Black Forest Cupcakes - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Cake | Cakes & Cupcakes | Cupcakes

Black Forest Cupcakes

August 19th, 2016
4.77 from 13 votes
4.77 from 13 votes

These Black Forest Cupcakes feature soft, light, and moist chocolate cupcakes with a cherry filling and are topped with a homemade whipped cream.

Yield: 16 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Chocolatey with hints of cherry and the whipped cream is perfect!
Texture: Soft and light and the cherry filling is a fun surprise!
Ease: These cupcakes are a little time consuming, but definitely worth it.
Appearance:  The whipped cream, chocolate, and cherry on top of these cupcakes makes them so cute!
Pros: They taste amazing!
Cons: A little time consuming.
Would I make this again? Definitely!

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Please welcome Danielle from Live Well Bake Often as she shares this Black Forest Cupcake recipe! Be sure to check out her delicious blog for me! -Tessa

When I was growing up, my grandmother used to always bake a black forest cake for birthdays.  Although my family tends to celebrate birthdays with a cheesecake now days, black forest cakes have always held a special place in my heart.  So, I decided to transform her favorite cake into these adorable Black Forest Cupcakes.

I’ve made a lot of cupcakes, from lemon raspberry to pumpkin, but these Black Forest Cupcakes are one of my favorite creations so far.  Everything is made completely from scratch, even the cherry pie filling in the middle!

Black Forest Cupcakes

The base of these Black Forest Cupcakes starts with my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe.  Not only are the cupcakes soft and light, but they stay moist for days.  Can you tell from the picture how moist the cupcakes turn out?  Seriously, so good.  Once they’re baked and cooled, you’ll cut out the center and fill each one with some cherry filling.

Speaking of that cherry filling?  Making your own cherry pie filling at home is easy and it tastes a million times better than anything you can get out of a can.  In fact, I had my husband taste test the filling and he absolutely despises cherry filling from a can.  The verdict?  He actually really liked it!  I think you will too.

Black Forest Cupcakes

I used sweet red cherries in the filling, since I wanted to top the cupcakes with them as well.  You can easily use another type of cherry in this recipe, just adjust the amount of sugar to your personal preference.

One thing to note is that you’ll need to slice the cherries in half before measuring them out and making the filling.  I felt like the smaller pieces of cherries worked much better to fill the cupcakes, since some cherries can be kind of large.

Also, you will need to pit the cherries.  Does anyone else absolutely hate pitting cherries?  I don’t own a cherry pitter, but I actually use a sturdy plastic straw.  Just push the straw up through the center of the bottom of each cherry and it will remove the pit and stem.  So easy!

Black Forest Cupcakes

Lastly, there’s the homemade whipped cream.  There is some unflavored gelatin in the whipped cream recipe, but it’s just there to stabilize the whipped cream.  Have you ever noticed that whipped cream can sometimes fall flat after so long?  The gelatin helps to prevent that and keeps the piped whipped cream on top of your cupcakes perfectly in place for days.

If you don’t have any unflavored gelatin or prefer not to use it, you can simply leave it and the water out of the whipped cream recipe.  The whipped cream won’t hold up as long, but it will still taste just as good.  Enjoy!

4.77 from 13 votes

How to make
Black Forest Cupcakes

Yield: 16 cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
These Black Forest Cupcakes feature soft, light, and moist chocolate cupcakes with a cherry filling and are topped with a homemade whipped cream.


For the chocolate cupcakes:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

For the cherry filling:

  • 2 cups pitted and halved sweet cherries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the whipped cream:

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


To make the chocolate cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-count cupcake pans with 16 cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in the granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined. Add in the oil, egg, vanilla extract, and buttermilk and mix until just combined.
  3. Add the instant espresso powder into the boiling water and mix until dissolved, then add to the mixing bowl. Mix with the rest of the ingredients until well combined, making sure not to over mix the batter. The batter will be thin, this is okay.
  4. Evenly distribute the batter between all 16 cupcakes liners, making sure to only fill them a little over half way full. Bake at 350°F for 18-20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.

To make the cherry filling:

  1. Add the cherries, granulated sugar, lemon juice, water, and corn starch to a saucepan and mix until well combined. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool.

To make the whipped cream:

  1. Pour the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the unflavored gelatin on top. Allow to sit for a few minutes. Transfer to the microwave and microwave for a few seconds until the gelatin has dissolved. Stir well and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, add the heavy whipped cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla and mix on medium speed until it starts to thicken. Turn the mixer to low, slowly pour in the gelatin, then continue mixing at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.

To make the cupcakes:

  1. Once the cupcakes and cherry filling have cooled, use a knife to cut out a hole in the center of each cupcake. Scoop about 1-1.5 tablespoons of the cherry filling into each cupcake. Then pipe the whipped cream on top. Garnish with chocolate shavings and a cherry on top!

Recipe Notes

Chocolate cupcakes adapted from Hersheys and Stabilized Whipped Cream adapted from
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American

Danielle Rye
Author: Danielle Rye

Danielle is a self-taught baker and the blogger behind Live Well, Bake Often. She loves spending time in the kitchen creating new recipes to share with her readers as well as sharing tips to help them along the way. When she's not in the kitchen baking, she's usually spending time with her husband and three dogs.

Tessa Arias

About Danielle...

Danielle is a self-taught baker and the blogger behind Live Well, Bake Often. She loves spending time in the kitchen creating new recipes to share with her readers as well as sharing tips to help them along the way. When she's not in the kitchen baking, she's usually spending time with her husband and three dogs.

Find Danielle on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Cherise John — December 26, 2021 at 5:37 am

    The cupcakes were moist and delicious! Love this recipe

  2. #
    Tarsh — October 23, 2021 at 2:53 am

    I made these cupcakes for a birthday but found I will not be using the recipe to make them again. The cupcakes turned out OK, the cake mixture only made 9 cupcakes and the cake was a bit bitter. The cherry fully was OK but next time would follow a recipe that did not include cornflour. The whipped cream icing was superb and tasted and look fabulous. Am happy I gave this recipe ago, you don’t know till you try something out to see if you like it.

  3. #
    Cherie Wilson — September 20, 2021 at 7:17 am

    How long can these sit in frig before serving abs also how long can whipped topping last before serving. Can they be topped day before and in frig or day of serving and how long? Thanks.

    • #
      Emily — September 20, 2021 at 4:49 pm

      Hi Cherie! This is actually not a Handle the Heat recipe, it’s from a guest blogger Danielle, from the Live Well Bake Often blog. I’m sorry I can’t help with your questions, but HTH has not tested this recipe! This may need to be a post Tessa revisits in the future to redo.

  4. #
    Sarah Hyder — August 13, 2021 at 10:32 am

    Hey, these sound so yummy! I wanted to make some for a picnic but it’s really hot over here and will be about 85 degrees fahrenheit. Will the whipped cream melt in the outdoor weather if out for about 5 hours? I plan to make them the day before and refrigerate in an airtight container overnight.

    • #
      Emily — August 13, 2021 at 10:52 am

      Hi Sarah! Unfortunately the whipped cream will melt in the outdoor heat if the cupcakes are out that long, even though it is a stabilized whipped cream. Do you have the ability to keep them chilled while they’re outside (for example, ice packs underneath what they’re stored in) as well as keeping them out of the sun?

  5. #
    Akshita Narra — July 18, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    Simply delicious!! The cup cake itself is not too sweet, airy and perfectly moist. The filling was tasty and I couldn’t stop my 5 year old from eating it all by itself. I used corn starch to stabilize my whipped cream as I don’t eat gelatin. I used 1.5 table spoons of powdered sugar for each cup of heavy cream and the sweetness was just perfect for me. This will be my go to recipe for cupcakes during the cherry season.

    • #
      Tessa — July 19, 2021 at 10:37 am

      I’m so happy to hear you loved this recipe so much and that it’s now your go-to recipe!! You just made my day 🙂

    • #
      Sarah Hyder — August 13, 2021 at 10:36 am

      Hi did you still include water when you replaced gelatin with cornstarch?

      • #
        Naysha Sanyal — October 6, 2021 at 3:34 pm

        hi, im pretty sure that the cornstarch is used as a thickener, so i think you still add the water. 🙂

  6. #
    Lily — March 10, 2021 at 11:41 am

    I made these cupcakes this morning and they are delicious!! Thank you.

    • #
      Tessa — March 10, 2021 at 12:02 pm

      Great to hear that!

  7. #
    Stephanie — November 28, 2020 at 11:03 pm

    Oh my amazing! Made for a fundraiser and got so many compliments. Rich and super moist chocolate cupcakes. I didn’t have buttermilk so substituted cream and vinegar to make my own. Only had canned sour cherries, so made a filling with the juice from the can and left out the lemon juice as they were already tart. Perfect with the whipped cream topping including the unflavored gelatin. A keeper! Thanks!

  8. #
    Donna Raven — November 13, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Can the cheery filling be made ahead of time eg: the day before

  9. #
    ay gy — October 8, 2020 at 10:43 am

    i love it

  10. #
    L Newman — September 5, 2020 at 10:54 pm

    So I just made these for a friends birthday, he loves Black Forest cake and they were really good! I’ll definitely make them again.

    I had quite a bit of cherry filling left so I pimped up the cream by adding some of the cherry mix to it once whipped and it was delicious. I also used agar agar instead of gelatine and that worked well too.

  11. #
    Kay — August 25, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    These are so delicious. I just made them for a second time this week. They are very rich and will definitely satisfy the chocoholic in the group.

  12. #
    Julie Funkenhauser — June 12, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Hi Danielle!

    What kind of oil do you use for your recipe?

    Thank you!

  13. #
    Angela — April 10, 2020 at 6:24 am

    Literally perfect recipe!! I used canned cherry pie filling instead of the mix for the filling here and it was incredible! Cherries arent in season so I went the easy route. I ended up making the cupcakes without the espresso powder and they still came out extremely moist and delicious! Thanks for the amazing recipe!♡

  14. #
    Betty Yarbrough — January 8, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    Excellent!! Best chocolate cupcake I’ve made in 40 years of baking! Thank you!

  15. #
    Beverly — November 26, 2019 at 7:02 am

    You can buy Dr. Oetker’s Whip It (Stabilizer for Whipping Cream) at the grocery store. In my store it is near the jello and puddings. I have been using it for years. I usually bake a 3 layer cake and use cherry pie filling. Since it is the holiday I have limited space to store a large cake in the fridge so cupcakes are perfect. I am going to have a piping bag with whipped cream and the pie filling available and let people top their own cupcakes (grandkids are not fans of the cherries).

  16. #
    SD — July 22, 2019 at 8:43 am

    This was a super easy, and delicious, recipe to make!! Everyone loved them! The cupcake itself was so moist, and the filling was just right.

  17. #
    Vanessa York — July 10, 2019 at 8:56 am

    Hi there! I am planning on mkaing about 50 of these for my bestie’s wedding in August. Gonna do a test-run this coming weekend. I wondered if any of it could be made ahead of time and/or frozen… Do you think the filling can be made 2 dys ahead nd kept in the fridge? and the cupcakes baked ahead and frozen, then filled and frosted on the day before the wedding?

  18. #
    Ane — May 27, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    How to change the amount of soda and baking powder if using alkalized cacao instead of natural?


  19. #
    Sophie — October 28, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    I just made these and they are so good! Next time I’ll cut the cherry filling in half, I had a lot of leftovers. But the cupcakes had such amazing texture, definitely one of the best textures of cupcakes I’ve ever made, and great flavor. Thank you for the great recipe!

  20. #
    erika — November 6, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Is it possible to use kirsch in the cherry filling?

  21. #
    Nad — April 4, 2017 at 12:30 am

    Hi Danielle..I am thking of making these for my daughters international day at school as her class is representing Germany.I was thking of piping the whipped cream on the cupcakes at night so that I dont have to rush in the morning..will the whipped cream survive that long?

    • #
      Danielle Rye — April 4, 2017 at 5:17 am

      As long as you use the gelatin to stabilize the whipped cream, it will hold it’s shape. Hope you enjoy the cupcakes!

  22. #
    Gabby — February 14, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Hi Danielle i love the recipe however am a bit confused…whats the different between baking soda and bicarbonate of soda? I looked everywhere for a baking soda but i can’t find it i only find bicarbonate of soda. Is it the same thing?

    • #
      Danielle Rye — February 14, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      Hi, Gabby! They’re the same thing, just two different ways to refer to it. You can use it in this recipe 🙂

  23. #
    Amanda — November 17, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Hi Danielle! I’m planning on making this recipe tomorrow and was thinking of doing the frosting/piping on top a little differently. I’d like to pipe the whipped cream frosting around the edges and then add more of the cherry filling in the center on top. Do you think the frosting is sturdy enough to support that? And should I double the recipe for the cherry filling? Thanks in advance and thanks for a great recipe!

    • #
      Danielle Rye — November 17, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      The cherry filling is kind of thick, so I think that should be fine to do that. You can always test it out on a cupcake or two and see how it holds first. Also, I used about 1-1.5 tablespoons of the filling in each cupcake. If you want more than that on top of each one, then I would definitely double the cherry filling recipe too. Hope that helps!

  24. #
    Mariam — November 11, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Thank u soo much for such an amazing recipe once again..I made that the other day n everyone loved it!!!

    • #
      Danielle Rye — November 14, 2016 at 9:58 am

      That’s wonderful to hear, Mariam! I’ll keep your suggestion in mind too.

  25. #
    Mariam — November 3, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    Thank u so much for relplying!! Another question I have thickened cream n it has some little content of gelatine in I still need to add gelatine in it?? Or it won’t get flat without adding more gelatine as I’m going to bake a cake n don’t want my cream to go flat..I’m going to bake this on thursday will definitely update u with the result..thx again

    • #
      Danielle Rye — November 4, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      You’re welcome, Mariam! As far as your cream, I’m honestly not sure. The gelatin in this recipe is what really helps to keep the shape if you’re piping the whipped cream. It may be good to have some gelatin on hand if you’re planning to pipe some on the cake.

  26. #
    Mariam — November 2, 2016 at 11:59 am

    And also if I want to use this recipe to bake a cake which pan size shall I use??

    • #
      Danielle Rye — November 2, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      You can bake a single layer cake with this recipe. I use a 9″ cake pan and bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes.

  27. #
    Mariam — November 2, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Hi! The recipe looks yumm!! Just a quick one question can I use the frozen store bought cherries??the tart cherries??

    • #
      Danielle Rye — November 2, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      I think frozen cherries would be fine. I would increase the sugar just a bit, since I used sweet cherries for this recipe.

  28. #
    Taylor — October 8, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Hi there!

    I was wondering if there were an alternative to using espresso powder in this recipe. Espresso irritates my stomach and if I could find an alternative or omit it all together that would be ideal. How important is the espresso powder to the recipe?

    Thanks so much!

    • #
      Danielle Rye — October 8, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      Hi, Taylor! The espresso powder is just there to enhance the chocolate flavor, you can leave it out if you like. You could also replace the water and espresso powder with 1/2 cup of hot coffee, but just using 1/2 cup of boiling water will work fine.

  29. #
    Amal Aboud — August 21, 2016 at 12:00 am

    Hello….am loving this recipe! Looks easy to make and not a headache

    • #
      Danielle Rye — August 28, 2016 at 1:17 pm

      Hi Amal, so sorry for the delayed response I must have missed your comment! It may work with strawberries, but I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t say for sure how the filling would turn out. You could try filling them with strawberry jam or preserves? If you do try strawberries, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  30. #
    Debbie Caquias — August 19, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    I’m going to try this, once I go and get new baking powder and soda….thank you I think you may have solved my issue, all of a sudden none of my baking was turning out I couldn’t figure it out…I’m crossing my fingers it’s old levening. These look so yummy

    • #
      Danielle Rye — August 20, 2016 at 8:04 am

      I’d love to hear you like them if you give them a try, Debbie! You can also test your baking soda and baking powder at home to make sure they’re still fresh. Here’s a great post that explains how:

  31. #
    JRo — August 19, 2016 at 9:47 am

    how do you not have a cherry pitter?! every baker should have a pitter – i guarantee it’s easier than a straw. go order one!
    i’m a new subscriber to your blog and I am just LOVING all your recipes. Haven’t made one yet but I’m getting so many good ideas! Love it! Thanks!

    • #
      Danielle Rye — August 20, 2016 at 8:07 am

      Haha, maybe I do need to go buy one 🙂 I can never remember to just go buy one until I’m actually pitting cherries and realize how nice it would be to actually have one. I’m sure it’s definitely much sturdier than a straw!

      • #
        emily — July 10, 2020 at 4:02 am

        Hi, can I use can cherries instead of fresh cherries ?

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