Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

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!

Recipe

(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

Directions

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.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

Add the oil, eggs and ¼ cup cherry juice. Mix well. Fold in the chopped cherries.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

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.

Chocolate Cherry Cola 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)

Directions

Cream the butter with the sugar until smooth. Add the cherry extract and mix well.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

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).

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

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

Directions

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.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

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.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes 

Notes

  • 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.

 

Cherry Popovers

Cherry Popovers

September 1: National Cherry Popover Day

We admit that we spent a little money on a few specialized kitchen gadgets and baking pans over the years for fun cooking projects. Highlander bought a cherry pitter so he could make cherry pies with fresh fruit instead of canned filling. Islander bought a popover pan so she could bake popovers for breakfast or brunch. While both items have come in handy, they are not necessary to make cherry popovers. Use a knife to slice the seeds out of the cherries and use a muffin tin/cupcake pan to bake the popovers. The cherry popovers turn out tasty and terrific either way! Prepare some popovers with a fresh cherry filling for National Cherry Popover Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Care2)

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • powdered sugar

Directions

Pit the cherries and set aside. Alternatively, slice out the seeds and dry the cherries with paper towels.

Cherry Popovers

Melt the butter. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and milk. Pour in the melted butter and stir until smooth. Beat the eggs into the batter. Fold in the cherries. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes.

Cherry Popovers

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Butter the wells and top of a 6-cup popover pan (or a 12-cup muffin tin/cupcake pan). Fill the wells with the batter about ¾ to the top, leaving room for it to rise and “pop over” the top of the pan. Bake for 20 minutes without opening the oven door, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and invert the popovers onto paper towels to soak up any grease. Arrange them on a plate or bowl and generously sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve hot.

Cherry Popovers

Notes

  • The batter yields enough for 8 cherry popovers.
  • Instead of cherries, use blueberries as a popover filling. See the sweeter recipe for blueberry popovers on National Blueberry Popover Day on March 10.
  • Try cherry turnovers as an alternative to cherry popovers. See the recipe on National Cherry Turnover Day on August 28.
  • Search our blog for a bunch of other cherry recipes.

Cherry Turnovers

Cherry Turnovers

August 28: National Cherry Turnover Day

As an alternative to cherry pie or tarts, Highlander indulges in cherry turnovers once in a while. Like his favorite cherry pie pockets, these sweet snacks are portable and petite and an easy-to-make treat! These dessert dumplings are prepared with puff pastry encasing cherry pie filling. The technique is to “turn over” the puff pastry squares into triangular shapes, hence the name. Try this turnover recipe for a tasty pastry on National Cherry Turnover Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Group Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 1 package (17.25 ounces) frozen puff pastry (we used Pepperidge Farm brand)
  • 1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
  • 1 egg + 1 teaspoon water, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk, water or kirsch (cherry liqueur)

Directions

Thaw the frozen puff pastry according to the package directions. Unfold each sheet on a lightly floured surface. Lightly press finger to smooth out the folded creases. Cut each sheet into quarters for a total of eight squares. Drain the cherry pie filling in a colander.

Cherry Turnovers

Spoon the filling in the middle of each puff pastry square. Moisten the edges with egg wash. Turn over and fold the pastry square in half to make a triangle; repeat for all.

Cherry Turnovers

Seal the edges with the tines of a fork. Cut small slits with a knife to vent the turnovers. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been lightly greased with cooking spray. Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and puffed. Remove from the oven.

Cherry Turnovers

Meanwhile, in a bowl, make the glaze by stirring the milk/water/kirsch into the powdered sugar until smooth. Place in a zip-top plastic bag. Snip a small hole at the point of the bag. Drizzle the glaze over the cherry turnovers. Let set slightly. Serve while warm.

Cherry Turnovers

Notes

  • Instead of drizzling glaze over the baked turnovers, try sprinkling a bit of turbinado/coarse sugar or sliced almonds on top of the egg wash before baking them.
  • Check out other cherry recipes by searching our blog.