Cherry Almond Cupcakes

It was a rough week last week.  And that calls for cupcakes.

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I had to go to the car dealership because my car was involved in a recall, and I HATE going to the car dealership.  It is one of my least favorite tasks.  I always feel like they’re trying to rip me off by telling me I need some service or something checked.  How do I know if I really need what they’re telling me I do?  I don’t know a whole lot about car maintenance.  I worry they try to take advantage of me because I’m a girl.

My bathroom sink was running very slowly, so I thought I’d try the old baking soda and vinegar trick on it and ended up clogging it completely.  Smooth move.  I borrowed a plunger from my super because I only had the toilet bowl type of plunger, but couldn’t fix it.  So I called my super, and he was able to work some plunger magic and unclog my drain.  Hooray!  I don’t have to wash my hands in the tub anymore!

The gym where I go to yoga on Wednesdays shut down suddenly, unbeknownst to me and I showed up for yoga to find the place deserted.  That was weird.  Went on Facebook to message the instructor only to realize that she had tried to contact me about it a couple of weeks ago, but Facebook failed to notify me of the message until after I had sent me “What’s going on?” message.  Ugh.

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And the government has lost my identity.  I’ve been affected by the Student Loan missing hard drive incident.  They don’t know what happened to the hard drive and it’s either lost or stolen.  So there might be another fake me out there somewhere, ruining my credit score and stealing all my money.  Hopefully not.  Maybe it’ll be like that episode of Friends where someone steals Monica’s credit card and Monica decides she’d rather live like the fake Monica.  Perhaps I could make a new best friend.

So anyway, these cupcakes.

They’re really, really, REALLY good.  I halved the original recipe and only ended up with 11 cupcakes, and I wish I had made like a million because I wanted to keep eating them forever!  And the frosting!  Oh the frosting!  I ate that stuff straight from the pastry bag (after I was finished frosting the cupcakes of course).  Yum-mee.

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They kind of remind me of the Betty Crocker Cherry Bit cake my mom used to make me for my birthday.  As I got older, it became my favorite kind of cake, and I always requested it!

My frosting consistency wasn’t as firm as i had hoped, and it didn’t hold its shape very well.  I was kind of pressed for time, so I went with what I had.  Please don’t hold that against them.

I actually made them for my mom’s birthday back in December, but I wish I’d had one to eat this weekend.  I had to settle for a couple of glasses of wine, a leftover sweet potato burger, and Bridget Jones’s Diary to cheer me up.

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Cherry-Almond Cupcakes

Makes 11-12 cupcakes

(quantities adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications Cupcakes 2011)

1/4 cup butter

2 egg whites

1 cup flour

1/8 tsp baking soda

6 tbsp buttermilk

2 tbsp + 2 tsp maraschino cherry juice (from the jar of the cherries)

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp almond extract

6 maraschino cherries + 11 maraschino cherries with stems for garnish

Bring butter and egg whites to room temperature for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare cupcake pan with liners.

Mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda together in a medium bowl.  Mix the buttermilk and juice together in a small bowl, set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed for about 30 seconds.  Add in the sugar, vanilla, and almond extract and continue to beat until combined.  Add the egg whites, one at a time, beating in between.  Add half the flour mixture, alternating with half the buttermilk mixture to the mixer, and beat on low speed until just combined in between each addition.  Continue until all ingredients added.

Scoop into prepared cupcake pan.  Press a cherry into each cupcake.

Bake for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Once cooled, frost with cherry almond buttercream and garnish with a stemmed cherry.

Cherry Almond Buttercream

(also slightly adapted from BHG)

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1/4 cup shortening

4 cups icing sugar

3 tbsp maraschino cherry juice

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla

Beat the butter and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer for about two minutes until fluffy.  Add cherry juice and extracts and mix to combine.  Add in the icing sugar, one cup at a time, mixing well, until you reach desired consistency.  May need to add additional icing sugar or cherry juice if frosting is too runny or to thick.

IMG_4742Happy Monday!  Here’s to a better week!

**P.S. Shout out to my sister for contributing this fab cupcake cutting board she found at Frenchy’s.  Thanks!**

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