I used to think that I didn’t like black forest cake, but it turns out, I just don’t like bad black forest cake!
Growing up, I had only been exposed to the soggy versions containing bitter chocolate cake, too-sweet cherry filings, and never enough of that whipped cream frosting for my liking.
I’m glad I decided to give these black forest cupcakes a fair chance because they perfectly balance bittersweet chocolate with real cherry flavour, and definitely have enough homemade vanilla whipped cream frosting to keep me happy.
My favourite part of developing my own version of any classic recipe is to research and understand the history behind the food, and I was surprised to find out that Black Forest Cake is supposed to contain cherry flavoured liqueur, specifically Kirsh made in the Black Forest mountain range in Germany.
It is supposed to be a bitter, boozy cake enjoyed strictly by adults after a traditional German supper, with just a light touch of sweetness from the homemade whipped cream.
Because I wanted to skip the cherry filling in my version, I made a few of these black forest cupcakes “for grown-ups” by pouring a generous tablespoon (or two) of cherry liqueur over a few of the cupcakes before topping with the whipped cream frosting, and left the rest of the cupcakes without alcohol.
Now, I made my cake batter and frosting from scratch, but you really can take a few shortcuts with this recipe:
- Use a cake mix but substitute out some of the wet ingredients for a bit of cherry juice, cherry extract, or even cherry pie filling
- Use a pre-made whipped cream or whipped cream-type topping for the frosting
I had zero interest in shaving chocolate for the toppings, so I used pure chocolate sprinkles and some fresh cherries to garnish. Even a dollop of cherry pie filling would be cute.
For a twist, you can also fill the cupcakes with a bit of cherry pie filling by coring the cooked and cooled cupcakes with this coring tool and spooning in a bit of filling, but I prefer stiffer fillings in cupcakes since most people tend to bite right into them and not use a fork (and as a result might drip some of that filling onto their clothes).