Hello Spring! We've missed you! How about a cheery cherry cupcake to celebrate?
Cherries and almond extract blend together beautifully in this wonderfully, but not overwhelmingly sweet cupcake. And as I'm a sucker for good frosting, and lots of it, I halved the cake recipe, but kept the frosting proportion the same. Twelve cupcakes is really more than enough for a small dinner party anyway...the full 24 would have just gone to waste.
adapted from BHG
yields 12 cupcakes
for the batter:
1/4 cup butter
2 egg whites
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 oz buttermilk
2 1/2 Tbsp maraschino cherry juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
12 maraschino cherries
for the frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp maraschino cherry juice
1/2 tsp almond extract
1-3 Tbsp milk
12 maraschino cherries with stems
Allow butter and egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with paper liners.
Preheat oven to 350.
In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, soda and salt. In a small bowl combine buttermilk and cherry juice; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, vanilla, and almond extract and beat until combined. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to batter, mixing until just combined.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about half full. Gently press a cherry into the center of each cup.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, for the frosting:
Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup of the powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in maraschino cherry juice and almond extract. Gradually beat in additional powdered sugar. If necessary, beat in additional juice or milk, a little at a time until frosting reaches spreadable consistency.
Pipe or spread the frosting on to the cooled cupcakes. Top with a stemmed cherry.