Easy Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

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cherriesfrosting tipfrostedEasy Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

Easy Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
These cupcakes aren’t just easy. They are also moist, light, chocolate-y, and irresistible. The frosting, adapted from a recipe by the late James Beard, is one of the easiest and best I know. Use a sour cream without a lot of added gums, which can affect the texture of the frosting. If you want to make these vegan all the way, frost the cupcakes with Chocolate Tofu Pudding, chilled until thick enough to spread. Light-skinned, blushing Queen Anne or Rainier cherries make the prettiest toppers.
Makes: 12 cupcakes
What You'll Need
  • Cupcakes
  • 36 firm-ripe cherries, at least 12 with stems
  • 1 tablespoon kirsch
  • 1⅓ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 5 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Frosting
  • 1½ cups (9 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60 to 70 percent cacao), chopped
  • 1½ cups sour cream or crème fraîche, at room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons kirsch
What To Do
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F, with a rack near the center. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper, aluminum, or silicone liners.
  2. Set aside the 12 nicest cherries with stems. Stem and pit the remaining cherries and cut into halves if small, quarters if large. Toss with the kirsch. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir in the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla until completely combined. Fold in the cherries, including any juices in the bowl.
  4. Use a scoop to divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center of a cupcake tests clean, about 30 minutes.
  5. Transfer the pan to a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then transfer the cupcakes directly to the rack to cool completely.
  6. To make the frosting: Combine the chocolate chips and the chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler over (but not touching) gently simmering water and melt, stirring as needed, until completely melted and perfectly smooth. (Or, melt in a microwave oven.)
  7. Remove the top of the double boiler from the heat and stir in the sour cream and kirsch until well combined.
  8. Set aside to firm up until spreadable, about 20 minutes.
  9. To finish: Using an icing spatula or a pastry bag fitted with a no.16 star tip or your preferred tip for frosting, frost the cooled cupcakes.
  10. Top each cupcake with a reserved cherry while the frosting is still soft. Serve immediately, or let stand for up to 2 hours before serving.
  11. Refrigerate leftover cupcakes, tightly covered, for up to 2 days.
Farm Journal: C. J. Olson Cherries suggests squeezing a cut lemon over your hands to remove stains from pitting and cutting cherries. For stained clothing, pretreat with a stain-removing spray and be sure to wash in cold water.

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