During my high school years we had family picnics as often as we could during the summer. Baked beans, hot dogs, salad, fruit, homemade ice cream – all the good stuff. One of my favorite picnic desserts was the chocolate cake Aunt Carol would often bring. A single round layer, covered in whipped cream, sprinkled with cinnamon and dotted with cherries. Simple, delicious, and light, it stuck in my mind. Many years later I’m re-creating it in these Black Forest Cupcakes!
The cupcakes themselves are a simple one bowl dark chocolate cake recipe. Last year my husband asked me to give him a cake recipe that he could make for my birthday without a lot of baking experience. I handed him The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe from Robyn at Add a Pinch which I had made several times myself, and suggested he make it as two single layers with whipped cream, cinnamon and cherries for nostalgia’s sake. It was a huge hit and we all loved it!
The first time I made Robyn’s cake recipe I noticed that it used boiling water. The only other time I’ve seen that is in my Mom’s chocolate cake recipe that she passed down to me so I pulled out my copy and compared the two. They are almost identical! It looks like both may be descendants of the Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe. I decided to combine the two for my own version! The logical next step is to make cupcakes, which leads us to Black Forest Cupcakes.
You will definitely want to top these Black Forest Cupcakes with freshly whipped cream. If you haven’t done it before give it a shot – it’s easier than it seems. I added a step and stabilized my cream so it pipes nicely and will hold its shape for days. There are a number of different ways to stabilize cream but I like using gelatin. If you’re not sure of your piping skills (I’m a piping newbie) check out this video on Glorious Treats for a quick tutorial.
Pop a fresh cherry on top and sprinkle with cinnamon for a beautiful and delicious treat! The dark chocolate of the cupcakes combines beautifully with the lightly sweetened cream to create a light texture and plenty of flavor.
I like to make these all year, so in the winter when fresh cherries aren’t available substitute canned cherries that are drained and patted dry. To get a lovely light dusting of cinnamon I use a salt shaker filled with cinnamon powder to get the look. I hope you love these as much as we do!
Black Forest Cupcakes
- 2 cups (260g) flour
- 2 cups (345g) sugar
- 3/4 cup (75g) cocoa powder (dark chocolate)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (125ml) oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (250ml) buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup (250ml) boiling water
- STABILIZED CREAM
- 2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
- 2 1/4 tsp plain gelatin
- 8 tsp cold water
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C) and put 24 cupcake liners into muffin pans.
Put all the dry ingredients into the bowl of a mixer and combine.
Add everything except the boiling water and beat on medium for about a minute.
With the mixer on low and slowly add the boiling water and combine. The batter will be very thin!
Fill each liner with 1/4 cup of batter and bake for 18-22 minutes.
Let them sit for 5 minutes and then remove from the pans onto a cooling rack.
FOR THE CREAM:
Put the cold water into a small pan and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let it sit for 5 minutes until it starts to "bloom."
Heat up the mixture for a minute or two until the gelatin dissolves and remove from the heat.
Add the cream, sugar, and vanilla to a mixer bowl and whisk for one minute.
With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the gelatin into the cream and beat on high until it holds stiff peaks when the whisk is lifted out of the bowl.
Pipe the cream onto the cupcakes, sprinkle with cinnamon and top with a cherry.
++Adapted from Add a Pinch++If you don't have buttermilk (I rarely do) add a Tablespoon of lemon juice, fresh if possible, to a cup of milk and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to make your own++Use an extra salt shaker to get an even dusting of cinnamon++