CHERRY CHOCOLATEY CHIPPY CUPCAKES
Ingredients – Batter
Ingredients – Frosting
Instructions – Batter
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line cupcake tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
Using your favorite mixer, cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed (about 4 minutes) until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined. Reducing to a lower speed to low, alternate adding the flour mixture and sour cream (or yogurt) until incorporated.
Using a spatula, gently fold in cherries and chocolate chips. This batter will be somewhat dense.
Evenly pour batter into cupcake tins; about 2/3 full each and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes. Ovens and heat distribution vary so cooking times will vary, too. Insert a toothpick in the center of a cupcake; if it comes out clean, they are done. Let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan and transferring them to a cooling rack. Cupcakes should be completely cool before frosting.
Instructions - Frosting
Combine butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer and beat until creamy and smooth. Add vanilla extract and stir well to combine. With the mixer on low, gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined. *More sugar will make the frosting not only sweeter but also more heavy and stiff. So, depending on your preference for sweetness, add the powdered sugar at your judgement. Remember, it’s best to start conservatively and increase as you taste.
To achieve this beautiful frosted look, use a Closed Star piping tip. Use a paring knife, peeler, or box grater to make the chocolate shavings from your favorite bar of dark chocolate. And, of course don’t forget the cherry on top!
Remove pits from 1 cup of the cherries and place them in a small food processor with lemon zest and sugar. Finely mix and chop and set aside. Be sure to at least 4 of your most picture-perfect whole cherries to be used as garnish later. Remove pits from remaining cherries and slice into halves. Combine the heavy cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar (or agave) in a bowl and using an electric mixer, whip the mixture. Start with minimal sweetness; taste; and adjust to your liking before continuing to whip the cream until soft peaks form. Two ways to serve: you may gently layer, alternating cream, cherry sauce, cream or, you may lightly fold the cherry sauce into the cream mixture and scoop the servings into your prettiest martini glass. May be served immediately or may be covered tightly and chilled. Regardless, don’t forget to garnish with a bring green sprig of mint and a few beautiful cherries.