These Fresh and Moist Cherry Cupcakes are the perfect summer dessert! Made with fresh cherries, these fluffy cupcakes have the sweet and tart flavor of cherries and are topped with homemade maraschino cherry buttercream frosting! This recipe makes 12 perfect cherry cupcakes!
As a trained pastry chef I love finding new ways to use fresh ingredients, like cherries in recipes. These cherry cupcakes are definitely a winner. They are simple, delicious, and easy to make.
The base of these cupcakes are my classic homemade vanilla cupcake recipe just with fresh cherries added in. You could even take my chocolate cupcakes and add cherries to make them almost like a black forest cupcake!
We’re not done here though. The cherry buttercream frosting is what really takes these cupcakes over the top! It’s made with maraschino cherry juice, butter, and powdered sugar and it is the perfect complement to these cupcakes.
The maraschino juice adds a light pink color, and a sweet cherry flavor. I dont like using fresh fruit in frostings because they usually add too much moisture. In this case maraschino juice is perfect!
Cherries are typically in season from May to August and I’m so excited to make these cherry cupcakes!
WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE
- A great way to use fresh in-season cherries!
- These cupcakes are moist, fluffy, and have the perfect balance of sweet and tart.
- The cherry buttercream frosting is made with sweet cherry juice and is so good, that you’ll want to eat it by the spoonful!
- This recipe is perfect for summer potlucks, BBQs, or any time you’re craving a fruity dessert!
- All-Purpose Flour – This dry ingredient gives the cupcakes their structure and helps blend the rest of the baking ingredients together to create a cupcake batter.
- Baking Soda & Baking Powder – These two leavening agents are both needed to help the cupcakes rise and become fluffy.
- Salt – Activates the baking soda and baking powder while also contrasting the sweet flavors in the cupcake.
- Unsalted Butter – Adds a moist and dense texture to the base of the cake while providing rich buttery flavor.
- Granulated Sugar – Gives the base of the cupcakes their sweetness along with the cherries.
- Egg & Egg White – Adds richness to the batter and also helps the cupcakes set properly while baking.
- Vanilla Extract – This complimentary flavor helps warm up the cupcake perfectly.
- Buttermilk – Turns the cupcake into a wet batter providing a touch more acidity to create a more tender crumb.
- Fresh Cherries – The star of the show, fresh cherries add a beautiful red color along with natural cherry flavor and sweetness.
- Garnish – You can use fresh cherries or maraschino cherries to give these cupcakes a beautiful garnish.
Cherry Buttercream Frosting
- Unsalted Butter – Makes up the base of the frosting giving its creamy and rich texture along with buttery flavor. Learn how to soften butter quickly.
- Confectioners Sugar – Mixes in with the butter to thicken it and give it a sweet flavor.
- Maraschino Cherry Juice – Adds a bright pink color along with a sweet cherry flavor to complement the cupcakes.
- Milk – Helps thin out the frosting to the proper consistency while keeping it rich and creamy.
HOW TO MAKE FRESH CHERRY CUPCAKES
Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.
Combine dry ingredients: In a medium-size bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt with a whisk.
Cream the butter and sugar: Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix until fluffy on medium speed, then add the sugar. Mix for an additional 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs: Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the eggs and egg whites. Mix into the batter for one minute on medium speed.
Combine wet and dry ingredients: To the stand mixer, add 1/3 of the dry mixture followed by 1/2 the buttermilk. Alternate adding while mixing making sure to end on dry ingredients. Do not overmix.
Prepare the cherries: Add the diced pitted cherries to a small bowl and sprinkle the remaining flour on top. Toss to coat, then add to the cupcake batter by folding in with a rubber spatula.
Bake and cool: Using a 3 tablespoon cookie scoop, fill the muffin liners 3/4 of the way with cherry cupcake batter. Bake for 21-22 minutes or until the cupcakes are set. Let them cool completely while you make the frosting.
Cream the butter and sugar: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and confectioners sugar and mix on low speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
Add the cherry flavor: Add in maraschino cherry juice and ½ tsp milk, and mix again until combined and fluffy.
Frost the cupcakes: Decorate the cooled cupcakes using a piping bag and a large star tip then garnish with fresh or maraschino cherries.
TIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS
- Don’t overmix the batter: Overmixing the batter will result in tough cupcakes. Mix until just combined otherwise the cupcakes might sink in the oven.
- Let the butter and eggs come to room temperature: Room temperature ingredients mix together much easier and produce a more consistent cupcake batter.
- Coat the cherries in flour: This small step helps to keep the fresh cherries from sinking to the bottom of the cupcakes while baking. Don’t skip it!
- Let the cupcakes cool before frosting: It’s important to let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting so the buttercream doesn’t melt right off.
- Use a piping bag and star tip: This is my favorite way to pipe on the cherry buttercream, but you can also spread it on with a knife if you don’t have these tools.
- Only fill 3/4 full: Overfilling the cupcake liners will result in spillover while baking. Fill them just shy of the top for the perfect cupcake.
You can substitute the fresh cherries for maraschino cherries but beware that it will make the cupcakes more on the sweet side.
This cupcake recipe makes 12 perfect cherry cupcakes.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
Storage: Frosted cupcakes will last in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to one week. Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.
Freezing: Freeze unfrosted cupcakes in a freezer-safe zip-top bag for up to three months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bring to room temperature before frosting.
Do I have to use fresh cherries? I use fresh cherries in this recipe but you can use frozen or canned cherries too. Make sure to thaw, drain, and dry the cherries well before baking with them!
Do you use the maraschino cherries in the frosting? Nope! I just use the juice to add color and flavor. You can garnish the cupcake with the maraschino cherry if you want to!
Can I make these into mini cupcakes? Yes you can! Dice the cherries super small and add them to the batter. Line a mini muffin tray with mini muffin liners and fill 3/4 way with batter. Bake for 12 minutes. Top with the cherry frosting!
MORE DELICIOUS CUPCAKES
Fresh and Moist Cherry Cupcakes
- 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour 120g + 1 tablespoon separated
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter (113g) softened to room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
- 1 egg (50g)
- 2 egg white (70g)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup buttermilk at room temperature (118mL)
- ½ lb cherries pitted and halved.
- 12 cherries for garnish
Cherry Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened 227 g
- 4 cups confectioners sugar 454 g
- 1 tbsp maraschino cherry juice
- ½ tsp milk
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
- In a medium size bowl combine the 1 ¾ cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp baking soda, and ¼ tsp kosher salt. Whisk until combined.
- In the bowl of a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the ½ cup butter for 1 minute on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl and add 1 cup sugar.
- Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Scrape down the bowl and add the egg, 2 egg whites and 2 tsp vanilla extract.
- Mix for 1 minute on medium speed.
- Add in 1/3rd of the dry ingredients, then half of the buttermilk and alternate, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
- Mix only until combined. Do not overmix.
- Dust the pitted and diced fresh cherries with the remaining tablespoon of flour and fold into the batter with a spatula.
- Using a 3 tbsp cookie scoop, scoop the batter into the muffin liners ¾ of the way full.
- Bake for 21-22 minutes or until the cake is set. Cool completely.
Cherry Buttercream Frosting
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the 1 cup butter and 4 cups of confectioners sugar and mix on low speed.
- Mix until creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Add in maraschino cherry juice and ½ tsp milk, and mix again until combined and super fluffy.
- Decorate cupcakes using a piping bag and a large star tip then garnish with fresh or maraschino cherries.