Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Cream Cupcakes

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February is national cherry month! To start off a whole month of cherry filled recipes, I thought I'd start with some simple chocolate cherry chunk cupcakes, topped with a cool cherry cream cheese frosting. The pink tinted frosting from the cherry juice make them a perfect Valentine's Day treat!


Chocolate Cherry Cream Cupcakes 
Check out baking tips, tricks & ingredient substitutions.

Yield: 12 cupcakes or 24 minis (also makes a 6"-9" cake layer)

Ingredients

Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, dutch processed
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water (or 1/2 cup coffee)
Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 8oz cream cheese, room temperature (not light or low fat)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
  • 3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar), sifted

Directions
Prepare Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 baking cups (or 24 minis). In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa and sugar, mixing until fully combined. In a measuring cup lightly whisk together buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla. Using a whisk or wooden spoon, gently stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, just until incorporated. Dissolve espresso powder in the boiling water and immediately fold into batter. Do not over-mix. Batter will be very thin and runny.

Distribute all of the batter, filling almost up to the top, between all of the baking cups. Bake standard size cupcakes for 16-18 minutes and minis for 8-10 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack before filling and frosting.

Prepare frosting:
With an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth (make sure they are both at room temperature so you do not get lumps in your frosting). Add vanilla and cherry juice until you reach your desired flavor. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until incorporated. Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy.



Top your cupcake with a pretty red cherry.

  
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5 comments:

  1. I love it
    i just saw you in cupcake wars and you're awesome
    I admire you
    greetings from Mexico :)

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  2. Linsay Ann

    Is Marciano cherry juice the same as maraschino cherry juice? If so, can I use the juice of fresh or frozen cherries instead? I am not keen on the ingredients used in a jar of maraschino cherries, but I really like the pink frosting. Is it possible to achieve the same shade and consistancy with fresh or frozen ones? These cupcakes look so adorable and I am thinking about making them for my daughter's 50's themed birthday party at the end of the month. By the way, I printed out your cute paper doll set for her. She is wearing the darling cherry dress. Because she was printed on regular printer paper, I taped a bamboo stick to the back of it and made it into a puppet!

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  3. The best way to get the pink shade of frosting will be to use a little pink food coloring (or a tiny bit of red). I have not tried using fresh or frozen cherries, but the frosting is very forgiving and as long as you do not add too much liquid the consistency should be fine. You can alternatively use a little bit of cherry (or strawberry) jelly/preserves to give it the pink color and keep the smooth texture. Hope this helps. I think these are absolutely perfect for a 50's theme. What a great mom for making homemade cupcakes for the party! You'll have to email over a picture or post one on our Facebook wall, I would love to see how they turned out! PS Love the idea of using bamboo stick to make her into a puppet, I'll have to add your tip to the paper doll post for other readers. Thanks so much and good luck with the party! Be sure to let us know how everything turned out.

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  4. Lindsay Ann

    Thank you so much for the prompt reply! After looking at the recipe again, I found I have another question. I only have the natural cocoa and I noticed that to substitute for the Dutch processed, one needs to add 1/8 tsp baking soda with 1/4 c natural cocoa to equal 1/4 Dutch processed. I also noticed that this recipe already has baking soda in it. Should I still add the extra 1/4 tsp? Also, if I decided to use jelly/preserves for the pink coloring, would there be any bits of berry in it. Some kids are weird about that kind of thing! Maybe jelly would be better. Would prefer not too strong of a cherry taste. I love the taste of fresh cherries though. They aren't too sweet! Is the cream cheese frosting less sweet than buttercream? Seems like it would be.

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  5. Hi Lisa,

    That's what I'm here for :) The best and most convenient alternative to dutched cocoa would be to use Hershey's "Special Dark" cocoa available in the baking asile of the super market. It is a blend of natural and dutched and yields a deeper chocolate than a natural cocoa. If you just want to use the natural cocoa, you should add the baking soda and follow the recipe as written with the extra 1/4 tsp of baking soda. The baking soda in the cocoa helps to neautrilize the acidic natural cocoa to work with the baking powder for leavining, while the baking soda in the recipe works with the acidic buttermilk. For the frosting I would just add a tiny bit of seedless jelly at a time until you have reached your desired color, so it adds a slight flavor without adding chunks of fruit ot seeds. The cream cheese frosting is MUCH less sweet than a classic buttercream. It is one of my favorite frostings to use. Kids and adults alike both seem to love it which is great opposed to a sugary buttercream which is too sweet for a lot of adults.

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