Nigella's Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes recipe

Chocolate cherry cupcakes iced with ganache

Sainsbury's recently tempted me into using their online grocery shop by offering a hefty discount so when I was trying to come up with ingredients not found in our usual supermarket, Tesco, these cupcakes came to mind.  

In the original recipe Nigella states, “The jam I use for these is the morello cherry preserve from Sainsbury's special selection; if you're using a less elegant, and probably sweeter confection, reduce the sugar in the cake a little.

Sainsbury’s cherry compote has less sugar than their cherry conserve (29g per 100g compared to 54.6g per 100g) so I used the compote and didn’t reduce the sugar. 

While these cupcakes are slightly on the heavier side due to the compote, they’re rich, moist and decadent. I think of them as a special occasion cupcake.

I should mention that this is the recipe where I first discovered chocolate ganache and I’ve used it to ice many cakes since. It’s beautifully simple; 100g dark chocolate, 100g double cream, heat gently. I’ve only had ganache split once and it was because I didn’t keep an eye on the pan and it overheated. If this happens, take the pan off the heat, add a tiny bit more cream, and whisk as hard as you possibly can. The ganache should start to come together once it cools but if it’s not cooperating, keep adding tiny amounts of cream and whisking furiously until it does. 

I find that the ganache makes enough to ice the middle and top of a 20cm cake but I’m someone who’s fairly reserved with icing so you could increase the quantities if you like. Another reason I love this ganache, aside from it tasting gorgeous, is that unlike fresh cream it doesn’t need to be refrigerated.


Makes: 12


  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 100g dark chocolate (broken into small pieces)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 300g cherry jam (raspberry works well too)
  • a pinch salt
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour


  • 100ml double cream
  • 100g dark chocolate (broken into small pieces)
  • Glace cherries


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan).
  2. Cupcakes: Melt 125g butter in a saucepan on a low heat then add 100g of dark chocolate. Leave for a few minutes then turn off the heat and stir to combine.
  3. Add 150g sugar, 300g jam or compote, a pinch of salt and 2 beaten eggs to the saucepan and stir well. Once the ingredients have combined, stir in 150g self-raising flour.
  4. Spoon the mixture into a 12-hole muffin tin lined with paper cases.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean, then leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning the cakes out onto a wire rack.
  6. Ganache: Once the cakes have cooled, melt 100ml of double cream and 100g dark chocolate together in a saucepan (I use the pan that previously held the butter and chocolate to save on washing up), then leave to cool for a minute. Whisk the mixture until it starts to thicken then spoon a little onto the top of each cupcake using the back of the spoon to spread it around.
  7. Top with a cherry and store in an airtight container.