Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cupcakes

in Cakes & Cupcakes, Cherries, Cherries & Berries, Chocolate, Fruit

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes

I’ve purchased a few bags of cherries this season but you probably wouldn’t know it. The Toddler and I are big fans of just eating them straight out of the bag. But what we did actually cook with, none of those recipes made it to our blog. Oh, they were good (especially the cherry margarita!). But when it came down to Eat or Shoot, we ate. So while I only have one single cherry recipe to show for all the cherries we’ve consumed, I made sure that it was a good one.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes

These cupcakes combine a few absolutely wonderful things:

Chocolate Cake – I’ve flip-flopped over the last few years on a favorite chocolate cake recipe. I’ve been torn between America’s Test Kitchen’s Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake and Martha Stewart’s Devil’s Food Cake. But with this last batch of cupcakes, I think it’s finally settled. Martha’s recipe is fluffy, moist, and gets a big dose of deep chocolatey flavor from dutch-process cocoa. To me, it’s the perfect chocolate cake.

Fresh Cherries – They’re covered in chocolate and baked into the center of the cupcake. They’re covered in chocolate and placed a top the cupcake. They’re minced and whipped into a fresh cherry swiss meringue buttercream. And they’re still available in stores!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting – it’s frosting. With fresh cherries. Enough said. Having problems with your swiss meringue buttercream? Read how to fix it here.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes

The recipe reads a mile long but it’s not as bad as it seems: You just have to make the chocolate-covered cherry centers, the cupcake batter, the frosting, and the chocolate-covered cherry toppers. Just 🙂

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes

Moist chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate-covered cherry center, topped with a fresh cherry swiss meringue buttercream frosting.


  • For the chocolate-covered cherries:
  • 36 fresh cherries
  • 6 oz chopped semi-sweet or dark chocolate, divided
  • For the cake:
  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp cups hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I use 0% Fage)
  • Baking spray
  • For the frosting:
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1/3 cup cherry puree (about 1 dozen pitted fresh cherries processed in a small food processor or blender)


  1. To make the chocolate-covered cherry centers, stem and pit 18 cherries.
  2. Melt half of the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl.
  3. When completely melted, stir in the pitted cherries until completely coated.
  4. Transfer cherries to a piece of wax paper or a plastic wrap-covered plate. Refrigerate while making the cake.
  5. Melt the other half of the chocolate and dip the remaining 18 cherries into it, scraping the bottom before setting on a piece of wax paper or a plastic wrap-covered plate.
  6. To make the cake, preheat oven to 350 and line 2 cupcake pans with 18 liners.
  7. Whisk together cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.
  8. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.
  9. Melt butter in the microwave and transfer to the mixer bowl. Add sugar and beat on medium speed until cooled, 4 to 5 minutes.
  10. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla and cocoa-powder mixture.
  11. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with yogurt in one batch. Beat until just combined.
  12. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.
  13. Toss the chocolate-covered cherry centers (pitted and stemmed) with 1 Tbsp flour. Set on the top of the batter.
  14. Bake 18-20 minutes, until the cake tops bounce back when lightly tapped.
  15. Cool 10 minutes before removing cupcakes from the pans. Cool completely before frosting.
  16. To make the frosting, whisk the egg whites and sugar over a simmering pot of water until the mixture reaches 160 degrees.
  17. Transfer to a stand mixer and whisk on high 10 minutes, until the meringue reaches room temperature (the bowl should feel neutral/barely warm when touched).
  18. Add butter, a few cubes at a time until all butter is mixed in.
  19. Beat in the cherry puree. Transfer to a piping bag and frost the cupcakes.
  20. Top each frosted cupcake with a chocolate-covered cherry.
  21. Store covered at room temp for up to 3 days.


Yields: 18 cupcakes

Source: Cake from Martha Stewart

Estimated time: 1 hour 30 minutes

36 comments… add one
  • Umm delicious

  • Bookmarking this deliciousness!

  • Those cherries are beautiful! What a nice, unique, cupcake recipe!

  • Chocolate and cherries sound delicious together, and those cupcakes couldn’t be cuter!

  • Oooooh these look so so good!

  • I find it almost impossible to save cherries for anything other than pure unadulterated eating also. Plus…there’s all that pitting involved. I love these cupcakes though! They’re like those cherry chocolates but way better…cause everything in cupcake form is better!

  • What beautiful cupcakes! I love cupcakes decorated with garnishes that echo the flavors of the cupcake itself.

  • Yummmm. We also buy lots of cherries, but they never last long enough to get cooked! Might have to try these, though.

  • These are so so beautiful! Gorgeous recipe and photos as absolutely always 🙂

  • These went straight onto Pinterest. I guess I know what I’m making during naptime on Saturday! They look scrumptious!

  • Beautiful! They look delicious.

  • Wow these look fabulous! And those cherries on top? Yum!

  • The cupcakes sound amazing (as all cupcakes do to me 🙂 …but I just have to say, I am loving the colors in this photo! The new colored board is awesome!

  • Oh me oh my! I absolutely love these! I would have to stop myself eating all the chocolate covered cherries on their own – they might not make it to the cupcakes! We won’t see cherries around here until May or so, but I’m bookmarking this for then, it looks so good!

  • Erin @ Cooking on Whim

    I see a batch of birthday cupcakes for my husband coming up! yum!

  • I honestly don’t even like cherries, but these look amazing.

  • Just made these.. and WOW are they AWESOME!!!!! The perfect combo! I shared you on my business facebook page so hopefully EVERYONE can try these fantastic recipes. Thanks for sharing YUMMMM

  • LOVE this idea. Why must I wait for cherry season to come around again?! Blah. I’ll definitely be trying these next year, for sure.

  • How creative! Love your use of CHOCOLATE! HAHA!!! Fantastic!

  • They look absolutely gorgeous!!! I’ll have to try those 🙂 yummm
    ps: I love you blog and you recipes! are lovely!
    Its on my faves! x

  • These look so fantastic, I was just drooling over one of your other recipes and now this… OMG!! Yummy!!

  • These look SO amazing! I can’t wait to try them!

  • Vanessa

    These look amazing and I’m thinking of making them for a birthday coming up, however, since its December I dunno if cherries are available. Do you think I can use frozen if I drain and dry them really well?

    • Cherries were actually in my grocery store this week – small bags, crazy expensive, and from Peru or something 🙂 The only trouble you’ll run into is getting the chocolate to stick to the cherries. Drain them and dry them really well before coating them – other than that, you should be fine!

      • Vanessa

        Awesome! I actually found some cherries at Homeland (expensively nuts!) but it’ll be well recieved, so I’m ok. Thanks for the amazing looking recipe!!

  • Vanessa

    Something i noticed, the half cup of sour cream, is that actually supposed to be yogurt? I noticed you said you used Fage which is greek yogurt. Is this correct?

  • Katwoman

    I don’t eat chocolate, but I couldn’t resist sampling a small bite after smelling these in the oven!! Omg, delicious 🙂 Christmas party dessert tomorrow. Thank you!!

  • These look wonderful, I will try them, thanks

  • Jessica

    Shawnda – I recently discovered your blog while looking for something yummy to make for my daughter’s birthday cake. That cake (the white buttermilk cake from the PPQ challenge) has led to friends and colleagues asking me to bake for their special occasions. Your blog is my go-to site for recipes and tips, and I was wondering whether you’ve baked the cake recipe above as a layer cake, and if so, what size pans does it fill and how long to you bake it?

    • Thanks, Jessica! The recipe is scaled down a bit from the original (link below recipe) so you wouldn’t get 2 layers from it, as I have it written. However, if you bake the original recipe’s amounts, you’ll get 2 generous 9-inch layers that need to bake ~45 minutes.

      I also wouldn’t put the chocolate-covered cherries in the cake because it will likely be far too dense and cause moisture issues. I’d add cherry preserves between layers and then add the chocolate cherries on top for decoration. Hope that helps!

      • Jessica

        Awesome! Thanks so much for the quick response!

  • Hayley

    Made these yesterday for me and a loved one. I halved the recipe and followed it exactly (different from my usual method – mixing everything together at once because it’s all going to be mixed together anyway, right?). I did swap non-fat plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream, though. The final result: the cakes tasted phenomenal, and although they were a little bit dense, like brownies, I thought that just made it better; and my frosting was more of a sauce but was also amazing. Couldn’t fix it using the troubleshooting page. I should tell you I have neither a candy thermometer nor beaters (arm power, baby!) so it may not have been heated up enough over the stove (I whisked it in a bowl placed in a strainer over a pot of boiling water for about 10 mins) and then when it stayed runny, I threw it in a food processor where it still stayed runny. So I added some cream cheese and it still stayed runny but tasted amazing. So in short, I ended up with something that reminded me of those brownie lava cakes with a cherry center and cherry frosting sauce. o.O I’ll try them again when I acquire a mixer!

    • Hayley

      By the way I used maraschino cherries since the real ones are gone now! 🙁 Just dried them well before coating them.

  • O.M.G. Making this.

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