[This post is written in partnership with Bialetti. All text and opinions are 100% mine. Thank you for supporting brands that help me and my business grow!]
Hello, friends! Is it officially considered fall when pumpkin spice starts popping up in coffee shops? As much as I love fall, I’m having a hard time dealing with the fact that summer is nearly over. But I won’t pretend that I’m not excited about hauling out the slow cooker and making ALL the soups. And fall baking, also love it. Pumpkins, apples, warm spices – comfort baking at its best. I’ve got so many fab recipes and tutorials lined up for this fall season and can’t wait to share them all with you.
I couldn’t possibly finish out summer baking on the blog without posting a cherry recipe. My littlest loves cherries so we’ve had a steady supply on hand since they were first available. These black forest cupcakes are the perfect way to use up the last of those cherries. And what better to pair with cherries than chocolate. These chocolate cupcakes are moist and fluffy, filled with homemade cherry filling and topped with a tangy whipped cream cheese buttercream frosting. This is my go-to cream cheese buttercream frosting I use for my wedding cakes.
I’ll admit, these black forest cupcakes aren’t authentically black forest in the traditional sense. Both feature a rich chocolate cake base, but the cherry filling differs a bit. Traditional black forest cake has that unmistakable flavor of Kirsch, or cherry liquor. I chose to leave it out and flavored my cherry filling with vanilla and a hint of almond. I left it out because I don’t keep Kirsch on hand and didn’t feel like it was worth buying a bottle of Kirsch for this one recipe. It would never be used except for this recipe. However, you can add Kirsch to the filling if you have it and wish to use it. I also used sweet cherries for my filling in place of the traditional sour cherries. Traditional black forest cake is filled and covered with a light whipped cream. I opted for a whipped cream cheese buttercream frosting because the tanginess of the cream cheese is fabulous with the cherries and the chocolate.
This chocolate cupcake recipe is one I’ve been using for years and it’s pretty much the *perfect* chocolate cupcake. It’s fantastically chocolate-y with a tight but fluffy crumb. Be sure to use a good quality dutch processed cocoa here. Not only will the flavor be highlighted, but also good quality cocoa powder has a higher fat content (ie: adds moistness to the cupcake).
The only liquid in this chocolate cupcake recipe is coffee. I used Bialetti’s Moka Express to brew the coffee for my cupcakes. I don’t own an espresso machine, so the Moka Express is a fast and easy way for me to make a quality espresso drink without having to hit the local coffee shop drive-through. Bialetti’s Milano coffee blend is my favorite to drink – it’s lighter, more floral and more delicate than the Bialetti Napoli blend that I used for these cupcakes. I opted to use a more robust and dark roast to really enhance the chocolate in the cupcakes and I wanted the natural roasted and cocoa aroma of the coffee to really shine through.
The coffee and cocoa powder are mixed together to “bloom” the cocoa powder. Combining the cocoa powder with a liquid allows the cocoa powder to dissolve and essentially release it’s flavor. Pretty much means you’re unleashing it’s ultimate chocolate-y potential. The cupcakes are made by combining sugar and butter in a saucepan and heating just until melted. The mixture is then poured into the bowl of a stand mixer and beaten until room temperature. Eggs and vanilla are added, followed by the chocolate mixture and finished by alternating between sour cream and the flour mixture. When baked they’ll be perfectly domed, moist and flavorful chocolate cupcakes.
The cherry filling for these black forest cupcakes is super easy and fast to make. Combine all the ingredients into a saucepan. I use a potato masher to break up the cherries a bit more and get them to release some of their juices once they start to cook down a bit. Let the cherry mixture simmer until thickened, add in extracts and let it cool completely before using. Easy peasy. The cherry filling can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to a week.
Whipped cream cheese buttercream frosting is so versatile and great for topping cupcakes, filling cakes and spreading on brownies. It’s also super easy to prepare and definitely a no fuss recipe. Combine softened butter and chilled cream cheese and beat until combined. I use the cream cheese while it’s still cold because it will heat up quite a bit with all the mixing. Using chilled cream cheese helps keep it more stable. Add in the powdered sugar and the vanilla and beat on low until combined. At this point, it’s going to look yellow and pretty lumpy. Turn up the mixer to medium speed and whip until the buttercream has lightened in color and texture, about 3-5 minutes.
If you really wanted to get extra, after filling the cupcakes, puree the remaining cherry filling and drizzle it over the top of the cupcakes. So. Much. Yum. These black forest cupcakes are a must try.
If you try my black forest cupcakes, let me know! Leave a comment in the comment area below and be sure to snap a photo and tag it #littlevintagebaking on Instagram. I love seeing your Little Vintage Baking creations!
For more chocolate desserts, check out these recipes:
Black Forest Cupcakes
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons espresso or coffee
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120ml) sour cream, full fat
- 1 cup (1/2lb) sweet cherries, cut in half, stems and pits removed
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
Whipped Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 block (250g) cream cheese
- 4 cups (500g) confectioners sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
Make the chocolate cupcakes.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and espresso and whisk until thoroughly incorporated. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- Place the sugar and the butter into a saucepan over low heat. When the butter is almost melted, transfer the mixture to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- On medium low speed, beat the butter mixture until it is room temperature.
- Adjust the speed to low. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla.
- Add the chocolate coffee mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the sour cream, mixing only until just combined after each addition.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape down the sides and the bottom to make sure that all the ingredients are fully mixed.
- Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake the cupcakes for 16-19 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few stray crumbs.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Make the cherry filling.
- Combine the cherries, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium low heat.
- Use a potato masher or a wooden spoon to crush the cherries just a bit to release the juices and break them up a bit.
- Let the mixture simmer until thickened and glossy, about 5-7 minutes.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and cool completely before using.
Make the whipped cream cheese buttercream frosting.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fixed with a paddle attachment, on medium speed, combine the butter and the cream cheese and beat until combined, about a minute.
- Adjust the speed to low and add the confectioners sugar a cup at a time, mixing until incorporated after each addition.
- Once all the sugar has been added, scrape down the bowl. Add the vanilla and the salt.
- Turn the mixer speed to medium and beat the buttercream until lightened and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
- Place the frosting into a piping bag fitted with your preferred piping tip
Compile the black forest cupcakes.
- Use a small knife to cut a cone shape out of the cupcake center.
- Fill the cupcake with two teaspoons of the cherry filling.
- Pipe the cupcakes with the whipped cream cheese buttercream frosting and top with a cherry. Enjoy!