Castle Black Forest Cupcakes

Ladies and gentlemen - these cupcakes turned out more amazing than I could have planned!  

But first, let's talk Game of Thrones.

This Castle Black recipe is the last in a GoT series.  In case you missed it, I'm sharing recipes you can make for the Game of Thrones premiere this coming weekend.  So far, I've created a Red Wedding Cake, complete with dripping red cherry juice; Targaryen Dragon Eggs, which are fudgy chocolate truffles; and Tyrion Lannister's Petit Fours.

These cupcakes are inspired by Jon Snow and the men of the Night's Watch, who live at Castle Black.  The Night's Watch are criminals, nobodies, and volunteers who guard the northern kingdom from attackers and other dangers.  Tying in my boozy elements, Ommegang Brewery makes annual Game of Thrones brews; they had one last year called "Take the Black Stout" and their current brew is "Three-Eyed Raven" (out sometime this month).  I haven't been able to get my hand on the new beer, but I was able to find last season's brew, "Valar Morghulis".  From my research, it seems that all of Ommegang beers are vegan-friendly.

If you don't have any special beers on hand for this recipe, a hearty stout or porter will work well.  If you're truly out of booze, a cup of coffee will do just fine too :-)

Traditional Black Forest Cake has multiple layers of chocolate cake, then dollops of whipped cream and cherries.  This cupcake recipe simplifies and veganizes this process!

I love the way that the flavor of the beer pairs with the cherries.  It's a lovely, complex flavor.  These cupcakes look fancy, but they are pretty easy to make, as far as multi-step cupcake recipes go.

Castle Black Forest Cupcakes
Cake adapted from The Pretty Bee

1 1/2 c. organic flour*
1 c. organic sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder, aluminum-free
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/3 c. coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. vinegar
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. dark beer

For the Coconut Whipped Cream
My Coconut Whipped Cream Recipe, with or without cocoa powder

tart cherries, for the filling and decorations

*Gluten-free baking mix (with Xanthan Gum) can be substituted in for the flour

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a cupcake tin with 12 parchment cups.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Combine the materials and make a well in the middle of the bowl.

Have the liquid ingredients measured and ready to go before you start to pour.  Pour both the beer/water and vinegar/oil into the well.  Stir well.

Pour the batter into the parchment cups.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Insert a toothpick and make sure that it comes out clean.  If so, they're ready to come out.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

When you're ready, core each cupcake; be sure to save the cores and crumble them!  They will serve as the outer decorations.  Fill each hole with two or three cherries.

Once you make the whipped cream, you can pipe it on (for prettier cupcakes) or just spread it around with a spatula, which is what I did.  Sprinkle some of your cake crumbles on top and add a cherry.  Aren't these cupcakes the cutest?!

Okay, other than the name, these cupcakes might not fit the "Castle Black" feel.  They don't look as scary or ominous as my Red Wedding Cake, but they sure will make your Game of Thrones premiere party guests fall in love!