100g/3½oz dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), melted, plus extra to serve
1 x 360g/12½oz jar black cherries in kirsch
½ tsp arrowroot or cornflour mixed with a little water to make a smooth paste
300ml/10fl oz double cream, lightly whipped
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases.
Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and creamy. Gradually add the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and mix until well combined. Fold in the milk and melted chocolate.
Spoon or pipe the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until well risen and springy to the touch.
Remove the cakes from the tin and set aside to cool on a cooling rack.
Drain the cherries in a sieve collecting the kirsch in the bowl below. Pierce the cakes with a skewer and carefully pour about a teaspoon of the kirsch over each cake.
Heat the kirsch and arrowroot paste in a small saucepan until just boiling. Remove the pan from the heat and beat until thickened.
Using a small knife make a well in the top of each cake by removing a disk of cake and fill with 2 teaspoons of the cherries.
Pipe or spoon a swirl of cream onto the cakes, top with a few cherries and drizzle with the thickened kirsch. Just before serving, grate over some chocolate.
Carefully cut out the double shield images so that they can be folded down in the middle, making a shield shape with an image on the front and the back.
With the banner unfolded, run a line of glue along the inside of the crease, then lay a toothpick down in the glue. The ends should stick out past the edge of the paper. Run a few light squiggles of glue over one side of the shield, making sure to get near the edges.
Fold the top shield down and press the two halves together. Check to see that the edges more or less match up.
Cut your thread into segments about 2 1/2″ long. Place a dab of glue on either end of the exposed toothpick, and gently place the end of your string in the glue blob. It’s alright, and sometimes easier, if there is a little overhang; this can always be trimmed off later.
Once the glue is completely dry, you can trim the extra ends off the thread. The next step is to attach the banner to the bamboo skewer. If your skewer has a flat top, place a blob of glue on the end, and affix the centre of your banner’s thread to the blob. If your skewer doesn’t have a flat top, place a blob of glue near the top, and attach the thread there. Make sure it is centred before leaving it to dry!