Monday, November 2, 2015

Sour Cherry Cupcakes

These Sour Cherry Cupcakes are fresh tasting, not too sweet and even better when topped with a very light cream cheese buttercream.

I made the cupcakes by whipping up my favorite buttermilk cake recipe and adding a splash of almond extract and three cups of sour cherries that I cooked down with a bit of sugar and cornstarch.

When it comes to the frosting, I'm almost too embarrassed to share my recipe because it's so basic and takes just a few minutes to make. It's only cream cheese whipped with unsalted butter, a bit of powdered sugar and vanilla —  and I hope proves that difficulty doesn't correspond with deliciousness. There really is no need to ever use sickly sweet frosting from a can.

Here are the recipes:
Sour Cherry Cupcakes
(makes 30 to 36) 
3 cups frozen or fresh pie cherries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs plus 2 egg yolks, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

In a saucepan combine the cherries, 1/3 cup sugar and cornstarch. Heat the mixture over medium high heat until simmering and the juices exude and thicken. Use a potato masher or back of a spoon to break apart the cherries as they cook. This takes a good 5 to 7 minutes.
The cherry mixture after cooking.
Let the mixture cool completely to room temperature.

Now for the cupcake batter — Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with papers.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.

Beat in the eggs plus egg yolks, one at a time, until combined. Beat in the vanilla and almond extract.

In another large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. With mixer on low, add a third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating to combine. Beat in 3/4 cup buttermilk, another third of the flour mixture, another 3/4 cup buttermilk, and remaining flour mixture until just combined. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Once the batter is mixed, add the cooled cherries.
The cupcake batter and the cooled cherries are ready to be combined.

Pour the cherries into the batter.

Fold the cherries into the batter just until they are combined.
Gently fold in the cooled cherry mixture. Don't over mix.

Fill the cupcake papers 3/4 full.  Bake for 18 to 22 minutes in a 350-degree oven or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Before baking.
After baking.
Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Easy Cream Cheese Buttercream
12 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and whip again.

Frost the cupcakes after they have cooled completely. I used a piping bag fitted with a 1M tip to add the frosting but you could also just plop on a few spoonfuls and spread it with a table knife. 

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