Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cherry Chip Cupcakes with Sweet Cherry Buttercream

Today is George Washington's Birthday.  When I was in Elementary School we used to get today off to celebrate.  That was before George Washington and Abraham Lincoln's Birthdays got joined together to give us President's Day and a three day weekend.  To commemorate today, I wanted to make something cherry flavored to honor the story of Washington's honesty when he chopped down the cherry tree. To that end, I made these yummy Cherry Chip Cupcakes. They look as good as they taste.

Cherry Chip Cupcakes
Makes 1 dozen standard cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons cherry extract
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
1/2 cup sweet cherry chips, such as Log House

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter, sour cream, eggs, cherry extract, and lemon zest and mix well, until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the cherry chips, and get rid of any remaining flour by stirring the mixture by hand, with a spatula.

Place three tablespoons of batter in each prepared baking cup. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Sweet Cherry Buttercream
Makes 12 ounces

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons cherry extract (to taste)
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Beat the butter and shortening on high speed for 6 minutes, until very light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar until combined. Stir in the cherry and vanilla extracts, lemon juice, and salt. Add the heavy cream and whisk on high for 8 minutes.  Pipe onto cupcakes using your favorite piping tip.

Recipes adapted from Darla of