Check out these sexy puppies. I made them as a killing-two-birds-with-one-stone for both Valentine’s Day and Mags’ and Papa John’s joint birthday. So very very good.
For the cupcakes, preheat your oven to 350°F and line a 12-capacity muffin tin with cupcake liners. I used fancy schmancy pink polka dot ones. Because I am that cool.
Drain a 375mL jar of maraschino cherries, reserving the juice. Let the cherries dry a bit on a paper towel before roughly chopping them.
In a large bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 cup fine cocoa.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons cherry juice, 2 eggs, 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, 3/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 1/2 cup milk.
Add the flour mixture to the liquid and beat until smooth.
Fold in the chopped cherries.
Drop into cupcake cups until about 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the centre cupcake comes out clean. Let cool slightly in the pan and then remove to a rack to cool completely.
I ended up having enough after my doubled recipe to make a wee sheet cake as well.
For the ganache, in a double boiler, melt together 2 ounces chocolate (your choice) with 1/4 cup whipping cream. Whisk until fully combined and chill for 30-40 minutes (any longer and you might have trouble spreading it).
For the icing, we’re going with our old favourite. Beat together 1 cup room temperature butter with 1 250g package room temperature cream cheese until fully combined and un-lumpy.
Slowly add in about 2 cups icing sugar (more if you want it more stiff) and a few tablespoons cherry juice (from the jar of maraschinos).
For the garnish, take 12 cherries, fresh or maraschino (but with stems if you can) and dip them in a couple ounces melted chocolate.
Let those cool on a sheet of waxed paper until solid.
To put it all together, take your cooled cupcakes and spread a little ganache on top as a chocolatey base.
Chuck them in the fridge for a few minutes to set.
Shove your cream cheese icing into a piping bag and squeeze it out all over your cupcakes.
Save yourself some heartache and buy a decent bag, too.
I’m sure you can do a more artistic job than this, but I’m also sure it will taste the same regardless.
Top with a chocolate-dipped cherry and serve. SO AWESOME.
And here’s the sheet cake with the leftover icing.