Hi! Welcome to my blog. I am a major foodie, with a haphazard cooking philosophy, currently making that transition from cooking and baking for friends and family to 'wonder if I could make this my career'. Follow me for recipes, the outcomes of a few experiments, and general lovely foodiness. Opinions, reviews and recommendations are all my own.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Black Forest Cupcakes

I'm off to Brussels for a few days for work this week, which means three bake-free days (boo) and a lot of networking (boo again). In the interest of making sure that Gary doesn't suffer too much from cake-withdrawal in my absence, I offered to bake him something to keep his sugar levels up, to which he replied that he wanted a Black Forest Gateaux. After explaining that this might not be the best bake, considering the fresh cream would prevent it from keeping well, we compromised on a "black forest flavoured" alternative. Basically, as long as it had cherries and chocolate I was onto a winner! 

Black Forest Gateaux, Cupcake, Cherry, Cherries, Grenadine
Black Forest Cupcake

I started with my absolute go-to chocolate cake recipe as a base for these cupcakes, and started to raid the cupboards for additions to make up the Black Forest elements. The flavourings here might be a little unconventional for any fresh cream and cherry purists out there, but I can promise that this recipe makes 12 sweet, fruity and yet chocolaty, perfect little cupcakes.

I have used maraschino, or glace cherries in this recipe over fresh ones, firstly because that happens to be what I had to hand, but secondly as I wanted the sweetness of the cherry syrup to cut through my dense rich chocolate cake. I have further enhanced the fruit flavour by adding Grenadine, a non-alcoholic fruit flavoured syrup mostly used in cocktails. Whilst not necessarily made from cherries, (my bottle has raspberries and strawberries on the label, although traditionally Grenadine is made from pomegranate or blackcurrants) the sweet syrup complements the flavours of the maraschino cherries and works well in these cupcakes. You could omit the Grenadine from this recipe if you didn't have any, and use the syrup from the jar of maraschino cherries instead. 


For the cupcakes;

50 grams dark muscovado sugar
25 grams good quality cocoa powder (I use Green and Black's)
125 ml boiling water
1 tablespoon Grenadine
65 grams unsalted butter
75 grams caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
115 grams plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda
12 maraschino cherries

For the vanilla buttercream frosting;

250 grams unsalted good quality butter
500 grams icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

To decorate;

cocoa powder
12 maraschino cherries


Sift the cocoa powder into a mixing bowl, and add the dark muscovado sugar. Pour over the boiling water, and whisk to form a syrup. Add the tablespoon of Grenadine, mix again, and set aside. 

In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy, then add the caster sugar and beat again until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla extract, and mix well. Gradually pour in the cocoa mixture, whisking continuously, and stir until all the ingredients are well combined. Use a spatula, and make sure there is no butter left on the bottom of the bowl. 

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, and add the baking powder and bicarb of soda. Mix well. Add the flour mixture to the batter, and fold in. You will have quite a loose runny mixture once it is all combined. 

Divide the mixture between 12 cupcake cases. Take the 12 maraschino cherries, and chop each one roughly into quarters, sprinkling the pieces across the top of each of the cupcakes. 

Bake the cakes at 180 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes, until they are springy to the touch. Remove from the oven, and cool completely on a cooling rack. 

To make the buttercream frosting, beat the butter in a large bowl until creamy, then gradually add the icing sugar, a little at a time. Add the vanilla extract and the milk around halfway through, then continue until all the icing sugar has been incorporated. The mixture should have a whipped cream-like consistency. 

Finally, to decorate the cupcakes when cool, transfer the buttercream to a piping bag, and pipe swirls onto of each of the cupcakes.

Dust the top of each with a little cocoa powder, place a whole maraschino cherry on the top, and drizzle a little of the Grenadine over. (I did this by pouring a bit at a time into a 1/4 teaspoon measure and then drizzling from there in order to not pour too much at once). 

The finished cupcakes are rich and chocolaty on the bottom, with a hint of cherry, and then topped with a light buttercream, and a sweet drizzle of fruit from the Grenadine running through... mmmm...

I am entering these cupcakes into this month's Tea Time Treats, hosted by Lavender and Lovage, and What Kate Baked, where the theme this month is Fairy Cakes, Cupcakes and Muffins


  1. These look amazing I love black forest as a flavour there is something about it that just sends me back to my childhood. I am definitely going to have to give this a go. Thanks for sharing and I hope Brussels wasn't to boring for you :)

    1. Thanks Emma! They do really taste of Black Forest and keep better because there's no cream, not that they will last that long in our house whilst I'm away!!!

  2. Ooo these sound so yummy! Hope you are having a nice time in Brussels!

    1. Thanks Kat, I had fresh waffles for breakfast today, it really doesn't matter what else happens now! :-)

  3. you have totally just baked something i have been thinking about for a while....spooky. They look fab.
    My idea was to stick with the whipped cream topping myb use some sort of cherry jam in the middle....my base was gonna be choc mudcake cupcake....its a working progress. x

    1. Sounds delicious ! Fresh cream is always my first choice, but it just wasn't an option as these had to last. Can't wait to see what you come up with :-)

  4. Gary is one lucky guy to be left with these when you headed away! How was your trip? Hopefully you enjoyed lots of yummy chocolate in Belgium... Thank you for entering these into TTT!

    1. Hehe he does get well provided for in the cake department! Suitcase is full of lovely chocolate treats now! :-)

  5. I'm not a huge fan of cherries but I absolutely love a good black forest cake. The cupcake form definitely wins me over! Hope you had a good time in Brussels.

    1. Thank you! Brussels was OK! I managed to get away from the conference for long enough to find chocolates and waffles so all is well with the world! Glad to be back in my kitchen now though x


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