The ULTIMATE Black Forest Cupcakes! Tender rich chocolate cupcakes laced with Kirsch and filled with black cherry conserve, then topped with a luxurious buttercream swirl and the obligatory cherry on top.
Gotta love the retro!
I remember Black Forest, as a flavour combination, being really really popular when I was little. My own memories involve it being served with a crazy amount of whipped cream on top. And piped around the base. And up the sides, which was then covered with chocolate curls. I kid you not, I swear there was more cream than actual cake! Was it just me??
Needless to say, I found all the cream a bit too much to enjoy and it put me off anything to do with Black Forest for a very long time.
Happily, one day a friend shared some Black Forest gateau with me, and I discovered how scrumptious the beautiful flavours together really were! Especially when not drowned with whipped cream! So it was only natural that I would fall in love with it, and now I finally see what all the fuss is about!
What are Black Forest cupcakes?
These Black Forest cupcakes are a cupcake version of the infamous Black Forest cake. Contrary to common misconception, the cake is not named after the region of its origin, the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) mountain range in Germany. Rather, it actually gets its name from the distinctive kirsch alcohol made from Black Forest sour cherries, known as Schwarzwälder Kirsch or Kirsch Wasser: cherry firewater. Since Black Forest cake can only be so named if it includes this liquor, cakes made without it would quite simply be a delicious chocolate cherry cupcake instead!
What ingredients do I need to make these Black Forest cupcakes?
- Plain flour: I use plain flour here and add in raising agents so I have full control over how much my cakes will rise.
- Cocoa powder: for all that chocolatey yumminess!
- Baking powder/bicarbonate of soda: the leavening agents in this bake, to give your cupcakes extra rise and lightness!
- Salt: enhances the flavours in your bake. You won’t taste it, I promise!
- Unsalted butter: as with all my recipes, I like to use unsalted butter so I can control how much salt is in the bake. For best results, use butter at room temperature.
- Caster sugar: for sweetness in your cupcakes.
- Egg: helps with the structure of the cupcakes.
- Vanilla: for delicious flavour in your cupcakes and buttercream.
- Yogurt: keeps your cake tender, light and moist.
- Kirsch: because Black Forest baby!
- Black cherry conserve/jam: filled in your cupcakes for a beautiful indulgent middle!
- Icing/powdered sugar: used to make your buttercream. Dissolves more easily so your buttercream isn’t grainy.
- Double cream: to help you get the correct consistency for your buttercream, but richer than using milk because this is one yummy indulgent bake!
- Cherries: to crown every cupcake.
- Dark chocolate: grated over the top of your cupcakes as a finishing touch.
What equipment do I need to make cupcakes?
- Cupcake tin*: you will need 12 hole cupcake/muffin tin to bake your cupcakes in.
- Cupcake cases*: I used chocolate coloured cases to match the chocolate theme of these cupcakes.
- Digital kitchen scales*: whilst I do provide cup measurements for all my recipes, I always recommend using digital kitchen scales to weigh your ingredients out instead. Weighing out your ingredients is much more accurate than measuring by volume, as you do with cups, and will ensure better results. Digital scales are now relatively inexpensive and widely available.
- Measuring spoons*: for measuring smaller quantities such as tablespoons (tbsp) and teaspoons (tsp), I would recommend getting a set of dedicated measuring spoons as they would be far more accurate than using your everyday eating spoons.
- Sieve*: to remove lumps from your dry ingredients, ensuring it’s all mixed together evenly.
- Stand*/electric hand mixer*: I would highly recommend investing in a good electric mixer, whether stand mixer or hand held electric mixer, to help with your baking. This recipe can, of course, be done entirely by hand, but your bicep will get quite the workout! Having these tools makes it much easier and quicker to do your baking.
- Spatula*: for mixing and smoothing your cupcake batter and buttercream, plus scraping down the bowls as you mix.
- Ice cream scoop*: I use ice cream scoops to evenly measure out my batter between my cupcake cases. You can, of course, use two spoons, but I like the accuracy the scoops give me.
- Corer*: makes it easier to remove the middle of your cupcakes before filling. You can use a knife if you wish, I find this way easier.
- Piping bag*: used for piping your buttercream on your cupcakes.
- Piping nozzle*: to create a beautiful swirl of buttercream.
- Grater*: to add the final touch of dark chocolate magic!
How to make Black Forest cupcakes
These cupcakes are actually relatively easy to bring together, there are just a few more steps along the way due to coring and filling our cupcakes too. First, we need to make the cupcakes and brush with Kirsch. Then once cool, core and fill with yummy cherry compote before piping with a flourish of buttercream and garnishing with a cherry and chocolate shavings. It sounds a lot of steps, but it’s totally worth the effort, I promise!
For the cupcakes:
Step 1: Line your cupcake tin with cupcake cases and set it aside. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F while you make your cupcake batter.
Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, or using your stand mixer, beat together your flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb, salt, butter and sugar until it resembles damp sand. In a separate bowl or jug, mix together your egg, vanilla and yoghurt. Add ¾ of your wet ingredients with the dry and beat to combine. Scrape down your bowl, then add in the remaining wet ingredients and beat for 30 seconds until completely combined and slightly paler in colour.
Step 3: Fill your cupcake cases no more than ⅔ full with your chocolate mixture, then bake in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until light and springy and a cocktail stick comes out clean. As soon as you remove them from the oven, brush liberally with Kirsch, if using. Cool for a few minutes in the tin, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 4: Once your cupcakes are cool, use an apple corer or a knife to scoop out the middle of each cupcake and fill with some cherry conserve. Enjoy devouring the scooped out bits of cake as perks of the chef. Set your filled cupcakes aside while you make the buttercream.
For the buttercream:
Step 1: Once your cupcakes are cool, it’s time to make the buttercream. First, beat your butter until really pale and soft. This should take around 5 minutes. Be patient at this stage, it feels like forever, but I promise it’s worth the wait! This beating gives you a really light buttercream that is just heavenly and fluffy. Add in half your icing sugar, then mix slowly to avoid a sugar cloud. Spoon in your vanilla and double cream, mixing well. Add in the other half of your sugar, and mix slowly again to combine. Scrap your bowl down well, then beat your buttercream on high for 1 minute until light and fluffy.
Step 2: Once your buttercream is made, use your spatula to mix and press your buttercream around your mixing bowl for about a minute or so. This smooths out your buttercream, pushing out air bubbles, so giving you a really silky buttercream to work with for your final step. This step is optional, of course, but worth doing to avoid the air bubbles!
Step 3: Transfer your buttercream to a piping bag fitted with any nozzle you wish (I used a 2A), and pipe beautiful buttercream swirls onto your cupcakes. Top each cupcake with a sprinkling of chocolate shavings and crown with a cherry. Enjoy!
What can I do if I don’t have any cupcake cases?
If you’ve run out of cupcake cases, you can make your own. Simply find a glass that fits closely in your cupcake tin, then press a square of parchment around the bottom of your glass to shape it before placing your “cupcake case” in your cupcake tin and filling with batter before baking.
How do I know when my cupcakes are done?
You can tell your cupcakes are done because they will have risen and be firm on top, and springy when lightly pressed. You can also use a toothpick or wooden skewer (I prefer using a wooden tool as any uncooked crumbs stick to it better than to a metal tool), poked into the middle of the cupcake: you should have at most a few crumbs come out sticking to this if you cupcake is baked.
How long will these Black Forest cupcakes with Kirsch last? How do I store them?
These cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container and will be fine kept at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Can you freeze cupcakes?
Absolutely! Most cupcakes will freeze well for up to three months.
How to freeze Black Forest cupcakes
I recommend freezing cupcakes unfilled and undecorated. This helps avoid your buttercream being squashed and damaged when frozen. Before you freeze your cupcakes, follow the steps to the end of step 3, making sure they are completely cool before you wrap each cupcake tightly in cling film and place in a sturdy airtight container before freezing. I like using a container as I find it helps protect the cupcakes from knocks in the freezer.
How to thaw your cupcakes
Cupcakes thaw very quickly. Depending on the temperature of your room, they can normally be completely thawed in just a couple of hours. To thaw your cupcakes, remove them from the container and cling film and place each cupcake on a cooling rack, brushing off any ice crystals as you do. Then cover with a clean tea towel until you are ready to decorate them.
Can I make these cupcakes gluten free and dairy free?
Absolutely! You can substitute your plain/all purpose flour for a gluten free flour, but do add an additional ¼ tsp Xanthan gum if you can tolerate it. For dairy free options similarly use a plant based butter and double cream. Please do check labels of your conserve and Kirsch for any additional allergies there too.
Additional tips for making this Black Forest cupcakes recipe
- Always make sure you’ve prepared your tools and ingredients before you start mixing: line your cupcake pan with cupcake cases, preheat your oven and get your ingredients out ready to use. It’s easy to forget something once you start mixing!
- Take time to read through the recipe so you are familiar with what steps come next. Don’t skip details and instructions given as it could affect the results of your final bake.
- Remember to brush your cupcakes with Kirsch, if using, as soon as they come out of the oven. Doing this whilst your cupcakes are still warm means they will absorb all the boozy flavour and remain wonderfully moist instead of going soggy.
- Do be patient for your cupcakes to cool completely before hollowing, filling and decorating: you don’t want your cupcakes to fall apart or melt your buttercream!
- It’s really important to beat your butter plenty enough when making your buttercream. Trust me, this step is totally worth the extra few minutes you’ll spend!
- When grating chocolate, I like to chill my chocolate in the fridge for 15-20 minutes or so first. I find the chocolate is less likely to melt this way, and I get lovely gratings too!
If you have any other questions about this recipe, please use the comments below to ask away and I’ll do my best to help! And if you made and enjoyed this, I’d love to hear from you too!
And don’t forget: if you make this recipe for chocolate cherry cupcakes, please do consider leaving a rating and review below. I would truly love to know how you enjoy making them and it really helps others looking for a recipe too! You could even post a picture on Instagram and tag me when you share it with the world, I’d love to see!
More cupcake recipes for you to enjoy
Don’t forget too to check out these other delectable recipes on my blog:
Moist vanilla cupcakes: part of my Baking Basics series, these vanilla cupcakes are light and fluffy and beautifully moist, and topped with a delicious vanilla buttercream swirl. Add food colouring and sprinkles to suit your occasion for making them!
Coffee and walnut cupcakes: delicious soft fluffy coffee and walnut cupcakes, topped with a glorious silky coffee buttercream and a garnish of walnuts and coffee beans. Yum!
Triple chocolate cookies: the ULTIMATE chocolate cookie lovers dream! Deep rich and chewy chocolate cookies cram-packed full of oodles of white, milk, and dark chocolate chips. Pure, unadulterated, indulgent chocolate heaven.
Chocolate fudge doughnuts: these doughnuts are a chocaholic’s delight! Moist chocolate doughnuts, fudgy chocolate glaze and more chocolate to decorate. Yum!
Thanks for joining me today, my friends! Enjoy and happy baking! x
Recommended equipment and ingredients I used *
|Cupcake tin||Cupcake cases|
|Digital kitchen scales||Measuring spoons|
|Electric hand mixer||Spatula|
|Ice cream scoop||Corer|