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Fresh Cherry Cupcakes

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Fresh Cherry Cupcakes
Fresh cherries make me think of cobblers and pies, not necessarily of cakes and cupcakes. When I do bake cakes with cherries, I usually default to frozen or jarred cherries because they are so convenient. This time, I got myself out of the rut and used fresh cherries in a batch of Fresh Cherry Cupcakes.

At first glance, you might think that putting fresh fruit into a cupcake takes them towards the muffin end of the spectrum. That is not the case with these little cakes. They are moist, soft and tender with a very fine crumb that is unmistakably cake, not the coarser crumb of a muffin. I’ll admit to eating an unfrosted cake for breakfast, but these are best when served for dessert with a little bit of vanilla-infused frosting to round out all the flavors in the cake. The cake itself also has vanilla extract in it, as well as a hint of almond extract that I added because almond complements the flavor of cherries so well.

I used sweet cherries in this recipe, but tart cherries (or a blend of two types) would me a great mix, as well.  You can use frozen or jarred cherries, too, and still get good results.  Using chopped, frozen cherries might add a minute or so to your baking time, but they can be mixed right in. Jarred cherries should be drained before use so they don’t add too much additional liquid to the batter. If you happen to have fresh, use them. It’s a great alternative to a regular cobbler and you can’t beat the appeal of having fresh cherries perched atop the cupcakes before serving.

Fresh Cherry Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup finely chopped fresh pitted cherries

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Blend in the egg, vanilla extract and almond extract until smooth. Working in two or three additions, gradually mix in the dry ingredients, alternating with additions of buttermilk and ending with an addition of the last of the flour mixture. Stir in chopped cherries.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack completely before frosting.

Makes 16

Quick Vanilla Buttercream
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
16 whole cherries

Combine butter, milk, vanilla and 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar in a medium mixing bowl and mix on high speed until smooth. Gradually blend in remaining confectioners’ sugar until frosting reaches a creamy, spreadable consistency. Add additional sugar to thicken frosting if necessary.
Top each cupcake with frosting and a whole, fresh cherry.

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  • dani
    June 2, 2010

    i’d take cake over muffin any day
    nice pic 🙂

  • Wow, I just bought about 5 pounds of cherries from Safeway today because they were only $2.49 a pound…now thanks to you, I have a delicious recipe for them.

  • Lora
    June 3, 2010

    A great idea to use up fresh cherries from the tree in our garden. thanks!

  • Katherine
    June 3, 2010

    My dad loves fresh dark cherries – LOVES THEM. Does the taste of the cherries shine through enough that you can detect it?

    Thanks, love the recipe!

  • David
    June 3, 2010

    I just made a cherry cake today….used fresh cherry preserves & a dash of cherry extract…these cupcakes looks divine!

  • Jill
    June 14, 2010

    Such a fabulous recipe!! Made them the other night and brought them into my office – they were such a it. Thanks for the always wonderful recipes and tips! I have a cupcake blog – feel free to have a read and offer any of your great tips 🙂 Thanks!

  • Amanda
    July 30, 2010

    I must say, I was completely underwhelmed by this cupcake. haha Just kidding! I had to poke fun at the show Cupcake Wars. Anyway…the truth is YUM! I loved them. Bummer was I lost 6 right out of the oven and onto the floor. 🙁 No fair. I will make these again. As an after-thought: minus the buttermilk, plus some lemon zest? I’m gonna have to play with this one. Thank-you!!

  • april
    June 28, 2011

    didn’t turn out for me. First time I thought it was expired baking powder but nope tried again with new and they just didn’t rise or take anything like a cupcake…way more muffin.

  • I just made these, but instead of big cupcakes I made mini cupcakes… and oh my gosh! Amazing!!! Thank you so much!

  • Stefanie
    June 14, 2012

    I made these last night and they are amazing! I, too, was worried they’d come out more like a muffin, but they definitely taste like a cupcake. I didn’t use a buttercream; I made a vanilla frosting made from milk, flour, butter, and granulated sugar (not sure what that’s even called). They are heavenly. I love when cherries are in season! 🙂 Thanks for posting this recipe.

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