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!
Black Forest Cupcakes
- 8 medium egg whites
- 200g super fine sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 200g all-purpose flour (minus 3 Tbsp)
- 3 Tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 8 medium egg yolks
- 1 Tbsp Kirschwasser
- 680g jar of sour cherries in juice, divided
- 1/3 cup cherry juice from the jar
- 3 Tbsp corn starch
- 45g super fine sugar
- 1/4 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 3/4 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 1/3 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!
Recipe slightly adapted from Bavarian Kitchen .
Amount Per Serving Calories 0Total Fat 0g
Saturday 6th of February 2016
Hi there! These cupcakes look absolutely beautiful and delicious. However, I have a few questions or, I guess, things I noticed about the filling recipe. First of all, did you really use 3Tb of cornstarch to thicken 1/3C of juice, or is it possibly a typo? 1Tb of cornstarch will typically thicken 1 whole cup of liquid into a very thick sauce. I gave this a shot last night and 3Tb of cornstarch thickened my cherry juice into nearly a solid brick. Not to mention - I should have known, but it's nearly impossible to add dry cornstarch into a hot liquid - it instantly solidifies into tiny starch clumps. Maybe whisk some of the cherry juice in to make a slurry? Just a few suggestions to make this part of the recipe more user-friendly. Thanks!
Wednesday 9th of December 2015
Ooh-la-la! (to add a little French to your German recipe... Achtung didn't seem to cut it, and I believe in Germany they adopt French phrases too?) This looks like the perfect recipe for next week, and I happen to have too many egg whites on hand as I've been making homemade pasta with an extra yolk. Forgive me if I missed this but you say "dark" cocoa powder, yet your batter seems not that dark. I have some "double dutch" cocoa, I think it's Hershey's special dark, which is nearly black. That is the color I tend to associate with Black Forest, but maybe that's the American perspective. I am possibly going to do a mix of 2/3 special dark to 1/3 natural and see how it goes. That dark cocoa, I love with the black-bottom cupcakes with the cream cheese inside. Can't wait!
Friday 11th of December 2015
Hi! You're right, the batter isn't very dark... but that's due to the amount of egg whites that are in the batter. They lightened it up significantly. I typically use the Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder in all my baking, so if you use that... you'll be good! Happy baking!
Monday 19th of October 2015
Hi Betsy! I just love your recipes! I was wondering about the sour cherries. I can find canned or jarred sour cherries in either a sugar water or syrup but no juice. Does it make a difference as to which one is used? Thank you for all your help!
Monday 26th of October 2015
Hi Michelle, Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner... I was in Rome all last week and am just not getting to emails and comments on the blog! So, as for the cherries, I don't think it really matters much which you use as long as they are the sour cherries. The cherries themselves are the key... not necessarily what they are soaking in. I used the cherries in juice because that's what I had access to... you can use what you have available to you. Let me know how it all turns out! Happy baking!
Tuesday 1st of September 2015
this just taste delicious :D but my problem is that the cupcake itself that i baked is dry and i dont know where i got wrong.
Tuesday 1st of September 2015
Hi Phil! Sorry to hear about your cake being dry. The only thing I can think of is that maybe the German version of moist is different than the American. German cakes are typically a bit drier and less sugary than American cakes. Next time, try spooning some kirsch liquor over the top of the cupcake before you fill them with cherry to add a bit of moisture in the cake. Thanks for reaching out with the feedback and happy baking!
Thursday 12th of March 2015
Is there any substitution for the Kirschwasser (cherry brandy) that is appropriate for those under 15?
Thursday 12th of March 2015
The entire point of these cupcakes is that they are authentic German Black Forest Cupcakes... meaning they aren't appropriate for anyone you don't want to consume alcohol. Sorry!