Raise your hand if you have been hoarding cherries! [raises hand]
[shoves cherry in mouth, wipes fingers on jeans, raises other hand]
If you’ve ever wanted to make fresh cherry or strawberry cupcakes, you’ve probably run into similar problems: the surprising lack of recipes out there with natural ingredients and real fruit. Because if it’s anything the food industry can do, it’s really process the &^%$ out of something.
(Don’t get me started on Pistachio Muffins that contain absolutely no pistachios whatsoever.) (YOU CAN’T JUST DUMP GREEN FOOD COLORING AND ALMOND EXTRACT INTO MUFFIN BATTER AND CALL IT PISTACHIO MUFFINS.)
[takes deep breath, smooths hair]
There’s no reason to use Jello, extracts, and unidentifiable chunks of [fruit]-flavored not-fruit at the height of cherry season.
I took my favorite cake recipe (the 1234) and folded fresh cherry puree into the batter along with the tiniest amount of almond extract. The result was a fluffy, moist, pink cake using only real cherries and actually tasted like cherries.
Until I dumped a bunch of chocolate glaze on top and then it just tasted like my morning 2-mile run never happened.
Fresh Cherry Cupcakes
Moist, fluffy, and pink cupcakes made with fresh cherries.
- 1 lb cherries, pitted
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt*
- 3 1/4 cup flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 6 egg whites (can use 4 whole eggs instead but the yolks might slightly affect your color)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1-2 drops red food gel (optional)
- 1 recipe Chocolate Glaze
- *An equal amount of buttermilk or sour cream would also work. I no longer buy buttermilk and just substitute nonfat Greek yogurt in all recipes.
- Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tins with ~30 (sorry) cupcake liners.
- Cream butter and sugar together for ~3 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl a couple of times.
- Place pitted cherries and lemon juice in the blender or food processor and process until mostly smooth.
- Stir the yogurt into the cherries.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
- Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract to the butter and mix until uniform.
- Add half the cherry mixture to the bowl and mix, switching the speed to low and adding half the dry ingredients.
- Scrape down the bowl and repeat.
- If you want to add 1-2 drops of food coloring, here is the time to do that - you don't have to, but if you don't think your batter is pink enough, just add 1 or 2 drops (I added 1 drop of Americolor Red Red).
- Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners and bake ~18 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out with only moist crumbs attached.
- Cool completely before frosting or glazing.
Yields: 30 cupcakes
Estimated time: 1 hour 15 minutes