Are you ready for these…? Smoky Choc Cherry Cupcakes

Smoky Choc Cherry Cupcakes

I developed these last year as an option for the final of The Great British Bake Off.  In the end I went with Mint, Ginger and Blackberry (recipe here) so before the weather gets truly summery here’s my recipe for Smoky Chocolate and Cherry Cake.

The smoke is added with this nifty ingredient:

La Chinata Smoked Sweet Paprika – it has to be the sweet version which has no heat to it and gives the perfect smoky flavour.  Try and pick it up in your local shops but it can be ordered online here if you’re struggling.

Now I know some of you will have no intention of trying this recipe and will, quite frankly, think it sounds disgusting.  Trust me, smoky chocolate, it works xx

90g butter, softened
165g caster sugar
2 eggs, large
115g plain flour
40g self raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp La Chinata smoked sweet paprika
40g cocoa powder
1 tin of whole pitted cherries

150g dark chocolate
150g double cream
2 tbsps black cherry jam
200g icing sugar

Juicy cherries and edible gold dust to decorate

Makes 18 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 160c fan/180c/Gas Mark 4.

Line the recesses of a cupcake pan with paper cases.

Before making the cake mixture, take the tin of pitted cherries and drain off the juice.  Blitz the cherries, roughly in a food processor or with a hand blender.

Cream together the softened butter and caster sugar until nice light and fluffy.

Measure out all the dry ingredients in a bowl together.

To the creamed mixture add the eggs, all the dry ingredients and the blitzed cherries.  Mix together well using an electric mixer.

Fill each cupcake case 2/3rds full and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until beautifully baked.
Allow to cool for a couple of minutes in the tin before transferring to a cooling rack.

Ho ho – they look like regular chocolate cupcakes but these are special!

To make the frosting chop the chocolate roughly.

Heat the cream in a pan over a low heat until just below boiling.
Remove from the heat and add the chocolate.
Allow to stand for a couple of minutes to melt the chocolate and then stir into a smooth lovely ganache.
Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
Once cooled beat the black cherry jam into the ganache.

Combine this mixture with the icing sugar and beat well.
Add the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large open star nozzle.  It needs to be an open star to allow the fruit in the jam to pipe nicely.

Take the cherries, still with their stalks on, and brush gently with a little gold lustre dust.  Obviously this little bit is optional but does give them the wow factor!

Pipe a small circle of frosting onto the top of each cupcake – there’s no need to pipe the top fully as these cupcakes don’t need it but feel free to go with your own design.

Top with a gold dusted cherry.

Before I go I’m just going to say – trust me, it works!
Smoky Choc Cherry Cupcakes
Smoky Choc Cherry Cupcakes

Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

Finalist on BBC2 The Great British Bake Off

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29 Responses to Are you ready for these…? Smoky Choc Cherry Cupcakes

  1. thelittleloaf says:

    Wow,these sound amazing – a little bit crazy but I can see how they might work! Chilli and chocolate is such a great combo. Am off on holiday next week but definitely one to try when I'm back 🙂

  2. HELEN says:

    These look gorgeous Ruth, I'll definitely be trying this recipe out sometime!

  3. Voe says:

    Hi, thank you so much for posting this recipe. It is so unique! I will definitly try to get the ingredients when I go shopping this weekend so that I can try it.

    Thank you for taking the time to write such an informative, wonderful blog.

    All thhe best,

  4. Craftilicious says:

    Oooh I LOVE that smokey paprika but have never thought to use it in a cake – am going to try that this weekend. I love salty chocolate so can see the appeal of the smokeyness and have been playing around with savory in sweet recipes (rosemary shortbread with salted caramel in millionaire shortbread is a total must try!)

    Thanks for another fab recipe Ruth. 🙂

  5. Jay @ Cake Box says:

    Wow, they look delicious!

  6. Janice says:

    Oh wow, those look fabulous. I have some of that smoked paprika, it's one of my favourite ingredients.

  7. Arline says:

    These look and sound gorgeous…may have to have a go at the weekend! Thanks for sharing Ruth!x

  8. Tulip says:

    Ok, I'm going to trust you here, it's my daughters 22nd birthday on Tuesday and I need something with cherries, chocolate and a wow factor…I think I may have found my recipe…!
    Thanks Ruth x

  9. Jean says:

    Wow, these look amazing – off to buy some cherries right now !!

  10. Kate says:

    Looks great. Thanks Ruth. Going to try these at the weekend, I did find another source for the paprika on Amazon that was much cheaper as the one given wanted about £7 for postage on a 70g item!!

  11. KnitBakeSew says:

    Great recipe, I love chilli and chocolate together and have made a chilli-chocolate cake before (for a Mexican themed party) but the paprika would keep the sweetness, cant wait to try it out!

  12. Kate@katescakesandbakes says:

    Lovely flavour combination Ruth, I'm sure it must have been tricky choosing which ones to go with in the end! These would be the perfect bbq related cupcakes!

  13. Clare says:

    Cherries brushed with gold! How wonderfully decadent!

  14. Erin says:

    I need some help please! All the comments seem to be "I will try it" but none say what happened when they did! well I tried it last night and I must say I was so excited about it as I love baking and love cherries and smoked Paprika! The cake mixture turned out amazing but I somehow messed up the icing and need a bit more info – I used 70% cocoa chocolate – should I have just used normal baking dark chocolate as the colour of my icing was not the same, also, it wasn't the same consistency as it looks in the pictures and the sweetness of the icing sugar overpowered everything. The people I gave them to had no idea that paprika or even cherries were in the cake recipe where as I scraped the icing off as it was way too sweet for me and I could definitely taste the paprika. I followed the recipe perfectly but am not sure why my icing didn't work :-(. On the plus the cake is amazing so thank you so much for that!!

  15. Sarah, Maison Cupcake says:

    I have some of that stuff, love the sound of these.

  16. Ruth says:

    Hi Erin – I use a 49% cocoa solids dark chocolate such as Bournville in my baking. Its important that the ganache is cooled before beating in the icing sugar. If it is still runny you will have to add more icing to stiffen it, it will lose it's dark colour and the taste like you say will only taste of sugar. Hope this helps xx

  17. Erin says:

    Hi Ruth, Thanks for the reply, I am definitely going to try it again, maybe as a cake as well. I just used a spoon so next time will use an electric whisk and hopefully will look more like yours then just a chocolate sauce 🙂 xx

  18. milly says:

    Made these today. They taste great, not over powering at all but smokiness is there. Unusual but it works. Used all plain flour and added a teaspoon of baking powder. The icing I found was still runny after cooling and adding icing sugar so added another tablespoon of icing sugar and beat it using an electric whisk to help thickening it. Great recipe, will make again 🙂

  19. Richard says:

    Hi Ruth,
    I'd like to make these cakes but I don't even my partner and I could eat an entire batch before they go a wee bit iffy (technical term). Can these cakes be frozen without frosting? That way I can bake a whole batch and just take a few out when we want them.

  20. Ruth says:

    Hi Richard – absolutely bake off a full batch and then bob them unfrosted in the freezer – they'll come out as good as they were freshly baked. Iffy's a technical term here too! x

  21. Jean says:

    Hi Ruth, can you tell me what size nozzle you use for icing these cupccakes? When I use the largest nozzle I have, the swirls come out quite fine compared to yours – I love the big ribbonny effect you have on these little beauties !!

  22. Ruth says:

    Hi Jean – I use the closed star nozzle from the tala piping set from John Lewis its a brilliant set of three large nozzles and well worth the investment! xx

  23. Anonymous says:

    Have you got any similar recipes which use white chocolate instead of dark as i wanted to make cupcakes fora christening 🙂

  24. Ruth says:

    You could try the cake mixture as cupcakes from here minus the raspberries and the frosting from here minus the cinnamon

  25. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Ruth, used these recipes for the Christening today, and everyone loved them!!!!
    They especially loved the raspberry and white choc cupcakes (I did white choc buttercream with them), but the Smoky choc cherry all went first!!!!!

  26. Linda says:

    Hi Ruth,
    I asked my hubby to pick up some icing sugar and by mistake he got Silver Spoon Royal Icing Sugar. Would it still be ok to use this for frosting for cupcakes or can you suggest what else I’d use it for if not? We don’t like ‘hard’ icing on Christmas cake, so it’s no good saving it for that.

    • You can use it for icing, a glace type icing will be fine, it you’re looking for a thick normal icing it may well set too hard. Royal icing is lovely made with lemon juice and it inhibits the hard set so you could try it with that too x

  27. Claire says:

    I have made these a few times now, and I wondered if I could substitute the cherries for raspberries?
    If so, would you recommend keeping the paprika in or perhaps a different spice like nutmeg?
    Thanks x

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