Last year, Jan and I couldn’t get our act together in time for an Oktoberfest party in October, so we hosted one in November and called it “Noktoberfest” (see Lederhosen and Lebkuchen). Continuing the tardy tradition, we managed to host an Oktoberfest celebration this October, but it’s taken me until November to write about it. Maybe next year I’ll get them both done in October! And a few years down the line, I might actually be on schedule with Munich, which begins the 16-18 day beer festival in late September.
In any case, with a couple of other projects currently at the top of our priority list, this year’s Oktoberfest was a toned-down celebration, with Jan limiting the menu to (only!) four types of German sausages, plus meat-free sausages for our vegetarian guests. We brought back out our ridiculous costumes (lederhosen for the men, dirndls for the women), served sauerkraut, red potatoes, braised cabbage, and potato salad, and kept the drink menu simple with the obligatory Oktoberfest beverage: beer. And while I enjoyed the silliness of decorating wearable lebkuchen cookies with my guests last year, this time opted for Black Forest cupcakes, and there was a lot less icing all over the house at the end of the evening.
The recipe for the chocolate cake came from AllRecipes.com (recipe here), and instead of using Kirsch (cherry liqueur) in the actual cake (again being lazy about a trip to BevMo), I soaked the cherries in brandy to give the cupcakes the slightly alcoholic flavor they needed.
Black Forest Cupcakes
- 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
- 1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 can tart cherries (in water, NOT syrup)
- 1 to 2 cups brandy or Kirsch
- 1/4 pint hipping cream
- 1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 dark chocolate bar
- 24 Maraschino cherries
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Drain cherries and place in a small bowl. Pour the brandy over the cherries until they are completely covered with liquid, set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, and water. Stir in chocolate chips and pour batter into 24 paper cupcake cups.
- Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until tops are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes thoroughly.
- Drain the cherries again and roughly chop into quarters.
- Use a knife to cut partially through the top of the cupcakes, just above the paper cup. Using your fingers or a spoon, stuff about 1 tablespoon of the cherries inside the cupcakes.
- Use an electric mixer to whip the whipped cream, adding powdered sugar until you have the desired sweetness (I added about 1.5 tablespoons to a ¼ pint whipped cream).
- Spread whipped cream over the stuffed cupcakes.
- Use a potato peeler to shave thin pieces from the dark chocolate bar, sprinkle over tops of cupcakes and top each with a maraschino cherry.