Chocolate and cherries are a match made in heaven, which is why you will love this Chocolate Cherry Kiss Cupcakes recipe! These super moist chocolate cupcakes have a surprise inside - cherry pie filling and a milk chocolate Kiss! Rich cream cheese frosting tops off this decadent treat!
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I grew up thinking that chocolate-covered cherries were the most special candy one could have. I have absolutely no idea what sparked that belief. All I know is that I thought it was so amazing the few times I was able to have one.
These cupcakes are inspired by that treat, and they bring me as much joy as I remember from childhood. As a matter of fact, if given the choice between the candy or these cupcakes, I would choose these cupcakes every time!
Why I Love This Recipe
My favorite kind of recipes are ones that combine convenience with amazing flavor and superior results. This is one of those recipes!
I use a standard Devil's food cake mix as the foundation for our cupcakes. That means no measuring flour or mixing things in multiple bowls. Keep it easy!
Three simple substitutions turn your everyday cake mix into a rich, moist cake.
- Buttermilk instead of water, to add flavor and give the cupcakes a softer texture
- Swapping butter for oil adds richness to the cupcake. If you don't feel like melting butter, using oil is fine as well. It makes just a small difference in the cake.
- The cake mix only called for 3 eggs, but we used 4. This is a trick you can use any time you bake a cake using a mix! Adding an extra egg gives moisture to the cake.
If you love a more intense chocolate flavor, you can also add 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to the mix.
How to Make the Cupcakes
Using a cake mix makes these chocolate cherry cupcakes so easy!
You simply dump all of the ingredients (except for the cherry pie filling and Hershey kisses) into a bowl, mix them together using a low speed for about 30 seconds, and then increase to high speed for 2 minutes. So simple!
Filling the Cupcake
This is where the magic happens! I mean chocolate cupcakes are great and all. But when you bite into a juicy cherry and creamy chocolate that is pure bliss!
And what fun to have a surprise like that when you are expecting a plain cupcake!
Here's how you do it: Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners. I am using a stoneware pan but any muffin pan will work.
Place about 2 tablespoons of batter into each cupcake liner. I use this scoop but you could also use a regular tablespoon.
Put one cherry, with a little bit of filling, in the center of each cupcake.
Add a Hershey Kiss on top.
Add about a tablespoon of cupcake batter on the top, filling the cupcake liners about ⅔ full.
Bake at 350°F for 18-23 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
If you press gently on the top of the cupcake it should spring back. If it stays indented, continue cooking for another minute or two.
It is normal for these cupcakes to shrink up a little bit as they cool. This is due to the filling. This won't be noticeable at all once it has been frosted.
My Favorite Frosting
The frosting is some people's favorite part of a cake. But I really dislike the sickly sweet, lard tasting frosting that is commonly used.
Adding cream cheese to the mix is a game-changer! This frosting is still plenty sweet, but not overly so. And the cream cheese gives the frosting a subtle tanginess, which balances perfectly with these cupcakes.
Note: I took the photo below before deciding that a little more frosting was needed for frosting the cupcakes. The amounts in the recipe card are 1 ½ times what you see here. The increased recipe proportions are just right for piping tall swirls of frosting onto your cupcakes.
Tips for Making Striped Frosting
These cupcakes are gorgeous with white frosting! The dark and light contrast actually looks quite sophisticated. But I made these cupcakes for Valentine's Day, so a red stripe seemed the way to go. Plus it looks really sharp with the cherry!
Striping your frosting is easier than you might think. But it gives the cupcakes a "wow" factor.
Simply dip a small paintbrush into gel frosting. Paint a thin line inside your piping bag.
Carefully fill the bag with frosting. You want to try to do this without touching the stripe you painted. But if you look at my bag of frosting you can see that I failed miserably at that. The food coloring got everywhere inside the bag. But it still turned out beautiful!
There is art in the imperfect.
Other Delicious Desserts That Use Cake Mix
Frequently Asked Questions
Because the frosting has cream cheese it is best to store them in the refrigerator, in an airtight container. Remove them from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving. They are much better when they are not cold!
They can stored at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
I use the Wilton 1M tip to create the cupcake frosting swirl. This tip can go directly into a disposable piping bag without a coupler. It is just the right size for a thick swirl.
The sky is the limit! These would be wonderful with Strawberry Pie Filling, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Nutella...so many choices!
Chocolate Cherry Kiss Cupcakes
- 1 box Devil's food cake mix
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- ½ cup melted butter
- 4 eggs
- 1 can cherry pie filling
- 24 Hershey Kisses
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ¾ cup salted butter, softened (12 tablespoons)
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 cups (600 grams) confectioners' sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Prepare 2 cupcake pans by placing a cupcake liner in each cup.
- In a large bowl, add cake mix, buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs. Using an electric mixer, mix on low speed for 30 seconds to combine.Turn mixer to medium-high speed and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
- Place 2 tablespoons of cake batter in the bottom of each cupcake liner. Put 1 cherry and a small amount of pie filling in the center of each cup. Top with one Hershey kiss in the center of each.Finally, place about one tablespoon of cake batter on top of each kiss, to cover the filling.
- Bake at 350F degrees for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the top springs back when pressed gently. Cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream butter and sugar in a medium bowl, by beating together on high speed, using an electric mixer.
- Add vanilla extract and half of the powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until mixed in.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until the powdered sugar is incorporated, then turn the speed up to high and continue beating for 2 minutes.
- Spread or pipe the frosting onto cooled cupcakes.
- Serve within 2 hours, or store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.