Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes
February: Washington’s Birthday/Lincoln’s Birthday/Presidents’ Day (third Monday in February)
The first president of the United States of America is often associated with cherries. George Washington chopping down a cherry tree as a child and admitting the truth that he did it is actually a myth. His name is also linked to the state that is the largest supplier of the fruit in the country. The close dates of the birthdays of Washington (February 22, 1732) and another great and reputably honest president, Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809), are observed together annually as Presidents’ Day on the third Monday of February.
Pretty please, with a cherry on top, celebrate this national holiday with chocolate cherry cola cupcakes. We chose to make this dessert for this blog post because it is both National Cherry Month and National Chocolate Month as well. Two fabulous flavors, two presidential birthdays, one delightful dessert! Indulge!
(Adapted from Betty Crocker)
For the chocolate cherry cola cupcakes
- 2 jars of maraschino cherries (with or without stems)
- 1 box devil’s food cake mix
- 1 cup cherry cola carbonated beverage
- ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
- 3 eggs
Drain the cherries, reserving some of the juice for the frosting recipe and also saving around 30 cherries for the topping. Chop the remaining cherries into little pieces and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix and moisten with cherry cola.
Add the oil, eggs and ¼ cup cherry juice. Mix well. Fold in the chopped cherries.
Scoop batter no more than 2/3 full into cupcake papers lining a muffin pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 25-35 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: Approximately 30 cupcakes.
For the cherry buttercream frosting
- 1 stick (½ cup) butter, softened
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon cherry flavor/extract
- 4+ tablespoons maraschino cherry juice (reserved from above)
- red food coloring (optional)
Cream the butter with the sugar until smooth. Add the cherry extract and mix well.
Tint to the desired shade of pink with a few drops of red food coloring (optional). Thin the frosting to spreadable/piping consistency with the cherry juice. Frost the cupcakes (or use tip 1M and a pastry bag to pipe swirls).
For the cherry topping and chocolate ganache drizzles
- maraschino cherries, dried
- 4 ounces chocolate (we used one bar of Baker’s brand chocolate)
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
Wash and dry the remaining 30 maraschino cherries, gently squeezing out the excess juice. Dry on paper towels. Melt the chocolate. Stir in the cream until smooth and well blended.
Allow the ganache to cool and thicken (this may take several minutes, depending on the room temperature; may speed up the process by refrigerating but watch carefully for the consistency). Pour a spoonful of the ganache over the chocolate and allow to drip down the sides. Top with a maraschino cherry.
- Many boxed cake mixes used to by 18.25 ounces. Nowadays they are 15.25-16.5 ounces. Add six tablespoons of flour to the cake mix to compensate for the difference.
- Double the recipe for the frosting and ganache if decorating the cupcakes in a full and fancy style.
- The reserved maraschino cherry juice could be substituted for the cherry cola, kirsch or water.