First of all, let me start by saying that these are not very red at all. Rather, a very deep chocolate-like colour, probably intensified by the addition of red food colouring. Also, the latter is artificial and liquid not by choice but because I was following the recipe as published in the BBC Good Food magazine. If you can’t/don’t want to use bottled colouring, just substitute with the same amount of beetroot juice or, even better, simply use 2 tsp of powder instead and increase the amount of buttermilk by 15ml. These muffins went down a treat at work, I hope they’ll be twice as successful for you!
- 100g butter, softened
- 140g golden caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 225g plain flour
- 25g cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 150ml buttermilk
- 28ml bottle red food colouring
- 100g glacé cherries, roughly chopped, plus extra to decorate
- 150ml double cream
- 140g cherry conserve/jam, sieved
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped
- Prepare a 12-hole muffin tin by either greasing the holes or filling it with paper muffin cases (as I did).
- Using an electric whisk, beat the butter and the sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, allowing plenty of time after each addition to whisk.
- Sift in the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt. Fold that in until there are no lumps. On that note, I kept on whisking here as I was in a hurry and it did the trick.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
- Then add the buttermilk, red food colouring and chopped cherries, stirring that briefly with a spatula.
- Divide the mixture between the muffin cases. Bake for about 20 minutes until well risen and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely at room temperature.
- To make the icing, warm the cream and jam into a pan over a low heat, then once that is well hot tumble in the chocolate, take off the heat and let is stand for a good 5 minutes. Whisk (by hand) until all the chocolate is dissolved, then leave to cool (and firm up) at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
- Spread the icing on the cakes and decorate with the reserved cherries.
- My local supermarket did not have cherry jam or preserve, so I resorted to raspberry instead. It worked wonderfully.