Black Forest Cupcakes – Fresh black cherries are roasted in amaretto liquor and stuffed into a chocolate cupcake. The cupcake is then topped with fresh whipped cream and a chocolate-dipped cherry.
Cherry season is in full force! It’s one of my favorite times of the year because cherries are so flavorful and juicy and healthy so I’m chowing on them nonstop until they’re gone. Despite my love for them, however, I rarely bake with them. I don’t really know why – I just forget that this amazing stone fruit also tastes great in cakes and other desserts so they tend to get overlooked.
To take advantage of their bounty this time of year, I decided to make a cake that has long been on my list – Black Forest Cake. This is a chocolate cake layered with black cherries and whipped cream and more chocolate. Ever since seeing it on The Great British Baking Show, I have been dying to make this cake. It was on that show that I realized how delicious this cake could be, especially when made with fresh cherries.
For my version of this cake, I decided to make them into cupcakes. I also decided to use Amaretto liquor instead of the more traditional Kirsch liquor. I find Kirsch to taste too much like fake cherry that takes away from the natural flavor in the fresh cherries. But Amaretto, on the other hand, really enhances the flavor of fresh cherries so this switch was a no-brainer for me.
Now that I’ve teased you enough, let’s gawk at some Black Forest Cupcakes, shall we?
Why is it called “Black forest cake”?
Black forest cake originates in Germany, though the legend behind the cake differs depending on who you ask. The origin story I like says that the chocolate cake represents the forest and the red and white represent the traditional colors worn by the women of the Black Forest. How cute is that?
How are these cupcakes made?
These cupcakes are super simple to make, but they do require some time. There are three main steps required in making these cupcakes:
- Making the cake
- Filling the cupcakes
- Topping the cupcakes
Making the cake
The cake is a traditional chocolate cake, made with cocoa powder. There is also coffee in the cake to really bring out the rich flavor of the chocolate. Once the batter is made, it’s scooped into cupcake liners and baked for 15 minutes.
Filling the cupcakes
The cupcakes are filled with a homemade cherry compote. Fresh cherries are cooked on the stovetop with sugar, cornstarch, and Amaretto until nice and thick. They’re then smashed into pieces to make them easier to fill in the cupcakes.
Once the cupcakes and the filling are cooled, it’s time to assemble the cupcakes. To do this, you remove the centers of the cupcake and spoon in the filling. But don’t discard the cupcake centers – you’ll use the crumbs for decoration later.
Topping the cupcakes
Finally, it’s time to top the cupcakes with freshly whipped cream. The whipped cream is just sugar and heavy whipping cream that is whipped to stiff peaks. It’s then pipped over the cupcakes with a round tip. To finish them off, I dipped a fresh cherry into chocolate ganache and placed it on top of the cupcake. I then sprinkled the finished cupcakes with those leftover cake pieces we reserved from earlier.
Tips & Tricks
- Do not attempt to assemble the cupcakes until the cake has cooled completely. If you try to fill the cupcakes while warm, they could fall apart.
- Make sure the cherry filling is also cool before adding to the cupcake. If it’s warm, it will melt the whipped cream topping, causing a big ‘ole mess.
- Fresh cherries are necessary to achieve the best flavor. But if you’re making these out of season, you can use frozen cherries. No need to thaw them before cooking them.
Black Forest Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup sour cream
- ¼ cup whole milk
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot brewed coffee
For the cherry filling
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 cups whole fresh cherries pitted
- 3 tablespoons Amaretto liquor
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
For the whipped cream topping:
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
For cherry garnish:
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- 24 whole fresh cherries with stems
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcake molds with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a large stand mixer bowl, add sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt on low until completely combined. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, milk, and vanilla until completely combined.
- With the mixer on low, slowly pour in wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Mix just until all lumps are removed and the batter is smooth. With the mixer still on low, pour in the hot brewed coffee. Mix until completely combined.
- Using a cookie scoop, scoop batter into each prepared cupcake liner until 2/3 full. Place filled cupcake pans into prepared oven and bake until a tooth pick comes out clean when inserted in the center. Remove from oven and let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the pans and let cool on a rack completely before filling.
- While the cupcakes cool, make the filling. Add cherries, amaretto, sugar, and cornstarch to a medium sauce pan and stir together. Place over medium-high heat until it starts to simmer, about 3 minutes. Using a potato masher, mash the cherries to help release their juices. Continue cooking until mixture starts to thicken, about 3 more minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Cut a 1-inch circle in the center of each cooled cupcake and remove some of the filling underneath. Save the filling for later. Place 1 teaspoon of cherry filling into the hole of each cupcake.
- Make the whipped cream topping by whipping heavy cream and 1/4 cup of sugar until firm. Place into pipping bag with large round tip. Pipe whipped cream on top of each cupcake.
- To finish off the cupcakes, make the chocolate-dipped cherries. To do this, warm the cream in the microwave until scalded (between 30 seconds to 1 minute). Add to chocolate chips and let sit for 10 minutes. Then stir together until completely combined. Dip cherries into chocolate and then place on top of cupcake. Repeat for the rest of the cherries. Sprinkle cupcakes with pieces of cake that you saved from earlier.
- Serve cupcakes immediately or place in refrigerator for up to 3 days.