Do you ever have those days where you look in your cupboard and think, "Why the heck do I have three cans of cherry pie filling?" This happens to me on a startlingly frequent basis. I am at the grocery store and I will spy a specialty ingredient and think, "Yes, I am going right home and whipping up (insert random recipe here) and it will be amazing!" But, I get home and the laundry needs doing or the dishes need washing or I don't have the seventeen other ingredients this random recipe actually needs so my specialty ingredient gets pushed to the back of the pantry until I have no actual food and just a conglomerate of random baking ingredients.
This is where old school recipes come in. The ones where you take a box of this and a can of that and you have something great just by cleaning out your pantry. Margaret McIntyre was the pastor's wife at my parents church like a zillion years ago (or at least before I can remember). She, and her cherry chocolate cake, were quite loved. Last year we put together a church cookbook and this cake made it in the book. When I was flipping through, trying to figure out what to do with so much cherry pie filling, this recipe popped right out at me. The original recipe called to make it in a bunt pan, so if bunts float your boat, feel free to pour the batter into a greased 12 cup bunt pan and increase the baking time to about 50 minutes give or take.
These cuppies do not have a strong cherry flavor, so don't worry if you have cherry phobes in your family like I do. The cherry flavor is subtle, the pie filling mostly adds moisture to the cake, making it nice and tender.
Margaret McIntyre's Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes1 box chocolate cake mix (I used Pillsbury)
1 20 ounce can of cherry pie filling
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (the original calls for almond extract, but I am not a fan so I used vanilla)
Dump ingredients in a bowl. Mix on high speed for 2-3 minutes. Pour into prepared cupcake papers. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
Chocolate Frosting adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature or slightly cooler
4 ounces milk chocolate
8 ounces semi sweet chocolate
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Chop the milk chocolate and semisweet chocolate up and place in a microwave safe bowl. Melt chocolate in microwave, running the microwave in 20 second intervals and stirring the chocolate between each interval until fully melted. Allow to cool slightly. In another small bowl, mix together cocoa powder and boiling water into a thick paste. Set aside. In yet another bowl (Martha Stewart seems to be a big fan of dirtying as many bowls as possible), beat together powdered sugar and butter until smooth. Dump in chocolate paste, beat until combined. Pour in melted chocolate and beat to combine.
My butter was a touch on the warm side, it was about 70 degrees in the house and adding the melted chocolate made it too soft to pipe. If you want to pipe the frosting, stick it in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up. I was tired and so I opted just to spread it on with an off set spatula.