For the cake batter: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F; line cupcake pans with 96 cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the pastry flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and baking powder and set aside. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl well. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add the flour mixture and the coffee and milk, starting and ending with the flour. Scrape the bowl down completely.
Spoon the batter into the liners. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
For the cherry compote: Put the cherries, kirsch, granulated sugar, orange zest and cinnamon sticks in a large saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the cherries are softened and release their juices, about 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cherries to another bowl. Continue to simmer the juices in the pan until the mixture becomes thick and can coat the back of a spoon. Pour the thick syrup over the cherries and set aside to cool.
For the mascarpone frosting: Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream on medium speed until soft peaks form, being careful not to over-whip. In another bowl, mix together the mascarpone and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until incorporated.
To assemble: Make a hole in the center of each cupcake using a cupcake corer or paring knife, making sure you don't go all the way to the bottom of the cupcake. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the cherry compote in the center of each cupcake, reserving some for garnish. Frost the cupcakes with the mascarpone frosting. Garnish with the reserved cherries.
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Nicole Ward