I recently re-pinned on one of my Pinterest boards a pin that says, “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy cupcakes. And that’s kind of the same thing.” I think that’s true—except, I wouldn’t buy cupcakes. I’d make them. But, this saying isn’t too far off from hitting the mark. Everyone’s idea of happiness is not the same. I get that. But, a lot of people, myself included, find a great deal of happiness by relishing the “little things” in life. Like driving in the car with the windows down and music up, without a care in the world. Wearing a favorite pair of blue jeans. Being surrounded by the people I love.
Or when I take a zillion shots with my camera while I’m baking, and one of them turns out kind of cool. I took this picture of the cherries on my cutting board while I was experimenting with this recipe. I like how it turned out, which made me pretty happy. Then, I realized that my photography has gotten a lot better in a short amount of time. (If you take a look at some of my earlier posts, you’ll see that I knew nothing about lighting or food styling.) That made me really happy.
Another “little thing” that I treasure is seeing other people smile. Ever notice that most children smile when they look at a cupcake? It’s true. Lots of grown-ups do, too. Cupcakes make (most) people happy. So, it is in this spirit that I share with you my recipe for Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes. Why not make these yummy treats, share them, and spread a little happiness of your own?
Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes
For the cupcakes: I used my “go to” Chocolate Cake recipe. It has never failed me, and it’s delicious. Why reinvent the wheel?
Cherry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 egg whites
1 cup and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
dash of salt
1/2 cup maraschino cherries
2-3 tablespoons maraschino cherries syrup
Before you start making the buttercream, take the maraschino cherries and maraschino cherries syrup and puree them in your food processor. Set them aside.
Place the egg whites and the granulated sugar in a heat-proof bowl to your stand mixer. Hand whisk the eggs and sugar until combined. Then, place the bowl over a pot of boiling water on your stove. Whisk continuously until this mixture reaches 160 degrees (use a candy thermometer) and the granulated sugar has dissolved. (If you need a visual of this process, take a look at my post for Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes. The process for making that buttercream is the same for this recipe.)
Remove from heat and place the bowl under your stand mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Beat the mixture on high speed until it holds stiff peaks. Continue beating the mixture for about 5 minutes, until it is fluffy. Then, remove the whisk attachment and place the paddle attachment onto your mixer. Start your mixer on medium-low speed (4 on your Kitchen Aid), and add several butter tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition.
After all of the butter has been added, the frosting will appear to separate. Bump up the speed on your mixer to a medium high speed (6 on your Kitchen Aid), and keep beating for about 3-4 minutes. It will come together beautifully.
Add the maraschino cherries puree, salt, and vanilla. Then, reduce your mixer speed to the lowest setting (2 on your Kitchen Aid) to eliminate any air bubbles. Finally, stir with a spatula until the frosting is smooth. Frost your cupcakes and add your desired garnish.