For Cupcakes: – 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar – 1/2 c. vegetable oil – 4 egg whites, room temperature – 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract – 2 c. cake flour – 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder – 1/2 tsp. baking soda – 1/2 tsp. salt – 1 1/4 c. buttermilk – 3 Tbsp. reserved cherry syrup (from jar of cherries) – 1 (10 oz. jar), maraschino cherries, finely chopped
For Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting: – 1 (8 oz. pkg.) cream cheese, room temperature – 1/2 c. butter (1 stick), room temperature – 2 Tbsp. reserved maraschino cherry syrup (from jar) – 1 tsp. vanilla extract – 5 1/2 - 6 c. powdered sugar – red food coloring (4-8 drops) – 1 (10. oz jar), maraschino cherries, with stems
Measure out the buttermilk and add the cherry syrup to the buttermilk. Stir. While mixer is on low, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the batter. Using a rubber scraper, fold in the chopped cherries just until evenly dispersed into the batter.
While cupcakes are cooling, mix the frosting. With a clean bowl and stand or hand mixer, cream together the room temperature butter and cream cheese. 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 the powdered sugar stays in the bowl. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl and add more powdered sugar. Once all the powdered sugar is added frosting consistency will be thick and creamy.