Serves 36 standard cupcakes
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup boiling water
- 300g cherries in Kirsch
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tsp cornflour- cornstarch mixed with 3 tsp cold water
- 2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Prepare two 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom, and grease the sides.
- Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together.
- Add eggs, buttermilk and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Add vanilla to boiling water and add to mixture. Mix well.
- Pour into cakes pans and bake at 300 degrees for about 38-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
- Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
- Cook cherries and almond extract over stovetop on low temperature, when bubbling, stir in cornflour mixture. Allow cherries to continue cooking over low for about 10 minutes. Once compote has thickened, allow to completely cool down before filling cupcakes.
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add in room temperature unsalted butter. Whip the butter for 5 minutes on medium-high speed, scraping down the sides occasionally. The butter will be light, fluffy, and pale in color.
- Add one half of the powdered sugar and mix on the lowest speed setting until fully combined. Add remaining powdered sugar and continue to mix on low until incorporated.
- Add almond extract, vanilla extract, and salt and mix on low until combined.
- Increase speed to medium on the mixer and slowly drizzle in the heavy cream. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure the frosting is well mixed.
- Turn the speed on the mixer to high and whip for an additional 3-5 minutes until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
- If desired, switch to a paddle attachment on the stand mixer and mix buttercream on low speed for 2 additional minutes to remove air bubbles to create smooth frosting.
Note: This buttercream makes approximately 4 cups. It will ice approximately 3 dozen cupcakes.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled, core them with a cupcake corer. Fill each cupcake with the cherry compote.
- Place the candy eyes on the cupcake to create a pair of eyes.
- Ice the cupcakes using a #44 icing tip to draw thin strips across the cupcake in various directions. Avoid covering the eyes.