Gluten Free Black Forest Cupcakes

Growing up, my Omi (grandmother) made a traditional Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte or what we call a Black Forest Cake.  The cake featured sour cherries soaked in a cherry brandy known as Kirschwasser.  She then topped the cake with whipped cream, cherries, and fresh chocolate shavings. She learned this recipe from a tenant who was a baker back when they used to rent out rooms from their row home in Queens. Over the years her cake became legendary and no celebration was complete without it.  I still remember the last time I was able to eat some of her delicious cake.  If I would have known it was the last time I would have hounded her for the recipe.  She never wrote it down.  She always baked from her “head and heart.”

For Bryce’s birthday my husband wanted to recreate Omi’s cake for Bryce’s birthday. Problem? We needed it to be gluten free and we wanted a cupcake version, not a cake.  We decided to use Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix for the base to make the preparation easier and less time consuming.

The recipe below is the result. Gorgeous to look at and even more delicious when bit into, this recipe allows Gluten Free people the opportunity to experience Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte in the form of a cupcake and utilizes a gluten free cake mix for the sponge base.




  • 1 – 15oz box of Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ cup of cherry juice (can use juice from tart cherries)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup of butter) softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp of Kirschwasser


  • 1 can of sour cherries
  • 1/3 cup of cherry juice (you can use the juice from the sour cherries or other cherry juice)
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup Kirschwasser


  • 3 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 packet (0.25 oz) plain gelatin
  • 3 Tbsp cold water
  • 3 Tbsp Kirschwasser
  • 1 cup of chocolate shavings
  • fresh cherries



  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Prepare muffin baking pan with liners.
  3. Cream butter until smooth with electric mixer.
  4. Add eggs one at a time and mix.
  5. Add kirschwasser, water, and cherry juice.  Mix to combine.
  6. Add Gluten Free Cake Mix to the wet batter and blend with electric mixer until combined.
  7. Pour batter into liners (about ¾ full)
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
  9. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack


  1. Drain juice from the cherries.
  2. Add cherry juice and sugar to a pot and bring to a simmer while whisking.
  3. Add cornstarch and whisk until combined.  If you cannot get the cornstarch incorporated, then add to a blender and blend until combined.
  4. Add cherries and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat, stir in Kirschwasser.  Allow filling to come to room temperature before using.


  1. Place water in small pot and sprinkle with gelatin. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.  Whisk the gelatin and water in the pot and heat on low whisking until the gelatin is dissolved.  Remove from heat.
  2. In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the whipping cream on medium high speed until in starts to thicken.
  3. Add powdered sugar and Kirschwasser.  Whisk and taste.  Some people like their frostings sweet and others less sweet.  I provided a rough range for the powdered sugar to allow you to tweak the recipe to your liking.
  4. Continue to whisk at medium high speed until the cream begins to get fluffy.
  5. Slowly add gelatin while whisking until incorporated.



    1. Cut a small hole out of the middle of the cupcake.  Save the top of our cut out.
    2. Spoon about 1 Tbsp of filling into each cupcake and replace top.
    3. Ice with frosting.
    4. Sprinkle on chocolate shavings and top with a cherry.
    5. Refrigerating the cupcakes will allow the frosting to slightly stiffen and allow the frosting to look and behave a little like a buttercream frosting.



  • The gelatin will allow the cupcake frosting to set up and stiffen.  This is a great trick for keeping your whipped cream frostings looking perfect.



3 thoughts on “Gluten Free Black Forest Cupcakes

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