Chocolate Cherry Amaretto Cupcakes

“Chocolate, cherries, and amaretto are the DREAM combination in cupcake form. These are rich, juicy, fruity and chocolatey and are secretly so easy to make (and they’re fully vegan and easily gluten-free.” – Nourishing Amy*

*Recipe created by Nourishing Amy

Makes: 10

Time: 40 minutes plus cooling


For the Cupcakes:

  • 240ml plant-based milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 80ml sunflower or olive oil
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp almond essence
  • 170g self-raising flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp coffee, optional
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp amaretto (optional)

For the Filling:

  • 200g European Picota Cherries (pitted weight)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp amaretto (optional)

For the Frosting:

  • 120g vegan butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ¼ tsp almond essence
  • 350g icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp plant-based milk
  • 10 European Picota cherries, whole
  • Shaved chocolate
  • Toasted almonds/coconut
  1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180*C and line a muffin/cupcake tray with 10 cases.
  2. To a large mixing bowl, add the milk, lemon juice, sugar, sunflower oil, vanilla essence, and almond essence. Whisk till smooth.
  3. Now sift in the flour, cocoa powder, coffee, and bicarbonate of soda. Whisk to a smooth batter with no specks of flour.
  4. Scoop the batter into the cases, filling 2/3 full. Bake in the centre of the oven for 18-20 minutes, until risen and springy and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  5. Remove immediately from the tray and sit on a wire rack. Brush with the amaretto, if using, and allow to cool fully.
  6. Meanwhile, make the filling: add the Picota Cherries to a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients and bring to a bubble. Allow to bubble away over a high heat for 8 minutes, until sticky and there’s a thick syrup. Pour into a bowl and cool fully (you can place them in the fridge, too).
  7. When ready, prepare the buttercream: add the softened butter to a bowl or freestanding mixer and beat till smooth. Gradually beat in the vanilla essence, almond essence, icing sugar and plant-based milk till fully incorporated then beat for a further 1-2 minutes till fluffy. Place in a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle.
  8. Core the centre of the cupcakes and fill with the Picota cherry compote filling. Pipe on the buttercream and top each cupcake with some extra compote and the juice, a whole Picota cherry, some chocolate and toasted almonds/coconut.
  9. Enjoy straight away or keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. Best eaten at room temperature and you can freeze the unfrosted and unfilled cupcakes for 1 month. The compote will keep for 1 week in a sealed container in the fridge.