Thursday, April 07, 2011

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes + Giveaway!

My Dad called me this morning. He wanted to talk about the weather.

I love it.

I pulled up a stool in the antique shop in where I was ogling cookie cutters and told him all about the sun and warm Spring days we have in the desert.

He was walking the beach, collecting treasures and explaining to me that his greenhouse is bursting at the seams with petunias and marigolds and it was going to rain in approximately 38.7 hours. We listen to these weather forecasts, he has an amazing way of predicting the elements. Seriously. He wanted to know about our sweet old black dog.

Life is chocked full of little blessings, like a phone call at 10:30 in the morning from my dad.

A friend from Bellingham called me yesterday on her way home from work just to say she missed me.

This little blessing brought tears to my eyes. She would probably lick the frosting off at least three of these cupcakes.  I miss her more than she will ever know.

I found an old love letter from J. tucked away in a book. I was worthless for a good 30 minutes after reading his tender hand written words.

Sometimes all it takes are some kind words, a simple hello to a stranger on the street, smiling as you make your way through town, a phone call to a friend just to hear their soothing voice or just to hear about the weather 350 miles away.

To seal the deal, to show them your real sweet side, bake a dozen cupcakes. Works like a charm.

Chocolate Cover Cherry Cupcakes.

Your relationship will go to new heights. Dense, hand held, cherry speckled cakes topped with a balanced chocolate butter cream. Chocolate covered cherries - cupcake style.


Totally inspired or high on sugar from Olvatine (which I eat with a spoon) and cherries from a jar, I made a fancy new card to go with the cupcakes. It is card #7 over here.

cheer·i·o (Exclamation). Used as an expression of good wishes on parting; goodbye. Used as a toast

 Here is the deal. Keep in touch. I will help. Leave a comment telling us one person you want to reconnect with, you don't even need to name people if you don't desire. I will randomly pick a commenter Sunday night and send them three of my personalized greeting cards to help you keep in touch. 

Thank you for your sweet comments!

Congrats Heather of Girlchef - I will send you a handful of fancy little cards to help keep in touch!

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes 

Adapted from King Arthur's Flour

Makes 12 standard size cupcakes

I decided to use a POM Wonderful's 100% Pomegranate Juice Concentrate to enhance the fruity flavor of the cherry speckled cake. The deep dark pomegranate concentrate imparts a pink hue through out the batter, making it a natural food coloring. The flavor works a bit of magic with the cherry and both pair well with chocolate.

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons POM Wonderful's 100% Pomegranate Juice Concentrate
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup milk, room temperature

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with papers.

    Beat the butter and sugar in a stand or held held mixer until the batter lightens in color and texture, about 90 seconds.
    Add the oil, and beat until the mixture is light, around 60 seconds. 
    Beat in the cherries, salt, baking powder, baking soda, almond extract, and pomegranate juice concentrate until combined. 
    Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.
    Gently beat in the flour, alternating it with the milk.
    Divide the batter among the cups. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until cupcakes are very light brown and test done with a cake tester.
    Remove the cupcakes from the oven and after 5 minutes, transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

    The Best Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting

    Straight from the mouth of Joy the Baker

    Check out the secret ingredient... This recipe will make double the amount of frosting you need for the above recipe. Double the cupcake recipe or save the rest of the frosting in the fridge for another adventure.
    makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes or one 8-inch layer cake
    1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons milk
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1/3 cup Ovaltine
    Cream together butter, cocoa powder and salt. Butter mixture will be very thick. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add powdered sugar. Turn mixer on low and mix in powdered sugar while adding milk and vanilla extract. As the sugar incorporates, raise the speed of the mixer to beat the frosting. Beat until smooth. In a 1-cup measuring glass, stir together heavy cream and Ovaltine. Turn mixer speed to medium and pour cream mixture into frosting in a slow, steady stream, until you’ve reached your desired consistency.  You may not need the full amount of Ovaltine and cream.  Spread or pipe onto cupcakes. 

    ** POM Wonderful's 100% Pomegranate Juice Concentrate was provided courtesy of POM Wonderful**


    1. Man, oh MAN! Do those cupcakes look yummers! And what is this sun you speak of?

      I'm way over due for sending a note to my 95 year old grandmother..... shame on me!

    2. Mmmmmmmm,Ovaltine! I haven't had that since I was a kid.

    3. Not a fan of Ovaltine. My mother would drink it when I was a child but I preferred Nestle's Quik. Now my daughter and granddaughter have discovered Ovaltine via a friend and absolutely love it. Never thought of using it in baking.

      Life if very good; I'm baking a batch of brownies right now on a cold, rainy Friday in California.

    4. These cupcakes would definitely bridge the distance between me and a few people that I should be keeping in touch with. I know that one person in particular is an old friend from college who (through my own assholery...can I say that on here?) I fell out of touch with. I'm working my way up to finding her again...