Friday, February 3, 2012

Sweet Cherry Chip Cupcakes

by Darla

I have a secret, you guys.

We finally got news about where we’re transferring to!

Wait…I should back up a bit…

Okay, well, most of you know that I’m a military wife. The hubster is a Coast Guardsman. We move around a lot. So far, in the length of our *thisclose* to being 10 years of marriage, the longest we’ve lived anywhere is three years. That was only once, though, all of our other tours have been two years. Including the one that is drawing to a close now.

The exciting thing is that our next tour will be four years. Four whole years in one state, one city, one home, one kitchen!

Don’t get me wrong, I actually love moving around so much. I love getting to see new places, meet new people, and redecorate new houses. Eventually, though, it starts to get tiring. It gets harder and harder to say goodbye to those friends, and harder and harder to make temporary homes your own. We still have ten years of transfers left, but almost half of that will be in one place, and I can’t even pretend not to be delighted by this. :)

So anyway.

We finally know where we’re going, and for any of my friends out there who are also military families, you know what a relief that is…to finally know. A weight is lifted. Plans can move forward. Houses can be hunted. Yay!

Where are we going then?

I’m not telling. Yet.

I will say that we are very happy about it. We’re super excited to be going, and we can hardly wait to get there!

But.

I’ve decided to make you guys guess where we’re going! *evil snicker*

Sometime in the next few weeks, after Valentine’s Day, I’m going to bake up some clues, whip up some hints, cook up some tips. Then, you guys can give it a go, and try to guess where we’re headed. I’m sure there’ll be a fun prize for the first correct guess. ;)

In the meantime, I decided that we needed some “we-finally-know-where-we’re-going-next” celebration cupcakes. Something sweet, pretty, and happy! What better than lovely cherry chip cupcakes?

I stumbled onto these sweet cherry chips recently, and I immediately knew I had to make cherry chip cupcakes for our celebration. How could I not? Especially with Valentine’s Day coming up. They simply had to be made!

I also added cherry extract for an extra boost of cherry flavor. I used pure cherry extract, but imitation extract works just as well.

In addition to the cherry flavoring, I added just a dash of lemon zest to the cupcakes to add a hint of tartness, keeping these cupcakes from being cloyingly sweet.

The cupcakes are quick and easy to mix up, and the batter tastes wonderful. Not that I’m recommending that you eat raw cupcake batter. Not at all. At least, not if you want to have any cupcakes to eat…

I added a dash of pink food coloring to my cupcakes, for the fun of it, but you can obviously leave these as-is.

The cupcakes baked up beautifully, speckled with bright red cherry chips, and fragrant with a sweet cherry aroma. You’re whole house will smell unbelievably wonderful when you make these!

I finished them off with sweet cherry buttercream, then dressed them up for Valentine’s Day with pretty heart shaped sprinkles and chewy cherry heart candies.

Just like with the cupcakes, I added a dash of lemon to the frosting, and I think it was the right decision. The lemon juice is just subtle enough to add a lovely tartness to the cherry flavor, without making this into lemon frosting.

These turned out to be one of my favorite cupcake recipes. I usually prefer chocolate or spice cake type flavors, but this cupcake is so scrumptious, it really gives all those other recipes a run for their money.

If you’re looking for the perfect recipe for gorgeous Valentine’s Day cupcakes that are speedy and practically effortless, then these are perfectly ideal. They only take minutes to make and bake, and the frosting is just as effortless. Both recipes are also very easily doubled, and keep well, so you can make them early, if needed.

Of course, they’re wonderful for “military orders finally arriving” celebrations, or even no reason at all, too! Enjoy!

Cherry Chip Cupcakes [Printable Version]
Makes 1 dozen standard cupcakes

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups ( grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons (10 ml) cherry extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
1/2 cup sweet cherry chips, such as Gurley’s

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter, sour cream, eggs, cherry extract, and lemon zest and mix well, until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the cherry chips, and get rid of any remaining flour by stirring the mixture by hand, with a spatula.

Place three tablespoons of batter in each prepared baking cup. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Sweet Cherry Buttercream [Printable Version]
Makes 12 ounces

Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 lb. (about 2 cups or 250 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons cherry extract (to taste)
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream

Beat the butter on high speed for 6 minutes, until very light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar until combined. Stir in the cherry and vanilla extracts, lemon juice, and salt. Add the heavy cream and whisk on high for 8 minutes.

Recipes by Darla

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Caroline @ chocolate & carrots February 3, 2012 at 11:54 am

Cool! I’ve never seen cherry chips! I bet they are fantastic in these cupcakes!

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2 Dori February 3, 2012 at 11:57 am

I know I say this a lot–but I love your final nothin’ but crumbs pictures! :)

And yea for new orders! I’m a TCK (third culture kid) AND a Navy veteran…I’ve moved a lot. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m kinda diggin’ this whole “putting down roots” thing we’ve got going on now.

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3 IFeelCook February 3, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Yummy! These cupcakes look great :) Congrats for the good news!

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4 Ashley February 3, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Oh I’m so excited for you that you know! We’re waiting for A school orders right now and it’s driving me crazy that it’s supposed to be 3 months away and we have no idea if we’re actually going or not. Do we pack? Or don’t we? And I can’t WAIT to find out where we’ll be after that. It sounds like you’re super excited about the place, which makes it so much more fun. I’m excited to guess!

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5 Paula February 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm

The pictures are great! I love the colours of the cupcakes, the paper, the buttercream, the sprinkles. They’re perfect!!
And, I need these cherry chips!! I can’t believe they’re true!!

I can’t imagine where will be your new destination, but ¡¡congratulations!! Because there are four years, and cos you seem really happy with the new place :)

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6 Becki's Whole Life February 3, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Cherry Chip was my favorite cake and always my request for birthdays. It’s really hard to find these days, though. I will have to take a look to see if I can find them – maybe Amazon? I bet they would be good with just the extract. They are sooo pretty!

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7 michelle February 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm

awesome! i found similar cherry chips and used them in cookies…the cupcakes look yum and congrats on knowing your next “home”!

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8 Jane Ko February 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Wow, these look amazing!

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9 Fiona February 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Oh good grief!!! When will there be a decent cake supplies shop in Scotland…you’re not moving HERE, are you?? Do you think i could find these babies online? *wanders off to google-land*

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10 Tina@flourtrader February 3, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Cherry chips-these are perfect, just in time for Valentines! Your cupcakes do look amazing, you did a great job on decorating them.
My day was in the military and I do remember all those moves. One thing it does for you is make you more acceptable to change as well as different environments. Now I am curious as to where you are moving to..guess I will need to watch your next posts. Have a great weekend!

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11 Anna February 3, 2012 at 1:15 pm

the pictures are beautiful and the cupcakes look delicious! I’ve never seen cherry chips befor and neither I’ve tried a cherry cupcake. Now I crave some LOL

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12 SamCyn February 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I love these cherry chips…added them to my chocolate chip/walnut cookies and they were DIVINE! Luckily I’ve got some left over so that I can make these cupcakes ;)

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13 Cindy B. February 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm

I love a good guessing game, happy travel to you. The cupcakes look delish, thanks for sharing!

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14 christina @ ovenadventures February 3, 2012 at 1:43 pm

everything you make is just so darn pretty!! i’m excited to see where you’ll be off to next.

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15 Marsha February 3, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Can I make a guess? You baked cherry cupcakes – as in Washington chopped down the cherry tree, and Washington was our first president. I’m guessing Washington DC. Hope you find a new home with a fabulous kitchen.

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16 Michelle February 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I have never heard of cherry chips but I must find them now! Happy travels to you and as I am terrible at guessing games I have absolutely no idea where you could be moving to. :)

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17 Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes February 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I guess Phoenix, Arizona!

We are going to have so much fun together, baking every day and wearing matching nail polish. And Hubster will be so busy given, you know, Coast Guard… Arizona…

Ok, maybe not. But a girl can dream.

And maybe I can win the prize for guessing where you’re NOT going? I’ll take one Cherry Chip Cupcake, please.

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18 Darla February 4, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Hahahaha!! This had hubs and me both cracking up! How AMAZING would that be?!?!

I wish…

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19 The Hubster February 4, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Lol! That made me really laugh … CG AZ! :)

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20 Carol Cross February 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I’m glad you got good news.

And the cupcakes look so sweet.

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21 Becca February 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm

These look so adorable! The first and only time I’ve seen cherry chips was around Christmas. I thought so many times about grabbing a bag, but I never did, not knowing what I would use it for. Gosh darn it. :P

And I can’t wait for the clues, it seems like a fun game to play :) Guess where I’m moving to by looking at delicious food.

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22 Choc Chip Uru February 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm

These are pink cute flavoursome and a perfect valentines day cupcake!
Beautiful :)

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

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23 Paige February 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Are you going to Alaska!?!??

Cuz, that would be sweet =D. And who wouldn’t be thrilled to move here? It seems like most of the people I know stationed here are here for something like 4 years, too. So am I right?! hehe.

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24 Maria February 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Oh my goodness these are so dreamy! How can you not once make something, eh, mediocre? I am sure as heck you can’t find cherry chips in Greece. What a fantastic invention!

Congrats on getting your orders!! Can’t wait to start guessing where it is!

Maria xx
http://www.cheekypinktulip.blogspot.com

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25 Bronya February 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm

They look so yummy!

I need to move….to America, where you have all these great ingredients.

Good luck with the move

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26 Kelly M. February 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm

I am also a Coast Guard wife:) We have another ten years to go as well. Glad that you finally found out where you were moving to, and glad that you are happy with the location! I wish we were moving soon, lol. As much of a pain that moving can be, I get the itch and enjoy living in other places. This place is four years and it seems too long!!

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27 Krissy @ Krissy's Creations February 3, 2012 at 6:11 pm

These cupcakes are insane! Beautiful! SO happy for you to be in one home for 4 years :)

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28 nicole {sweet peony} February 3, 2012 at 6:32 pm

i grew up an army brat so i toootally understand the moving around thing. the older i got, the harder it was to say goodbye to my friends and start over. i wouldn’t have traded it for anything else though. i’m so anxious to hear where you got stationed! as long as you and your family are excited about it, that’s all that matters! :)

love these cupcakes by the way. so adorable :)

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29 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar February 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm

These are just the cutest!

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30 Jennifer F. February 4, 2012 at 1:31 am

Cute cupcakes!!! I have never seen cherry chips before, I bet they’re goood. :D My guess is Washington.

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31 Micupoftea February 4, 2012 at 4:18 am

How festive and charming…they look yummy!

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32 Sweetsugarbelle February 4, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Wish I knew!!! I was a Navy wife for five years and I still get teary eyed thinking about leaving friends. But I am with you. I love new places! Now spill! You’re killing me!!!

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33 Julie @ Sugarfoot Eats February 4, 2012 at 10:54 pm

1. I love your handwriting!
2. I have that Target V-Day chalkboard too.
3. Holy cow! They sell cherry chips?!

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34 Monique February 5, 2012 at 10:10 am

Congrats n the upcoming longer stay. I hope you continue to be in a warmish place.

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35 Lior February 5, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I’ve never seen cherry chips!!!! these cupcakes look so … so…. so….yummy!!!!
and… i like your blog and your stories.
Lior

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36 jo-lyn's cup cakes n' candies February 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm

THOSE.LOOK.AMAZING. I have to make those. Now, if I can just find those cherry chips and cherry essence in the little town I live in….

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37 Holli February 7, 2012 at 3:03 am

I only stumbled across you recently, but I’ve definitely enjoyed reading your post and looking at your pictures.

I have a guess where you might be stationed. My guess is Port Angeles, WA or somewhere near there (possibly La Push). The only reason I’m guessing this is because Port Angeles is my hometown and there’s a coast guard base there.

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38 Emily ~So Domesticated~ February 7, 2012 at 4:24 am

Hmmm… I’m going to guess Honolulu, HI….. since everyone is totally excited to get stationed here… we certainly were when the Coast Guard sent us here! Alas, we might possibly be transferring early, come this summer. Best of wishes on your upcoming move!

P.S. Your cupcakes look fabulous!

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39 Donna D. February 7, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I live in a CG town…soooo, I’ll be looking forward to seeing your hints :)
I really want to make these cupcakes right now! Just hope I can find cherry chips somewhere :)

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40 Donna D. February 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I just ordered cherry chips from Amazon, can’t wait to make these!!

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41 Kelly February 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm

That is very exciting, I work at a Coast Guard base in California so it will be very exciting to see where you are going!

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42 rose February 10, 2012 at 12:06 am

Hi darla! amazing work as always! :) If i can’t find cherry chips is their another substitution I can use that still gives that cherry punch!? cherry pie filling?? thanks!

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43 Sara {Home is Where the Cookies Are} February 26, 2012 at 9:25 am

Oh. Yum! I used to love cherry chip cake when I was a kid – from a box mix, and now I never see it anywhere! If I can find these chips, I’m soooo making this for my kids, and, well, for ME!!

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44 Miss G. March 15, 2012 at 10:31 am

This looks absolutely amazingggg!
I just have a question .. how does your frosting look like that? What tip no. do you use?

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45 Rebecca April 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I’ve been looking everywhere for cherry chips. I’m dying to try these delicious looking cupcakes! Where did you happen to find the cherry chips?

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46 Melinda January 11, 2013 at 3:20 pm

YUMMMY!!! where did you find cherry chips? I can’t wait to makes these? thanks!

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47 Darla February 4, 2013 at 9:46 pm

I just found them at the regular grocery, so I think they might be somewhat common. Good luck!

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48 Melinda January 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Cant wait to make these!!! {not a ?} haha

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49 Elsie January 16, 2013 at 5:59 pm

I think with cherry cupcakes, maybe Washington?

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50 Sue January 26, 2013 at 1:40 pm

I made these today for a practice run before Valentine’s Day. I am so pleased with how successful I was with this recipe. The cupcakes are perfect. In fact, I want to ask you a specific question about them. Whenever I visit my favorite cupcake shop, I notice that their cupcakes always have a crispiness to the top…almost a cookie crispness. It is my favorite thing about their cupcakes. These cupcakes that I made today have that same crispy top! What makes that happen? I hope you can answer this question. Also, I’m very pleased with the frosting. It’s airy and light and not as gritty as many American buttercreams. Thank you! <3

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51 Caitlin Leahy February 23, 2013 at 9:00 am

These look so yummy! I bought some cherry chips at Walmart the other day and I’ve been browsing around for recipes. I wanted to make this today, but apparently cherry extract is hard to come by around here cause I checked 3 stores in town and nothing.. I may need to order some online. I wonder if using maraschino cherry juice would taste alright.

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