Every year at this time, our area begins to see many tourists. We live in the Washington DC area, and spring is the time everyone wants to see the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom in our nations Capital. It really is a site to behold! The trees are gorgeous, and it turns the tidal basin of the Potomac and everywhere around it a glorious shade of pink.
We’ve had a pretty brutal winter here in the Mid-Atlantic. (We are literally waiting for yet ANOTHER snow storm to roll through tomorrow morning.) Regardless of our never-ending winter, the cherry blossoms are set to arrive soon. As far as I’m concerned, they can’t come soon enough! I’m SOOOOO ready for spring! With that being said, I needed to whip up a batch of these amazing Very Cherry Cupcakes to cheer on the upcoming arrival of spring and the cherry blossoms.
As far as I’m concerned, a good cupcake must have two components that take it from good to great. Those two components are obviously, cake quality and frosting. I’ve had numerous cupcakes (some REALLY expensive ones from fancy cupcakeries) that really disappoint on one of the two of these areas. Either the cake is DRY, or the frosting tastes like a mixture of granulated sugar and butter flavored shortening. Lets face it – there’s nothing worse than a dry cupcake…oh wait, yes there is. A dry cupcake with seriously disappointing frosting – that is the worst!
I’m here to tell you, and my husband and son can definitely attest, these cupcakes score some high marks on both cake quality AND frosting tastiness! The cake for these Very Cherry Cupcakes takes an already moist cake recipe and amps it up with some chopped maraschino cherries. The frosting is a delicious cream cheese frosting, lightly flavored with the maraschino cherry syrup that nicely compliments the cake. Topped with a lovely cherry, these cupcakes are not only beautiful, they taste out-of-this world!!
- ½ c. butter (1 stick), room temperature
- 1½ c. granulated sugar
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- 1½ tsp. vanilla
- 2 c. cake flour
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1⅓ c. buttermilk
- 1 (10 oz) jar, maraschino cherries, finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp. reserved maraschino cherry syrup (from the jar of cherries)
- Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ c. butter (1 stick), room temperature
- 2 Tbsp. reserved maraschino cherry syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- a few drops of red food coloring
- 1 (10 oz.) jar, maraschino cherries WITH stems
- 5½ - 6 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line (two) 12-cup cupcake tins with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl with a stand or hand mixer, on low, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. While still on low, gradually add the egg whites one at a time. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, while mixer is on low. Batter will be smooth and creamy. Measure out the buttermilk, add the cherry syrup and stir. While mixer is on low, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the batter. Lastly, add the chopped cherries, and slowly mix just until evenly dispersed into the batter.
- Add the batter to the lined cupcakes and fill to ¾ full. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean and free of crumbs. Let cupcakes cool.
- While cupcakes are cooling, mix the frosting. With a clean bowl and stand or hand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Add the cherry syrup and vanilla, and continue to mix until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. (Do this slowly, so you don't end up with powdered sugar everywhere.) Frosting will be thick and creamy. Lastly, add a few drops of red food coloring and thoroughly mix into the frosting to achieve a pink color. Spread or pipe on to the cooled cupcakes. Top with an additional maraschino cherry with stem.
**This recipe was adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens: Baking cookbook, from the White Cake recipe. You can purchase this fantastic cook book at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/better-homes-and-gardens-baking-better-homes-gardens/1116529856?ean=9781118453261
These cupcakes are perfect for a spring celebration, a bake sale, a little girls birthday party, or even a cute baby shower. The pink color is lovely, and the cherry cake makes it even better. Garnished with a cherry on top, these are an ideal cupcake for any event!
I hope spring has already arrived where you are. I’m anxiously awaiting its arrival here along with the beautiful cherry blossoms, and I’ll have one of these cupcakes in my hand to celebrate!