Black Forest Cupcakes

Black forest cupcakes 6

It’s finally summer enough to warrant coffee on the back porch! And while these are hardly summery, I can’t imagine chocolate, cherries and whipped cream have a particular season. I’ve been promising to share the recipe since E’s 16th birthday back in April, when she told us it didn’t really matter what kind of cake she had, but she liked Black Forest. Me too. Who doesn’t? And the flavour combo makes a fine cupcake – a good thing because Black Forest cakes can be tricky to assemble and messy to cut.

chocolate tree Collage

With a bag of frozen cherries in the freezer, all we needed was a batch of our standby chocolate cupcakes and some whipped cream. And something fancy to go on top – chocolate trees I recalled seeing somewhere, sometime – maybe on Pinterest? Here, I think? At any rate, I love melting chocolate chips in zip-lock baggies in a cup of warm water, then squeezing it out into shapes that then harden and can be used for decoration. W was on chocolate tree duty while I made filling.

black forest cupcakes 11

Cherries simmered with sugar and a bit of cornstarch comes out exactly like canned cherry pie filling, only not quite as gelatinous and with better flavour. (I imagine cherry preserves would work as well, only sweeter.) You cut a chunk out of each cupcake and put in a spoonful of filling, then replace the plug, not worrying much about it fitting snugly since you’ll cover it with whipped cream anyway.

Black forest cupcakes 3

(You may have to break off the tip of the little cone you cut out – cooks’ nibbles.)

Black forest cupcakes 5

Once they’re all filled, spoon whipped cream into a bigger zip-lock bag, snip off a bigger corner and pipe it out onto the cakes. Isn’t it satisfying to pipe things out onto other things? I have real piping bags and cookie presses, yet they tend to stay in the basement while I use ziplock bags, which of course can be tossed out afterward. Fewer dishes is always a bonus.

black forest cupcake Collage

A cherry would have been nice on top, like a little cupcake sundae. And you could do chocolate shavings (use a sharp knife or vegetable peeler and make sure the chocolate is at room temperature) but the chocolate trees! Of course it wouldn’t have to be trees -you could pipe out the chocolate into letters, numbers, whatever suits the occasion that calls for cupcakes.

Black forest cupcakes 1

To make the chocolate trees (or letters, numbers – whatever you like), put chocolate chips into a snack-sized zip-lock baggie, seal and place in a glass or bowl of warm water. Take it out once or twice and squeeze it, until all the chocolate is melted. Snip off a corner and pipe onto waxed or parchment paper, and leave at room temperature or refrigerate until solid, then peel off.

Black Forest Cupcakes

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, or half all-purpose, half whole wheat
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup strong coffee (I mix together instant)

2 cups fresh or frozen cherries, pitted
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
chocolate shavings, extra cherries or chocolate trees

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt, breaking up any lumps of brown sugar and cocoa. Add the milk, oil, eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine; add the coffee and stir until well blended and smooth.

Divide the batter among the cups, filling them 3/4 full, and bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are springy to the touch. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, simmer the cherries, sugar and cornstarch (if you like, stir the sugar and cornstarch together first in a small bowl to get rid of lumps) over medium heat until bubbling and thickened. Remove from heat and let cool.

With a sharp knife, cut a small piece out of the top of each cupcake. (I cut in a circle with the knife pointed in, so you end up with a little cone shaped chunk of cake.) Fill each cupcake with a small spoonful of filling, then replace with the chunk of cake (you may have to break off the pointy end to accommodate the filling).

Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spoon into a larger zip-lock bag, snip a bigger piece off one corner and pipe out over the cupcakes. Top with cherries, chocolate shavings or chocolate trees.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes.

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June 22 2014 10:54 am | cake

13 Responses to “Black Forest Cupcakes”

  1. Emily @ Life on Food on 22 Jun 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    These are beautiful!! I love the chocolate trees!

  2. kickpleat on 22 Jun 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    Black forest is my favourite cake and this year I got one for my birthday (first time I didn’t make my own cake – it came from a bakery). I loved it. But I love this one because it seems so do-able. And I’m gonna do it! Thanks Julie :)

  3. Jules @ WolfItDown on 22 Jun 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    Holy smoke! These look fantastic! I just made some black forest vegan chocolate not long ago, it’s a lethal combination, so delicious 😀 x

  4. Julie on 22 Jun 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    Aren’t they pretty? so glad you guys like them!

  5. rose on 22 Jun 2014 at 10:45 pm #

    Hi Julie

    I tried your chocolate piping idea and it worked beautifully. Am having a tea party for a birthday tomorrow and I piped the initial of the birthday girl. Very nice! Now I have to bake the cake!


  6. Terri on 23 Jun 2014 at 7:33 am #

    Gorgeous! W is growin’ up before our very eyes :)

  7. Margaret on 23 Jun 2014 at 7:44 am #

    Lovely looking, and can hardly wait to make them.
    Curious to know where you can buy the bluish muffin papers. The blue papers, and white cream, plus the trees all work together to entice one to “eat me.”
    I live in Edmonton, so perhaps it’s a specialty store.

  8. Julie on 24 Jun 2014 at 10:25 am #

    Margaret – honestly, I think they came from Winners… they’ve been in my basement for awhile! Maybe Home Sense? Yes.. I think Home Sense!

  9. Julie on 24 Jun 2014 at 10:26 am #

    Rose – that’s awesome! So glad to hear it!

  10. Medeja on 07 Jul 2014 at 4:08 am #

    These cupcakes look wonderful! The decoration is so nice! Great idea to make chocolate trees!

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  13. Stephanie W on 25 Oct 2015 at 3:15 pm #

    Brilliant idea, these look gorgeous! Do you think the whipped cream topping would hold up if these needed to be transported/served a day later, or would you stabilize the whipped cream with some corn syrup or something?

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