Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Recipe of the week: Cherry Cupcakes

As a kid my favorite cake was cherry chip with canned cherry frosting.  (I would usually ask for it for my birthday, one year the cake had canned cherry pie filling in the middle)  A friend of mine found the mix a couple of years ago and brought me a box, it didn't taste as good as I remembered.  It was sickeningly sweet and I hate canned frosting now, it leaves a nasty film in your mouth, not to mention all the chemicals it's filled with, I'm pretty sure that stuff doesn't have an expiration date on it!  I've been experimenting with a cherry cupcake recipe, I started out with this and made a few modifications and only made half a batch of frosting and it was plenty, too much frosting can ruin a cupcake in my opinion.  Let me know what you think!

Cake Ingredients:

3/4 cup frozen cherries, thawed
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cherry kefir, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup dried cherries chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
Place cherries in a small food processor or blender; process until pureed. You should have about 1/2 cup of puree, add a few more cherries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together kefir, almond extract, vanilla, and cherry puree; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the cherry mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, add dried cherries and mix until just blended.
Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

For the frosting:

3 Tbsp cherry puree left from cupcakes
1/2 cup (1 sticks)  butter, firm and slightly cold
1 and 3/4 cups powdered
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract


 In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy.Reduce mixer speed and slowly add powdered sugar; beat until well combined. Add almond extract and 3 tablespoons cherry puree, mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.  Frost cupcakes, garnish with a fresh cherry and enjoy!