Cherry Cupcakes with Cherry Almond Buttercream Icing

As I was working at my computer yesterday, I had a sudden flashback to our trip to DC in the Spring - Cherry Cupcakes.  I don't know where it came from, or how I got the intense urge to recreate it instantly (did I mention I'm pregnant?!), but promptly at 4 o'clock yesterday I slammed my computer shut and headed to the store for the ingredients.  I had everything I needed except cherries, cherry extract and butter.

Unfortunately my grocery store didn't have any cherry extract... as I tried to calm the quickly rising panic, I thought - it will be fine, real cherries will be enough cherry flavor, won't they?  Maybe they'll be even better?  After nicely asking (ok, borderline harassing...) all of the grocery staff members if they were sure they didn't have cherry extract (I even asked the in-store bakery...), I surrendered and figured the real thing would have to do.   I know, I could have gone to another store, but the next closest grocery store is 10 minutes away... too much time to waste between me and the finished product.


Just as my head had tried to tell my stomach, the real cherries were enough - they were perfect.  Subtle and tangy.  The almond extract is the real star, especially in the icing.  If you have cherry extract, give it a try and let me know how it works out!

Cherry Cupcakes with Cherry Almond Buttercream Icing

1 white cake mix (prepared as directed)
1 teaspoon of almond extract
6 bing cherries, pitted and finely minced
..........
2 sticks of butter, softened
4 cups of powdered sugar
6 bing cherries, pitted and finely minced
1 teaspoon of almond extract
1 tiny drop of red food coloring

Prepare cupcake batter as directed.  Before scooping into cupcake papers, add almond extract and minced cherries.  Stir together.  Scoop cupcakes into cupcake papers/tins and bake as directed.

For frosting, put butter into your KitchenAid fitted with the paddle attachment.  Whip for 30 seconds until smooth.  Add powdered sugar and stir together slowly until it has all incorporated.  Add cherries, almond extract and food coloring.  Whip for 5 minutes on high until light and fluffy.  Add more powdered sugar to thicken, or milk to thin to desired consistency. 



 
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