Friday, March 1, 2013

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes

At the request of a coworker whose out-of-town boyfriend was coming to visit for Valentine’s Day, I made her a batch of Valentine’s cupcakes.  She liked my suggestion of something with chocolate and cherries, and so I decided on a “Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcake” since this combination is very "Valentinesy".

I started with a very moist chocolate cupcake (sour cream is the key ingredient for moisture) flavored with a little tart cherry juice.  Then I dipped each cupcake in a coat of smooth bittersweet ganache to make them extra decadent.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes
Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes

For the buttercream, I reduced the tart cherry juice down to a syrup, and after cooling it, I mixed it right into the buttercream.  The cherry reduction gave the buttercream a beautiful dark pink color, and the tartness offset the sweet frosting perfectly.

I finished each cupcake with a maraschino cherry, various festive sprinkles, and even a ganache drizzle on a few.  I didn’t get to taste one of these, but I liked admiring just how pretty they were, and got rave reviews later on the finished cupcake!

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes
printable recipe

  • 1 box devil's food cake mix
  • 1/2 cup Hershey's special dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream (full fat)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup tart cherry juice
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (60% cacao is good)
  • 5 ounces (1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons) heavy whipping cream 
cherry buttercream:
  • 1 cup tart cherry juice, reduced to 1/3 cup
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk  
  • maraschino cherries
  • sprinkles or sparkling sugar 

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a muffin pan with 24 paper liners.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all of the cake ingredients on low speed, then beat for 3 minutes on medium speed.  Spoon the batter into the paper liners.  Bake on the middle rack, rotating the pans once, for 14-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs (don't overbake). 

Cool in the pans for 2 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack, cover with a clean kitchen towel and cool completely.

Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl.  Pour the cream into a small saucepan and heat gently over medium low heat, just until bubbles form around the edges.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for 3 minutes.

Gently stir the chocolate and cream together with a spatula, until it becomes smooth and shiny. 

Take a cupcake and dip it into the ganache so that the top is completely covered; lightly shake off the excess.  Repeat with all the cupcakes, using a spatula if needed to help spread the last of the ganache on the cupcakes.

Set aside, and let the ganache set for 10 minutes before piping on the buttercream.

Cherry Buttercream:
A few hours before (or the night before) making the buttercream, pour the cherry juice into a saucepan and reduce to 1/3 cup over medium heat.  Cool completely.

To make the buttercream, place the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat the butter and cherry syrup (reduced juice) together.  In a separate bowl, combine the powdered sugar and meringue powder.  Add gradually to the mixer on low speed until mostly incorporated.  Add the vanilla and a little milk to moisten the buttercream, then whip on medium speed for 4-5 minutes until very light and fluffy, adding additional milk as needed to achieve a smooth and creamy consistency for piping.

Pipe onto the ganache-covered cupcakes and garnish with sprinkles.  If you have any leftover ganache, you can drizzle that over the buttercream also.

Yields 24 cupcakes

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen


  1. I made these! I purchased just enough cherry juice, and burnt my reduction; oops! I didn't have time to go back to the store and try again, so I improvised. I drained 1/3 C of the maraschino liquid and used that for my frosting. These cupcakes were amazing. They truly tasted like a chocolate covered cherry!

    1. I've burnt many reduction sauces myself. I'm so glad it all worked out, though!

  2. Where can you buy the tart cherry juice?

    1. I found it at my regular grocery store on the juice aisle. I shop at Kroger/King Soopers.

  3. This looks sooooooooooooo sinful and rich and delicious = perfect dessert!!

  4. Is there any particular brand of cherry juice you'd reccomend? & is it a normal fruit juice like apple juice?


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