I'm a huge fan of gourmet cupcakes. Locally, we have some really tasty places to fill that craving: The Sweet Tooth Fairy, The Chocolate, The Cocoa Bean, and Cupcakes Take the Cake. Lucky me, eh? Recently, on the Food Network, they had The Sweet Tooth Fairy on 'Cupcake Wars'. And guess what? THEY WON the whole dang thing! Kudos, guys. I'm so happy I can just drive down the street and have one of their fantastic cupcakes whenever I want (or whenever the purse will allow). Their cake bites are ridiculous. My favorites are their vanilla coconut and salty caramel.
Even if I went to a cupcake cafe every so often, it wouldn't be nearly enough to fill my sweets cravings (again, it's a good thing I'm a runner). So, it was time to bust out my D e s s e r t s board on Pinterest, and get to work on these tasty lovers. They're obviously not as beautiful as Sweet Tooth Fairy, but I think they'll satisfy perfectly until the next time we meet again.
The almond extract takes the cake - er... cupcake. I love the way the flavor folds in with the cherries so perfectly. One cupcake is enough for a while, though. They're super-rich. Make sure you buy the big bottle of maraschino cherries if you make this - you're going to need the juice in both the cupcakes and frosting.
Also, doubling the frosting is a must.
Cherry-Almond Vanilla Cupcakes
recipe adapted from Better Homes
1/2 c butter
4 egg whites
2 c all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
3/4 c buttermilk
1/3 c maraschino cherry juice
1 1/2 c sugar
1 t vanilla
1/2 t almond extract
12 maraschino cherries, halved
1/2 c butter, softened
4 c powdered sugar
3 T maraschino cherry juice
1/2 t almond extract
For starters, make sure your butter and egg whites have reached room temperature (takes around 30 minutes). While they're reaching room temperature, line your muffin tin with paper muffin cups. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a small bowl, also combine buttermilk and cherry juice. Set both aside.
Preheat your oven to 350 F. With your stand mixer, beat butter on medium/high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, vanilla, and almond extract - beat until combined. One at a time, add egg whites, beating well after adding each one. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after adding each until combined.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, about 2/3 full. Use a spoon to smooth batter. Press a cherry into batter in each cup.
Bake for 15-18 minutes - until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool on wire racks after cooling cupcakes in muffin tin for about 5 minutes.
Make frosting: Fluff butter in mixer, add in maraschino cherry juice and almond extract. Slowly (about 1/2 cup at a time) add in powdered sugar. After all powdered sugar has been added, add milk to desired consistency. Using your pastry bag fitted with whatever tip you choose, pipe your frosting on your cupcakes. Top with cherries! This makes about 24 cupcakes.
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