Let’s Be Pen Pals

Hello from my cosy lounge room. It’s Sunday afternoon. The fire is blazing and torrential rain is currently flooding the surrounding farmland.  These are the best kind of days. I have been in my pyjamas since we came home from church and have just finished a pot of my favourite French earl grey tea.  I am reading  “Mr Midshipman Easy” by Captain Marryat at the moment. It was written in 1836 and my worn copy of the book appears to be almost as old. Last year I read “Children of the New Forest” by the same author, which was an equally brilliant book.  

 Self care isn’t all that easy as a mother. As a stay at home mum of 22 years so far, with quite a few to go, I have learnt to to find and appreciate the small things in life that bring peace to my path and joy in my journey. Reading old books is one of them. I love the challenge of stretching my mind into the literary brilliance of classic authors. 

Of course baking also happens to bring this Mama bear into her happy place. Even when I’m not in the kitchen I am usually thinking about the next recipe I want to try, or planning another crazy photo shoot in my mind. Some elaborate. Others a little simpler.

This Black Forest cupcake recipe is perhaps a cheats version of a favoured classic, but no less delicious. I’m usually a stickler for baking from scratch, so if the idea of plopping store bought jam into the middle of your cooled cupcake is a little heretical, try making my Black Forest Bourbon cupcake with homemade cherry bourbon jam filling. On the other hand, heck, life is busy and some of my best muffins and cupcakes have delicious  bottled jams and curds inside. Either way, I hope you like these super simple cupcakes. Best eaten with a hot cup of tea and a good book that is preferably over 100 years old.


Easy Black Forest Cupcakes

A no fuss chocolate cupcake with delicious cherry jam filling topped with chocolate ganache and vanilla buttercream.
Cook Time 18 minutes


  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee The coffee brings out the chocolate flavour
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup cherry jam

Dry mix

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 1 cup pure cocoa powder


  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Line two muffin trays with cupcake papers
  • In a medium bowl, using a hand whisk, mix together eggs, oil and sour cream
  • Add coffee and water. Whisk until well combined
  • In a separate bowl, sift flour, bicarb soda and baking powder
  • Add castor sugar and cocoa. Hand whisk well until combined
  • Carefully pour wet mixture into the dry mix. Hand whisk until well combined
  • Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full
  • Bake in moderate oven 18 - 20 min or until firm to touch. Cool in tins for ten minutes before removing and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • When completely cool, using a sharp steak knife, cut a cone shape out of the top of each cupcake. Fill hole with generous teaspoons of store bought cherry jam. Pipe ganache and buttercream on top.

Chocolate ganache

  • In a small saucepan heat 1/2 cup pouring cream until it starts to simmer.
  • In a separate bowl, finely chop 200g block of dark chocolate.
  • When cream is simmering with small bubbles, remove from heat and pour into chopped chocolate, ensuring all of the chocolate is covered. LET IT SIT for a few minutes before very carefully stirring with a spatula until ganache is smooth.
  • Leave the ganache at room temperature until it thickens enough to pipe onto cupcakes. Alternatively, put in fridge and keep an eye on it until it is a spreadable consistency, like soft peanut butter.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

  • In an electric mixer on high speed, beat 125g unsalted butter until light and fluffy, approx 5 minutes.
  • Add vanilla bean paste and beat another minute.
  • Turn mixer onto low and carefully add icing mixture, a few tablespoons at a time. Add dashes of cream if it gets too thick. Keep adding icing mixture and cream until you get the desired consistency.
    Pipe onto cupcakes

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