I work as a number-cruncher by day to afford my food habits, and in this career, there is nothing more than "end-of-months" to bring out the crazies in me. It's true across the board, ask your accountant friends. The only thing that can top that is the "end-of-month, end-of-QTR & end-of-year" combo, and thank the cupcake goddesses (with a small G) it only comes once a year (go figure Cecille, duh!). Anywho, during this phase of the month, I tend to become reclusive, thus I get bored, thus I turn to my kitchen, thus I bake.
Cherries are so inexpensive these days it would be a shame if I did not do anything with them! And there are the Valrhona chocolate bars in my cupboard that are just begging to be consumed (Valrhona Chocolate Bars: "We are expiring soon! Use us! Use us!"). So it was predestined that my July bat-shit crazy day(s) would be balanced by this combination, in a cupcake, of course.
Ahhh... and there's the (Tawny) Port that I have been having an affair with these past few nights (I truly believe that if the Port had a gender, it would be a man, a MANLY MAN). I became so intimate with this "man" I can't bear to part with him so I had to add him to the cupcakes just to keep him around a little bit longer.
I based this recipe from an epicurious take of Valrhona Chocolate Cherry cake (flourless), which I bet is a melt-in-ur-mouth orgasmic yumminess, but I'm opting for something more cake-y. I did tweak it as follows, and the cupcake came out dense, moist, very chocolate-y with a hint of cherry after taste.
1 cup dried sour cherries, chopped12 oz Valrhona 61% cacao
1/2 cup Port
1/2 cup Port
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted & liquefied
1 cup King Arthur's A/P Flour1/4 cup Green & Black's cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder1/4 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt
In a bowl, macerate cherries in port overnight. Preheat oven to 350 F, line cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside. In a double boiler or in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat, add sugar, stir and cool mixture (about 15 minutes). Transfer chocolate mixture in a bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating for a minute every addition. Add the "liquefied" cherries and mix just until combined.
Combine and sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into the mixture until just combined. Stir in the macerated cherries. Scoop into cupcake pan with a #24 (1.3 oz) ice cream scoop or fill the liner 3/4 full and bake for 22-25 minutes until cake tester comes out clean. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack. Brush top of cupcakes with Port and sugar reduction, pipe some homemade whipped cream and top with cherries.