Vanilla and cherry cupcakes
Despite the weather in the mid-Atlantic being gray, wet, and dreary, I decided to look to sunshine and summer for my inspiration for this cupcake. Baked for a late-December baby shower for my co-worker and fellow sassy lady Julie, I kept things light, and let the natural color of the sour cherries celebrate that she and her husband are having a little baby girl.

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Because I am the most appropriate when decorating for a baby shower…the first shower I did for Julie had a banner that read “Yay!” This time, it was “Whoo!”

Sour cherries can be tricky to work with in a buttercream due to their liquid content — that’s why it’s important to cook them for a bit, then remove them from any of the juices that don’t cook down and cling to the actual fruit. Otherwise, you end up with a sad, watery buttercream, and no one wants that.


Sweet Summertime Vanilla and Cherry Cupcakes
Yield: 28 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients
• 2 1/2 cups flour
• 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 cup oil
• 4 eggs
• 1 cup whole milk
• 2 tbsp vanilla

Buttercream Ingredients
• 2 cups cherries (I used frozen sour cherries that I had picked last summer and froze)
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 2 1/2 to 3 cups confectioners sugar
• 1 tbsp cream (if needed for consistency)

Directions
Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks toward the center. Line pans with cupcake papers.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.

Whisk the egg for 20 seconds, then add the sugar and whisk an additional 30 seconds until thick and frothy.

Add the oil and vanilla, and beat until combined. Alternate the flour mixture and whole milk and beat until combined.

Divide the batter between wrappers in cupcake tins and bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

For the frosting, first heat the cherries over medium high heat until liquid is reduced. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the cherries into a food processor and pulse to chop, leaving behind the extra cherry juices. Add the butter and 1 cup of sugar, beating until combined. Add the remaining sugar gradually and cream. Transfer to a stand mixer and whip until light and fluffy.

Fit piping bag with a star tip (or your favorite), and pipe buttercream onto cupcakes. Enjoy!