(Photos, post and recipe updated 31st Jan 2019)

It was my sister in laws birthday in March and I was tasked with making a dessert. It’s not a task at all. The biggest task for me is sticking to one – so I didn’t. I made those delectable soft and crunchy Cinnamon Caramel Crumble Bars and these gorgeous little Black Forest Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Plenty more where these came from

I’m a sucker for a cupcake and finding new flavours and ways decorate them. How can you not love them? I mean, these mini cakes are so versatile, you can include any flavour you love. I have a list of over 100 cupcake flavour combinations that I want to make so don’t worry, I’ll be keeping these coming.

Cupcakes topped with chocolate and a fresh cherry on a wooden board.

The first time I made these, it was not cherry season so I used frozen cherries. As soon as fresh cherries hit the stores, I remade them quick smart. The point is, though, you can certainly substitute frozen if fresh are not in season. That’s why my freezer is my second best friend – I can make these any time of year.

Anyway, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. These Black Forest Chocolate Cupcakes are made up of 3 components

  • My best chocolate cupcakes
  • A homemade cherry jam filling
  • An ermine cream cheese frosting
A cupcake cut open to show the cherry jam inside.

The best chocolate cupcakes

The easy chocolate cupcakes are my favourite ever, no-need-for-another, chocolate cupcake. I love it. It has a great chocolate flavour, and it’s extremely light and fluffy.

Mixing a cupcake batter for Black Forest Chocolate Cupcakes.

Rather than creaming together butter and sugar at the start, you just mix together melted butter and sugar. Why is this better. Firstly, it’s quicker (no waiting for butter to come to room temp and then beating it for 5 minutes with sugar) and secondly it actually helps keep the cupcakes super moist.

Mixing a cupcake batter in a metal bowl.
Adding milk to cupcake batter in a metal bowl.

The rest of the batter is mixed together as normal – adding eggs, dry ingredients and buttermilk

Portioning out chocolate cupcake batter then cutting holes in the tops of baked cupcakes.

I portion my batter out in these silicone muffin trays, using a medium ice cream scoop – so easy and less mess. Then I use a cupcake corer to cut a perfect hole in the top but you could certainly just use a sharp knife.

Filling the holes in cupcakes with cherry jam.

The quick cherry jam

I filled the inside of the cupcake with a simple homemade cherry jam but you can feel free to use a good quality store-bought jam to save on time.

That sweet creamy topping is cream cheese frosting. Simple to make and so, so good. Cream cheese frosting always works perfectly when combined with tart flavours, like the cherries. Just try my Easy Baked Cheesecake with Fresh Cherry Sauce for more proof.

Best cream cheese frosting EVER!!

This cream cheese frosting is a little different from the normal. It is made Ermine style. If you’ve read many of my posts, you know I’m addicted to something called Ermine buttercream and if you’ve never heard of it, it’s basically the creamiest, silky smooth and light frosting ever! So I have no problem saying this is the Best Cream Cheese Frosting EVER!! The caps are definitely required there.

Cooking the base for ermine buttercream in a small saucepan.
Beating together ingredients for ermine buttercream in a metal mixing bowl.

The main difference with this type of frosting is it starts with a base of flour and milk cooked together. Once cooled, this thick paste is mixed into the butter, cream cheese and sugar. I add some of the sugar into the flour paste and the rest straight into the butter. This means some of the sugar is already dissolved and the sugar in the butter helps with creaming it.

Making the flour paste takes only 5 minutes but you will need to wait for it to cool. The mixture gets beaten for a good 7-8 minutes in total. So, yes, this takes a little longer but I pinky promise, it’s so worth it. See the substitutions list below, if you’re not up for it.

Ermine frosting requires less sugar so is lighter on calories too – total luck as I couldn’t care less about that. I make it purely for the texture and flavour. It’s soft and fluffy, a little like whipped cream and not sickeningly sweet like a traditional buttercream.

Substitutions

While I think these are perfect just as they are, here are some other options if you want to save on time or some ingredients are not available.

  • Use frozen cherries instead of fresh ones to top the cupcakes so you can make them any time of year.
  • You could swap the homemade cherry jam for a store-bought version
  • The ermine cream cheese frosting is super creamy and perfection but if you want to save a little time, make a regular cream cheese frosting using this recipe.

How to store them

  • Fridge: Keep the cupcakes in an airtight container for 4-5 days. Take out 30-40 minutes before serving to bring them to room temp
  • Freezer: You can freeze these chocolate cupcakes too, frosted or unfrosted. First, freeze them in an airtight container, then wrap them individually in plastic wrap, and return to an airtight container in the freezer. This method keeps them for a good 3-4 months. Thaw, unwrapped, in the fridge and bring to room temp before eating.

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A batch of chocolate and cherry topped cupcakes on a wooden board.

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Black Forest Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting have all the flavour of black forest cake in cupcake form and an irresistible Cream Cheese Frosting.

Black Forest Chocolate Cupcakes

4.19 from 11 votes
Black Forest Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting have all the flavour of black forest cake in cupcake form and an irresistible Cream Cheese Frosting.

Ingredients

FOR THE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

  • 130  plain (all purp) flour (1 cup / 4.5oz)
  • ½ cup  dutch processed cocoa (or plain unsweetened) (40g / 1.4oz)
  • ½ teaspoon  baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon  baking soda (bicarb)
  • ¼ teaspoon  salt
  • 113  unsalted butter, melted (½ cup / 1 stick)
  • ½ cup  caster (superfine) sugar (100g / 3.5oz)
  • ½ cup  dark brown sugar, packed (100g / 3.5oz)
  • eggs, room temp
  • teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup  buttermilk, room temp

FOR THE CHERRY JAM

  • 3 cups frozen cherries
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice (note 1)

FOR THE CREAMY CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plain (all purp) flour (note 1)
  • 113 g unsalted butter, softened (½ cup / 1 stick)
  • 250 g cream cheese, softened

TO FINISH

  • 100 g dark (50%) chocolate, finely chopped
  • cup cream
  • 12 fresh cherries (notes)

Equipment

Instructions
 

FOR THE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

  • Preheat your oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Line your muffin tins with paper cases.
  • In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well to combine.
  • In a separate bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the melted butter and both sugars until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl each time and beating well after each. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.
  • Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar. Stir through gently until just combined. Now add half of the buttermilk, Mix gently again. Continue like this until all the flour and buttermilk is combined… just. It is important not to overmix or be too heavy-handed otherwise your cupcakes will turn out dense and tough.
  • Fill the cupcake cases only to about ⅔ full. Bake in the oven for around 18-20 minutes, turning the pan around in the oven halfway through to make sure they bake evenly. When a toothpick inserted comes out with just a crumb or two, they are done.
  • Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

FOR THE CHERRY JAM

  • In a saucepan over low heat, combine all ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t catch, for around 20 minutes or until the liquid has almost disappeared. Allow to cool

FOR THE CREAMY CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together the milk, half of the sugar and the flour. Continue to heat and whisk regularly for another 3-4 minutes until you have a very thick paste (like glue).
  • Transfer it to a plate, spread it out to about 1cm thick, then cover it with plastic wrap pressing the plastic wrap to the surface. Place in the freezer for around 25 minutes until cool (not cold or frozen, but no longer warm).
  • Beat the butter and remaining sugar on medium for about 5 minutes or until very light and creamy – scrape down the sides of the bowl every so often.
  • Add the cream cheese and beat until combined and smooth (only about 1 minute). Now add the milk paste mixture ⅓ at a time, beating for about 30 seconds between each. On the last one, beat for a minute, still on medium. Again, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times.

TO FINISH

  • Place the cherry jam into a plastic piping bag and chop off the end. Pipe around a teaspoon into the holes of each cupcake.
  • Transfer the cream cheese frosting to a piping bag and pipe onto the top of your cupcakes. Place in the fridge while you make the ganache.
  • Place the chocolate in a small heatproof dish. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over low heat until its bubbling, then pour it over the chocolate. Give the dish a gentle shake so all the chocolate is submerged. Leave for a few minutes, then stir to a smooth glossy ganache. Transfer to a small squeeze bottle and squeeze gently over the top of your cupcakes, letting some drizzle down the side. Place in the fridge to set for 1/2 an hour before topping with cherries and serving.

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
  2. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  3. You can substitute frozen cherries for the fresh ones on top.
  4. I definitely recommend trying this version of cream cheese frosting as it’s super light and creamy but if you want a more traditional one, try this one.
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