Despite last week's score of affordable cherries in mass quantities, I fully admit to keeping a small stash of canned cherry pie filling, for a few reasons. One - its nigh impossible to find tart cherries anywhere near here, and two- The canned filling is a key ingredient in a few of my favorite recipes, and none of them happen to be pies!
The first comes from a recipe I discovered when trying to find the 'perfect' birthday cake recipe. I figured, what would be better than an amaretto style cake, a mix of cherries, almonds, and chocolate? A little bit of digging, and Cast Sugar came to my rescue.
When we were told we could bring a batch of cupcakes for our third week, I jumped at the opportunity to make some nice single serving desserts that I could bring to work and pawn off on coworkers.
I doubled Cast Sugar's recipe and modified it to the following:
Amaretto Cherry Chocolate Cake (adapted from Cast Sugar)
1 c. butter
3 c. bakers sugar
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 tsp. orange extract
1 c. good unsweetened cocoa powder
3 1/2 c. cake flour (3 1/2 TBS corn starch added to a measuring cup, then add All Purpose flour to make 3 1/2 cups cake flour)
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
2 (21-oz.) can cherry pie filling
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease or line 36 cupcake wells with papers.
Cream the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until well blended. Add almond and orange extracts and beat well. Add the cocoa powder and mix until well combined.
By hand, stir the cake flour (or all purpose/corn starch mix), baking soda and salt together. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the cherry pie filling. Pour the batter into the tins.
Bake at 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Cool.
Chocolate Almond Buttercream (adapted from Wilton)
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
3/4 cup cocoa or three 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares, melted
1 teaspoon almond Extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approx. 1 lb.)
3-4 tablespoons water
Cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add cocoa and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.