I am the worst music-listener ever.
First, I listen to the same songs over and over and over. Like, if we still used records, my records would be tore up. Seriously, it’s like the songs are going away tomorrow and I have to listen to them repeatedly in order to preserve them in my memory forever.
Second, I hate finding new music to listen to. It’s one of my least favorite tasks, up there with putting socks on damp feet and emptying the dishwasher. I just feel like, if I find a new artist or album and listen to the whole thing and hate it, it would be a huge waste of time, you know? And right now, my time is money… writing a cookbook is taking up every last second of free-time (and non-free-time), so I just don’t have the energy to seek out a new artist.
But why don’t you play a new album while you’re baking, you ask? Because if I don’t know what to expect, I’m way off my game. I’ll start burning stuff, under-beating batter, and tripping all over myself because of this new ambiance that I’m not used to. It’s like I have to bake to what I know in order to be in my “element.” (Also things in my “element”: a stack of magazines, joggers, and powdered sugar in every crevice).
And third, I always fall victim to the latest hits, anyway. I only had to hear Fifth Harmony’s ‘Worth It’ one time before that song permanently etched itself into my brain. So if it’s catchy, poppy, and plays in Hershey’s commercials, you know I’m guaranteed to listen to it really loud while no one’s home. And maybe imitate the choreography. Maybe.
Anyway, let’s talk about these spectacular Cherry Almond Cupcakes. I happen to love the combination of cherry and almond together – it’s sweet, fruity, and totally delicious. These cupcakes start with a cherry chip cake mix – a flavor I often forget about, admittedly – which gives a great cherry base to these cupcakes. Then the frosting is where the almond comes into play – thick, light, luscious sweet almond flavor. Top it off with a maraschino cherry and voila! Instant happiness.
While these cupcakes are perfect year-round, they would be especially great for Valentine’s Day! Top it with festive sprinkles or a drizzle of chocolate sauce to complete the look.
- 1 box cherry chip cake mix
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 small box instant dry vanilla pudding mix
- ¼ cup maraschino cherry juice
- FOR FROSTING:
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1-2 tsp almond extract (more or less depending on your preferences)
- About 4 cups powdered sugar
- Maraschino cherries, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 18 muffin cavities with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, buttermilk, oil, eggs, pudding mix and maraschino cherry juice with an electric mixer for 2 minutes, or until combined. Portion evenly among muffin cups, filling about ¾ full.
- Bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely.
- For the frosting, beat together the butter, vanilla, and almond extract until creamy. Alternate adding one cup of the powdered sugar and a little of the heavy cream until frosting is light and fluffy.
- Pipe or spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes (if piping, you may want to double the frosting batch). Top with a maraschino cherry. Serve!
Sweet, light, and perfect for any day, you’ll love these cupcakes!
Have a super sweet day!