Fresh Cherry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Ganache and Cocoa Buttercream

I just realized that I hadn't shared these AMAZING cupcakes with you fine people yet! The shame! The horror!! Well, Mother's Day is the perfect time to share something special with all of you - mostly because these cupcakes came from a darling celebration of motherhood.

They were for a baby shower my Mom and I threw my sister a while ago (she was the most beautiful Mom-to-be I've ever seen). The day was extra special because my incredible sister had been through so much with multiple miscarriages, her sweet husband serving our country in the army for sometimes a year at a time far away, and constant struggles to conceive. She is a rock, and stayed strong. Finally, she surprised us over a Christmas celebration that she was not only pregnant, but 3 months along! It was the greatest Christmas miracle and blessing I can remember. Celebrating her sweet little girl's future arrival needed to be special. And looking back on everything, I knew the afternoon of her baby shower just that: absolutely special! These cupcakes were just icing on the cake for such a perfect afternoon.

The baby shower was hosted at our Mom's home in her gorgeous backyard (where we held our wedding reception, believe it or not), and we chose the theme of the new baby's nursery: Pink, Grey, and White.

Here's a little peek from my blog of what it looked like:

 These cupcakes have. it. all. - and I knew they'd be something special for you to enjoy today! 

The soft spongy cake is made up with a little secret: cherry pie filling puree. The flavor is incredible, and the color is just mouthwatering. Over the top of the heavenly cupcakes are an easy batch of white chocolate ganache. It hardens over quickly, and adds that extra depth of flavor when you bite into the cupcake. To top that off, I've frosted them with my favorite cocoa buttercream. It's super-rich, but plays along perfectly with the aforementioned flavors. Last, but most certainly not least, we add a fresh cherry on top. 

Aren't those colors just gorgeous? The flavors were even better! And a definite plus to this amazing cupcake: it's actually pretty darned easy to make. They don't look low-maintenance, but trust me, they are just as easy to make as they are easy on the eyes :)

So if you have a special occasion coming up, or you just want to dazzle up any old weekday, these cupcakes are a perfect fit. 

Cherry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Ganache and Cocoa Buttercream
makes about 30 cupcakes


1 box french vanilla cake mix
3 eggs
1 can cherry pie filling
2 t almond extract
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 C buttermilk

white chocolate ganache:
1/4 C white chocolate chips
2 T heavy cream

cocoa buttercream frosting *BwB recipe
6 T unsalted butter, melted
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 C milk
2 1/4 C powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 t light corn syrup
pinch of salt

whole cherries

to make cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. 
2. Puree cherry pie filling in a blender or food processor until a fine almost sauce forms. Set aside. 
3. In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add almond and vanilla extracts, and buttermilk. 
4. Sift cake mix into egg mixture and add cherry pie filling. Stir only until incorporated. 
5. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full, and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let sit in pan for about 5 minutes, then finish cooling on a cooling rack. 

to make frosting:
1. With your stand mixer, beat the melted butter and cocoa powder until smooth. 
2. Mix in milk, vanilla extract, salt, and light corn syrup on medium speed until thoroughly combined. It should be stiff, but you can add a teeny bit of milk here and there if it's not coming together right. 
3. Slowly, buy 1/2 cup at a time, add in powdered sugar. Beat well between additions, and keep the speed low to keep the powdered sugar cloud to a minimum (unless you have a mixer cover, then you can go mixing crazy on medium). 

to make ganache:
1. In a glass bowl, add white chocolate and melt in the microwave (very carefully, it burns very easily) about 15 minutes at a time. Stir between each heating, repeating until smooth and melted. 

to assemble cupcakes:
1. With about a teaspoon of the ganache, spread on a small circle on the top of the unfrosted cupcakes the size of about a silver dollar. Don't cover the entire surface, but make the circle big enough for a later twist of frosting. Let dry until hardened. 
2. Fill piping bag with a 1M star tip and plenty of frosting. Pip a small swirl over the top of the cooled ganache. Immediately top with a washed & dried fresh cherry (it won't stick if the frosting had hardened). 

recipe adapted from: Your Cup of Cake (she's is super-darling, fyi)

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