mascarpone frosting, served as a pudding slightly warm with an extra helping of the baked cherries on the side and perhaps a spoon of crème fraîche.

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cherries1Baked Cherries

  • 400g cherries
  • 40g unrefined caster sugar
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon

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 them for 20 minutes in the preheated oven.

Let the cherries cool once baked.

Cupcake Batter

  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g unrefined caster sugar
  • 2 medium free range eggs
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 120g milk
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 80g marzipan, 60% almonds

cherries3Line 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 thick 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 dices of the marzipan, top each cupcake case with more cake batter until 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.

Mascarpone Frosting

  • 60g soft unsalted butter
  • 150g mascarpone cheese
  • 80g icing sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla pod

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the soft butter.

Cream the butter until light and fluffy, add the mascarpone and mix to cream. Do not over work the mascarpone mixture to prevent it from separating.

Sift the icing sugar over the creamed mascarpone mix and gently fold it in.

Garnish each cupcake with a generous amount of the mascarpone frosting and spoon a generous amount of the baked cherries on top.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Food Fanatics Tips

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. Let the frosting set in the fridge for half an hour before using.


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11 Comments to “Baked Cherry and Almond Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting”

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  1. Carly says:

    Can you substitute marzipan for ground almonds?

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