Thursday, March 6, 2014

Black Forest Cupcakes

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I can tell it's going to be one of those days that just sort of drags on. I basically started counting down to my department's weekly 4 PM coffee hour as soon as I got to my desk this morning. Usually, I can tell what kind of day it will be by how early in the day I realize that it's Thursday and therefore, coffee hour day. On a good day, I make it to 3:45 and then remember "oh man! Thursday! Awesome!." On the less-than-great days, I realize that it is Thursday immediately and begin the 6 hour countdown. Ooof.

In honor of coffee hour, I'm bringing out another recipe that I made for one of our department functions - in this case, the MatSci holiday party. As much as I like making complicated, homemade recipes, sometimes I really just want to make things from a box. There's no better way to handle dessert if you're cooking for a crowd, especially a not-very-discerning crowd (aka a department of people who will eat just about anything) than dumping a bag of mix into a bowl and throwing in some eggs and water. There is no shame in this, as boxed cakes and brownies are almost as good as the real thing with a fraction of the effort. Fancied up cake mixes (e.g. adding pudding, chocolate chips, and the like) are one of the easiest ways to take something simple and give it a little bit of oomph.

This black forest cupcake recipe comes from my first foray into making filled cupcakes. I really wanted to make a simple, cherry-filled cupcake. Most every recipe on the interwebs seemed to have a compote component, unnecessary chopping, or nonsense like this involved. That sort of defeats the whole purpose of making something easy, no?

I decided to go semi-homemade here, and the resulting recipe is as easy as it gets. Cake mix. Pie filling. A little mixing to make a super simple whipped cream frosting. The results are amazing for how easy it is. You can say you made it from scratch. I won't tell. :)

Black Forest Cupcakes

Cupcake recipe/filling: S&C original
Frosting from Hoosier Homemade

1 package devil's food cake mix (preferably with pudding in the mix or if not, add a small box (~3.4 oz) of chocolate pudding yourself)
20 oz can of cherry pie filling

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Red sprinkles and cocoa powder (optional, but awesome)



1. Line a regular-sized cupcake tin with baking cups. Prepare cake mix as recommended on the box. Pour into cupcake liners, and bake as directed. Let cool completely.
2. Using a knife or a cupcake corer, remove the center of each cupcake. (See my tutorial if you need help) KEEP THE REMOVED CUPCAKE CENTERS. You will put them on top of the cherries to prevent the filling and frosting from mixing and turning pink.
3. Fill each cupcake with about 1 tablespoon of cherry pie filling (2-3 cherries worth of filling). Gently press down on the filling to get it further into the cupcake.
4. Place the cupcake center removed in step 2 on top of the filling, and press it gently into place. It is okay if it sticks up a little bit.


1. Pour whipping cream into a large mixing bowl, and beat on medium until it starts to thicken.
2. With the mixer running, add powdered sugar 1 tbsp at a time. Once all the powdered sugar has been added, beat on high until stiff peaks form, being careful not to overbeat the mixture.
3. Fold in vanilla extract.
4. Using a piping bag with a large tip (2A or 1A) or a gallon-sized ziploc bag with the corner cut off, pipe the frosting into a swirl on top of each cupcake. Top with red sprinkles and cocoa powder. Keep cold until ready to use to maintain integrity of the frosting.

Note: I would recommend making these at most one day prior to their consumption, as the cake will absorb some of the cherry filling overnight. You don't want them to get soggy!

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