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black forest cupcakes on serving platter

Black Forest Cupcakes Recipe

A simpler spin on a classic dessert: black forest cake! Learn how to make black forest cupcakes. Featuring all of the components we know and love about black forest cake: a moist and tender chocolate cupcake, a tart and sweet cherry filling, and a smooth and fluffy whipped cream topping.
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12 to 14 cupcakes


For the cherry filling:

  • 1 cup cherries, washed, stems removed, pitted and sliced in half * see notes
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cold water

For the chocolate cupcake:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

For the whipped cream topping:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar ** see notes
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • cherries for topping
  • chocolate shavings for topping


  • Make the cherry filling: In a medium saucepot, combine pitted cherries, sugar, and lemon juice. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from scorching. Once it boils, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cherries are softened.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together water and cornstarch to get a slurry. Gradually pour the slurry into your cherry mixture, stirring well as you pour it to prevent clumping.
  • Bring the mixture back up to a boil, and cook until significantly thickened. The mixture should have the consistency of jam (this is to prevent the cupcake from getting soggy when you fill it with the cherry mixture). Transfer the cherry filling to a plate or bowl, and set aside to cool completely before using.
    Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 12 count cupcake tin with paper liners, and set aside.
  • Make the black forest chocolate cupcakes: In a medium bowl, whisk together your flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Beat together until you no longer see any dry sugar crystals. Add in your egg and vanilla, and whisk to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, or measuring cup, dissolve espresso powder (if using) in your boiling water. Set aside.
  • Alternate adding dry and wet ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture. Start by adding in about 1/3 of the dry ingredients, and mixing until combined. Add all of your buttermilk, and whisk to combine as well. Mix in another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, followed by your espresso/water. Finish off with your remaining 1/3 dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.
  • Portion the cupcake batter into your prepared cupcake tin. Take care not to fill the cups more than 2/3 of the way full because they will rise to the top as they bake. Bake in the center of your preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before filling and frosting!
  • Make the whipped cream frosting: Combine cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk until the cream reaches stiff peaks.
  • Assembly! Hollow out the centers of each cupcake, going no more than halfway down the center of the cupcake with a hole that's about 3/4 inch wide. I just used the opposite side of a piping tip (see above for visual reference).
  • Fill each cupcake center with some of the cherry filling. (Optional) Reseal the tops of the cupcakes with some of the hollowed out cake pieces to have a more seamless look when you bite into a cupcake!
  • Frost the tops of each cupcake with the whipped cream. (Optional) Top each cupcake with a cherry and some chocolate shavings.


* You can use fresh or frozen cherries for the cherry filling. If using frozen, you can use them straight from the freezer. No need to defrost. It just may take slightly longer to cook out the liquid.
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