Cherry-Almond Vanilla Cupcakes

I made something non-chocolatey for you non-chocolate-loving people (weirdos).

Also, because change of pace is nice. And because even I sometimes get tired of chocolate (whaat? Crazy, I know).

These cupcakes are a breeze to make. And-bonus!- I had all of the ingredients. And- other bonus!- making these would allow me to finally get rid of the half-used bottle of maraschino cherries I’ve had in the fridge for far too long. (They have too many preservatives to go bad right? Yeah…we’ll go with that.)

So we’ve discussed my new-found love for almond extract, and for a while I’ve been thinking it would probably go well with cherry, so when I found these I knew they couldn’t possibly be bad. And they’re not. But they are rich, so be warned. Super yummy, but super sweet.

And super pink…in a good way. I kinda think they’d be perfect for a little girl’s birthday party. You know, because all girls love pink, right? (I have a boy. What do I know?)

Cherry-Almond Vanilla Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes
adapted from Baking with Blondie

Cupcake Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
4 egg whites, room temperature
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup maraschino cherry juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
24 maraschino cherries (48 if you also want to use them as garnish)

Frosting Ingredients:
1 cup butter, room temperature
4-6 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
1 teaspoon almond extract

Directions:
To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake tins with liners and set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a small bowl, also combine the buttermilk and the maraschino cherry juice. Set both aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, vanilla, and almond extract and beat to combine. On low speed, add the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour, and beating well after each addition.
Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Place a cherry into the center of each cup. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

To make the frosting: Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium high speed for about 5 minutes. (It should be nice and fluffy.) Add the maraschino cherry juice and almond extract and mix. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until you reach the desired consistency (I used 5 1/2 cups). If you add too much, simply add milk a tablespoon at a time until it is thinned out enough for you. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with another cherry, if desired.

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