Made with an authentic recipe & German ingredients, these Black Forest Cupcakes are a delicious alternative to the traditional Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte or Black Forest Cake of Germany!
You can’t be in Germany without eating Black Forest Cake at least once, if not dozens of times. For almost 100 years, this cake has been a favorite of Germans and chocolate & cherry lovers around the world.
The cake gets it’s name from the region it was created in, the Black Forest and features one of the areas biggest crops. Cherries! The Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte or Black Forest Cake is made with layers of chocolate cake filled with cherries soaked in a cherry brandy (Kirschwasser) and fresh whipped cream topped with cherries and chocolate shavings.
There is a mandate in Germany that states that if Kirschwasser is not used in this cake, it can not be called a Black Forest Cake. In fact, most people who make Black Forest Cakes or cupcakes in the United States aren’t actually making an authentic BFC. In the USA, a basic chocolate cake, canned cherry filling and whipped cream or buttercream frosting are typically used but are a poor substitute for what should really be in a Black Forest Cake.
The chocolate cake in an authentic Black Forest Cake is made with egg whites, very little chocolate and no butter. It’s not overly sweet, yet still rich, moist and full of flavor. The filling begins with sour cherries from the Black Forest region of Germany that have been soaked in a clear cherry brandy called Kirschwasser. And finally, the whipped cream is light, not too sweet and is garnished with chocolate shavings and a cherry.
A traditional cake is made in layers, but since I was transforming this recipe into a cupcake, I decided layers might not be so easy. To assemble these cupcakes, I cored the center of each cupcake with a small serrated knife (1). I then filled each hole in the cupcakes with the Kirschwasser soaked cherries until they were overflowing (2). Fresh whipped cream was piped onto the top of each cupcake then then rimmed with chocolate shavings (3). Finally, a fresh, locally grown cherry was placed on top of the whipped cream (4).
I shared these cupcakes with my next door neighbor is who German and she said they were her favorite dessert I’ve shared with her so far. And I’ve shared a lot of things! She said the flavor and texture were exactly how they were supposed to be… not overly sweet, full of that authentic Kirshwasser and cherry flavor. Yay! If I could impress my German friend with these, I know they’re a winner!
A note about the ingredients: The only ingredients that may be hard to find are the sour cherries and Kirshwasser. If you can’t find any of the clear liquor at your local store, try substituting a clear cherry brandy instead. They key here is to use a clear, cherry flavored liquor to soak the cherries in. As for the cherries themselves, DO NOT use cherry pie filling. Try finding sour cherries that are sold in a jar in cherry juice. You don’t want filling or any of the canned cherry pie goup on your cherries. These are two of the biggest mistakes made when Americans replicate this recipe.
With that being said, these cupcakes are OUT OF THIS WORLD amazing and I really hope you try them!
- 8 medium egg whites
- 200g super fine sugar
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 200g all-purpose flour (minus 3 Tbsp)
- 3 Tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 8 medium egg yolks
- 1 Tbsp Kirschwasser
- 680g jar of sour cherries in juice, divided
- ⅓ cup cherry juice from the jar
- 3 Tbsp corn starch
- 45g super fine sugar
- ¼ cup Kirschwasser
- 800ml heavy whipping cream, very cold
- 1 packet powder gelatin
- 3 Tbsp cold water
- 40g powdered sugar
- 3 Tbsp Kirschwasser
- 1 cup chocolate shavings
- 24 fresh cherries
- Disposable piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line 2 cupcake pans with liners.
- In a medium bowl, measure out 200g of flour. Remove 3 Tablespoons of flour and replace with 3 Tablespoons of the cocoa powder. Add the baking powder. Sift all three ingredients together two times. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks together with the Kirschwasser. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until it begins to foam. Add the cream of tartar and continue whipping.
- One Tablespoon at a time, add the sugar, mixing for 10-15 seconds between each addition.
- Continue to whip the eggs until glossy and stiff peaks have formed.
- Gently add the egg yolks and flour mixture to the whipped egg whites. Fold until combined but do not overmix and deflate the batter.
- Fill cupcake liners at least ¾ full. The cupcakes will puff up nicely, but will slightly deflate with cooled, so you want to make sure you get them pretty full with batter.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Cupcakes will feel very light and be fragile… handle with care!
- Drain the juice from the cherries into a bowl and set aside.
- Whisk together ⅓ cup of the cherry juice from the jar and the sugar in a large pan and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Add the corn starch and whisk until combined.
- Add the cherries and bring to a boil, gently stirring. Remove from the heat as soon as it begins to boil and thicken.
- Stir gently a few times to coat all the cherries. Pour in the Kirschwasser and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature and thicken.
- In a small sauce pan, whisk together the gelatin packet and cold water and let sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, heat pan on low and whisk until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the cold heavy cream. Begin to whip the cream on medium high speed. NOTE: You may need a splash guard because the cream will get EVERYWHERE if you whip too fast!
- Once the cream begins to get fluffy, slowly add powdered sugar. Mix in the kirschwasser and gelatin.
- Whip the cream until stiff then fill the piping bag with the whipped cream.
- Core the center of each cupcake using a knife with a serrated edge.
- Fill the hole generously with the cherry filling. It’s okay if it comes out the top!
- Pipe a single swirl onto the cupcake. Sprinkle chocolate shavings onto the edges of the swirl. Pipe one large, round dollop of frosting on top of that first swirl.
- Garnish with a fresh cherry.
- Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve! They will stay fresh for 2 days!