There is something ever so sexy about a cherry. I don’t know what it is, but it’s like the vixen of fruit. For me, it has such a playful and cute essence. Perhaps I am reading too much into this, but it’s like the perfect thing to add to anything to make it better. I love cherry cola, cherry ice cream or just plain cherries in a bowl. Despite a childhood fear of them after watching the film The Witches of Eastwick, I have grown up thinking they are just perfect in everything from desserts to salads! And so I share today this awesome recipe for Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes – or as I love to refer to them for Valentine’s Day – Love Cakes.
Here’s what you’ll need.
1 jar (10 oz) maraschino cherries, drained, liquid reserved
2 C all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ C unsalted butter
1 ¼ C sugar
½ C maraschino cherry liquid
¼ C whole milk
2 tsp almond extract
2 egg whites, beaten
Optional: pink food color
Reserved 1 tablespoon maraschino cherry liquid
1 C butter, softened
3 ½ C confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
18 maraschino cherries with stems
To begin with, heat your oven to 350º F. Then, line your muffin cups with paper baking cups, ready to fill.
Next, finely chip your cherries and place in a paper towel-lined bowl to drain and soak up liquid while preparing the batter. It’s important to make sure the cherries are not very wet, as it can mess with the batter.
In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until it’s all blended together. In a small bowl, stir together ½ cup cherry liquid, the milk and 2 teaspoons almond extract.
Beginning and ending with flour mixture, alternately add flour mix and cherry mix to the butter mix, beating well after each addition. At this point, you can stir in a few drops of food coloring if you wish.
Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites and then the chopped cherries.
Spoon your batter into muffin cups, filling each about ¾ full. You can use an ice cream scoop to make it more standard if you wish.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched in the center. Remove from the pan and use a cooling rack to cool completely (around 30 minutes).
To make your frosting, combine the butter, sugar and salt into a bowl and beat until blended. Then add the milk, vanilla and cherry liquid and beat for an additional 3 – 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Pipe onto cupcakes and garnish with 1 cherry.