Whether you call them Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes or vegan black forest cupcakes, these soft & fluffy cherry-filled cupcakes are SO delicious! They contain a homemade cherry purée that is mixed into the cupcake batter & added to the center of the cupcakes.
This summer I am ALL about the cherry recipes. Just a few weeks ago I posted my new favorite Roasted Cherry Pineapple Popsicles and, since then, I can't get enough of adding cherries to desserts.
As with that recipe, I decided to use dark sweet cherries because of their slightly sweet and slightly tart flavor. To bring it all together these cupcakes get topped with vegan vanilla buttercream for the best cherry dessert!
How to make chocolate cherry cupcakes
Making these vegan chocolate cherry cupcakes involves three simple steps.
First, make the cherry purée:
This cherry purée is super easy to make and contains only 4 ingredients: dark red cherries, organic sugar, water, and vanilla bean paste. P.S- here is the cherry pitter I used and highly recommend!
Simply add all the ingredients to a saucepan, stir and bring to a simmer, and then cook for 10-15 minutes until the mixture is bubbling and has thickened a bit. Then, remove from the heat and let cool completely before adding to a blender. Check out the video in this post to reference the texture of the purée after blending.
Once blended, set aside to be used as filling in the cupcake batter and as the cherry filling.
Make the chocolate cherry cupcake batter:
Once the puree is ready, gather the cupcake ingredients. I make most of my cupcake recipes without any egg replacement so that they contain very easy-to-find ingredients!
First, sift together the dry ingredients in a small bowl. While I prefer to make most of my cupcake recipes in one bowl when it comes to cocoa powder I ALWAYS sift it with the other dry ingredients first. This helps to avoid any large clumps of cocoa forming in the batter.
Then, add all the wet ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Pour in the dry ingredients and gently whisk together JUST until a thick batter forms and all streaks of flour are gone.
It's super important not to overmix cake/cupcake batter or you will form too much gluten and the cupcakes will not be light and airy.
Add the cupcakes to a muffin tin filled with cupcake liners and fill each cupcake liner until ⅔ full of batter. Don't fill too high or the cupcakes will rise too far out of the liner.
Then bake at 350F for 20-22 minutes. Remove the cupcakes and let them cool on a dry rack completely before frosting.
P.S- due to the baking soda interacting with the anthocyanin in the cherries (gives them their red color) the batter may turn a dark green after sitting too long. However, this isn't anything to worry about as the cupcakes bake up a dark black color!
Make the vegan vanilla buttercream frosting
When I first tested these vegan black forest cupcakes, I tried making a frosting with the cherry purée mixed in and didn't love them. The frosting turned a weird purple color and honestly even looked a little fake (even though it was entirely natural!).
So, I decided to make a simple vanilla buttercream frosting instead!
I've made this vanilla buttercream many times before, most notably in my Vegan Cookie Cake and my Vegan Lemon Cupcakes, so I know it's good!
To make the frosting first cream together the vegan butter and vegan shortening until it is smooth and no clumps remain. Then, add in the vanilla and beat another 30 seconds. Lastly, add in the powdered sugar gradually and mix it in at a low speed until you reach the desired sweetness.
Then, use a piping bag to pipe each vegan black forest cupcake with vanilla frosting and add an optional cherry on top for fun!
FAQ & Substitutions:
I personally haven't tried it, but if you do I would recommend using a 1:1 GF flour such as Bob's Red Mill GF flour.
I also haven't tried it, but it should work! I would recommend coconut sugar or maple sugar. Keep in mind, using coconut sugar will make these cupcakes significantly less sweet! Also, make sure to only use a granulated sugar replacement.
This batter is meant to be made with the cherry purée and would not work without it. However, if you're looking for plain chocolate muffins/cupcakes, I recommend checking out my Vegan Chocolate Muffin Recipe instead!
Yes! The grams will differ so you will need to sub the all-purpose flour 1:1 for volume (aka in cups). Also, if using pastry/cake flour, do not use cornstarch. Instead, replace the cornstarch with 2 Tbsp of pastry/cake flour. 1 cup of pastry flour is typically equal to 120 grams.
While I usually hate storing cupcakes in the fridge, these cupcakes are so moist that they can survive 1-2 days stored in the fridge without drying out if stored in a closed container. However, cupcakes will store best in the freezer and can keep up to 1 month.
I truly hope you all love these soft & fluffy Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes with a cherry purée filling & vanilla buttercream frosting! With tons of cherry flavor, they are sure to be your new favorite summer treat. Enjoy!
Looking for more vegan cupcake & cake recipes? Check out these SGTO favorites!
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Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Cherry Purée Ingredients
- 1 ½ cups dark red cherries pitted and halved, measure after pitting and slicing
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste optional but recommended
- 2 tablespoon water
Chocolate Cherry Cupcake Batter
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder sifted, sift after measuring
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup almond milk or any plant-based milk such as oat, rice, soy
- ½ cup cherry purée made above
- ⅓ cup organic sugar
- ¼ cup olive oil
Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- ½ cup vegan butter
- ⅓ cup shortening can be subbed 1:1 for more vegan butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 - 1 ½ cups powdered sugar measured then sifted, use more if needed
First make the cherry purée
- Add the sliced and pitted cherries, sugar, vanilla bean paste, and water to a small saucepan and stir over low heat. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes until most of the cherry juice has been released, the cherries have softened, and the mixture is bubbling.
- Remove from the heat. Then, add the mixture to a small blender and blend for 10-15 seconds until well-combined with some chunks remaining. Pour into a bowl and let sit to thicken and cool.
Make the Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350F and fill a muffin tin with 8-10 cupcake liners.
- Next, add all of the dry ingredients to a small mixing bowl including the all-purpose flour, sifted cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Then, sift together with a fork until well-mixed and set aside.
- In a separate larger mixing bowl add in the wet ingredients including the almond milk, blended and cooled cherry purée, sugar, and olive oil. Gently mix together.
- Next, add in the sifted dry ingredients and mix together JUST until a thick batter forms and no large streaks of flour remain. It's important not to overmix cupcake batter or too much gluten will form and cupcakes will not be as fluffy.
- Pour the cupcake batter into the cupcake liners and tap the pan on the table to remove any large air bubbles. Then, add to the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes until cooked through.
- Remove the muffins from the tin and let cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, cut a small hole out of the top of each cupcake (do not cut the hole all the way through to the bottom) and add in a little bit of cherry purée. This step is completely optional so only do so if you like filled cupcakes.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, make the frosting. First add the vegan butter and shortening to a mixing bowl and whip together with an electric mixer until no clumps remain. Then, add in the vanilla bean and whip together for another 30 seconds.
- Gradually add in the powdered sugar ¼ cup at a time until the desired sweetness is reached. I prefer 1 cup of powdered sugar for this recipe, but feel free to add more or less to your liking. Once all the powdered sugar has been mixed in, whip the frosting another 1-2 minutes until fluffy.
- Add the frosting to a piping bag. If the frosting seems too soft, add the piping bag full of frosting to the fridge for 5 minutes to help it firm up. Then, pipe the frosting onto the cherry-filled cupcakes. Serve with a cherry on top and enjoy!
- Extra cherry purée can be stored in a closed container in the fridge and will keep for 2-3 days.
- Since these cupcakes are so moist, they will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days in a closed container. However, they do store best in the freezer and will keep for 1 month in a closed container.
- In the US Shortening is typically called Palm Oil. It is softer than vegan butter and solid at room temperature, leading to a softer lighter frosting. However, it can be subbed 1:1 for vegan butter in any of my frosting recipes.
Can I replace part of the oil with applesauce or yoghurt?
Megan Horowitch says
Maybe! I find oil makes these cupcakes really light and fluffy and haven't personally tried any alternatives.
Hi! Did you try making with frozen cherries? They are more readily available for me.
Megan Horowitch says
I have not tried that, however it should work. Use the same amount of cherries, but just skip the water in the cherry purée ingredients as you'll get some extra liquid from frozen fruit. you'll also have to make sure the cherries are already pitted!
Do you think this would work well with a blueberry purée? I just bought a ton of blueberries...
Megan Horowitch says
I don't see why not! It will definitely change the color of the cupcakes (the really dark black color is because of the red cherries), but flavor wise I think it would be awesome If you try it please share how it goes 🙂 I also have recipe for Earl Grey Cupcakes with blueberry frosting here that may be of interest: https://shortgirltallorder.com/vegan-earl-grey-cupcakes-with-blueberry-lemon-frosting and you can search blueberry in the search bar for more blueberry ideas!