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Cherry Cupcakes

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Prep Time: 20 minutes     Cook Time: 25 minutes

5 from 2 votes

These gorgeous cherry cupcakes are a vision in pink and red. They are super cute and would be perfect for Valentine’s Day, a special birthday, or even a baby shower. Cherry cupcakes are easy enough to make since it’s mainly a question of combining the ingredients. And they are fun to frost and decorate!

A cherry cupcake up close.
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Cherry fans will love the ease of this cherry cupcakes recipe as well as the amazing flavor these cute cupcakes offer in every bite. They have hints of vanilla and will perfume your kitchen with the aroma of a bakery while they are in the oven.

So if you want to try a brand new cupcake recipe, consider these pretty pink frosted Cherry cupcakes with maraschino cherries. Cherry cupcakes are perfect for any occasion and full of mouthwatering cherry and vanilla flavors.

And be sure to check out my cherry clafoutis recipe and this cherry apple crisp for more delicious cherry desserts. You won't be disappointed!

Main Ingredients

The ingredients to make cherry cupcakes laid out on a table.

By now you will want to know what you need to make these amazing cherry cupcakes. They are made from scratch, not with a cake mix, for the best and freshest flavor. These are the key ingredients you need for them:

  • Maraschino cherries: the main flavor. These are sliced and added to the cake batter to infuse these cupcakes with the wonderful flavor of cherries. You will also add some of the liquid the cherries are in for the batter as well as to give the frosting a pretty pink color and cherry flavor.
  • Baking powder: to help the cupcakes rise. A pinch of baking powder helps achieve the perfect light texture. Don’t omit this ingredient or else you will have flat chewy cakes!
  • Vanilla extract: to add a contrasting flavor. Vanilla goes beautifully with the taste of cherries and works really well in this recipe. Add a few extra drops if you like or try almond extract instead.
  • Confectioners’ sugar: for sweetness. You might find this ingredient labeled as confectioners’ sugar, powdered sugar, or icing sugar. It’s all the same thing. Don’t use regular sugar in the frosting because you’ll get a grainy result. Confectioners’ sugar is much finer meaning it blends in perfectly.
  • Egg whites: to achieve a good consistency. Egg whites hold the batter together and also help with the fluffy texture of these cherry cupcakes.

Instructions Overview

First of all, you will finely chop the maraschino cherries and drain them on paper towels. Don’t throw out the liquid from the jar as you will need that later! Now combine the flour and baking powder in one bowl, the sugar and butter in another, and the vanilla, cherry liquid, and milk in a third.

Beat these mixtures together bit by bit, adding a little pink or red food coloring if you want a brighter color. Divide the batter between paper cups in a muffin tin and bake the muffins. Let them cool while you prepare the frosting.

Combine the sugar, butter, milk, vanilla, and more cherry liquid to make the frosting. Add a little food coloring here too if you want. Finally pipe (or spread) the frosting over the cherry cupcakes and garnish each with a maraschino cherry. Voila!

Piping frosting onto a cupcake.

Common Questions

Is food coloring or gel better?

Gel food coloring gives a brighter, more vivid result than liquid food coloring. You don't have to use either of these in your cherry cupcakes but, if you want to, the choice is yours. A dash of red makes the frosting pinker and/or the cake redder. I'd recommend you only add a tiny bit at a time since it's easy to add more but there isn't much you can do if you add too much at once.

Why are cupcakes better than cakes?

Although there are occasions for both, I especially love trying new cupcake recipes. They bake in about half the time a full-size cake would and they're also easier to frost and decorate since they have a much smaller surface area. Also bear in mind the faster baking time means you get to enjoy your homemade cupcakes sooner!

What exactly are maraschino cherries?

Modern maraschino cherries are sweet and artificially colored so they are bright red. Traditionally though, and this is going back a number of years, they were dark, sour and brined in seawater then preserved in maraschino liqueur. The pretty bright color of maraschino cherries makes them perfect to decorate these cute little cupcakes although you can always use fresh cherries if preferred.

Can I make these cupcakes ahead?

Since cupcakes are smaller than a large cake and have a larger total surface area, they go stale quicker. This means you should only make these a day or so ahead so they don’t dry out.

How should I store them?

Keep them in an airtight container for up to 3 days on the countertop. They can be refrigerated, but they tend to dry out faster in there.

Can I freeze them?

Yes. You can freeze these for up to a month. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator. It would be best to freeze them unfrosted since the frosting can get messy during freezing and thawing.

What should I serve with these cupcakes?

Anything goes with these little treats. Since they’re so pretty you could serve these on a cake stand as a table centerpiece if you’re having a gathering or a special party. Try one with a glass of pink lemonade.

What’s the best way to add the frosting?

The easiest way is to spread the frosting over the cupcakes using a spatula. If you want to pipe it, choose a jumbo or large piping bag tip. Don’t worry if they don’t look perfect. They will taste perfect!

Five finished cherry cupcakes on a stand.

Chopnotch Tips

  • Food coloring or food dye is optional in this recipe, but if you want to enhance the pink or red colors you might like to add a few drops.
  • If you prefer to garnish these with fresh cherries on the stems, this adds a fresh appearance.
  • For a different take on the flavor, swap the vanilla extract for almond extract. Almonds and cherries go together beautifully.
Overhead shot of a cupcake sliced in half showing its inside.

These cherry cupcakes are so pretty. They’re perfect for a party or gathering. They are easy to prepare and fun to decorate. I promise you’ll love them!

Let us know what you think! Give this recipe a rating in the comments section below.


How to Make

Cherry Cupcakes

An easy recipe like this one is always worth knowing. Bursting with flavors, these are pretty in pink and light as air.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 18 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • 10 ounces maraschino cherries, drained (save the liquid)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites, beaten

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
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  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with paper cups and set aside. Chop the cherries into fine slices and place them in a bowl lined with a paper towel to drain and reserve the liquid.
  • Mix the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl, and blend the butter and white sugar in a large bowl until smooth. In a third bowl, mix ½ cup of the reserved cherry liquid, milk, and vanilla extract.
  • Now add the flour mixture and the cherry mixture to the butter mixture, alternating back-and-forth between adding the flour and then the cherry mixture, while beating well after each addition. Optionally, add a couple of drops of red food coloring to make the batter pinker or red, and then fold in the chopped cherries and the beaten egg whites.
  • Pour the batter into each muffin cup using a spoon until about ¾ full, and then bake for about 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool them on a cooling rack for 30 minutes.

To make the frosting:

  • Beat the sugar and softened butter in a bowl until blended well, and then add the milk, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of the remaining cherry liquid and beat until smooth for about 4 minutes.
  • Pipe the frosting onto each cupcake and garnish with a cherry. Enjoy!
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  • Food coloring or food dye is optional in this recipe, but if you want to enhance the pink or red colors you might like to add a few drops.
  • If you prefer to garnish these with fresh cherries on the stems, this adds a fresh appearance.
  • For a different take on the flavor, swap the vanilla extract for almond extract. Almonds and cherries go together beautifully.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 273kcal (14%), Carbohydrates: 56g (19%), Protein: 2g (4%), Fat: 16g (25%), Saturated Fat: 10g (63%), Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 41mg (14%), Sodium: 144mg (6%), Potassium: 102mg (3%), Fiber: 1g (4%), Sugar: 20g (22%), Vitamin A: 486IU (10%), Calcium: 49mg (5%), Iron: 1mg (6%)
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