Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes are a dessert that is as charming as they are delicious. If you're looking to add a touch of whimsy to your Christmas, Valentine's Day or other holiday celebrations, you will love these scratch-made cherry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
These cupcakes are not your ordinary sweet treat; they're made from scratch, ensuring that every bite is filled with love and care. The secret ingredient that elevates these cupcakes to a whole new level is the addition of maraschino cherry juice and finely chopped cherries. The result? A burst of fruity, sweet goodness in every bite.
And the magic doesn't stop there! We're going to top these delectable cupcakes with a luscious, homemade cream cheese frosting tinted in a fun shade of pink. It's the perfect finishing touch to these little delights, making them ideal for sharing with your sweetheart or gifting to loved ones anytime of the year.
- All-Purpose Flour – You can use cake flour for a lighter texture, or gluten-free all-purpose flour for a gluten-free version.
- Sugar – Adds sweetness and moisture to the cupcakes. You can use brown sugar for a slightly different flavor, or a sugar substitute like erythritol or stevia for a lower-calorie option.
- Butter – Use unsalted butter when possible. If using salted butter, eliminate the added salt.
- Milk – Whole or 2% milk adds moisture and a creamy texture to the batter. Non-dairy milk like almond, soy, or oat milk can be used for a lactose-free or vegan option.
- Baking Powder – This leavening agent helps the cupcakes rise and become light and fluffy.
- Salt – Enhances the flavor of the cupcakes and balances the sweetness.
- Vanilla extract – Adds a delightful vanilla flavor to enhance the cupcakes.
- Large Eggs – Act as a binding and leavening agent, contributing to the cupcakes' structure and texture.
- Maraschino Cherries – Chopped cherries provide a burst of cherry flavor and colorful specks throughout the cupcakes. Reserve 24 whole cherries with stems for garnishing the cupcakes.
- Maraschino Cherry Juice – The juice from the cherry jar adds a sweet and fruity flavor to the batter and frosting. You can use other fruit juices like pomegranate or raspberry for a similar fruity sweetness.
- Cream Cheese – Adds a tangy and creamy element to the frosting.
- Confectioners' Sugar – Powdered sugar is the primary sweetener and thickener for the frosting and is preferred to regular sugar because of its smooth texture.
- Pink Gel Food Coloring – This optional ingredient is used to tint the frosting pink. You can use natural food coloring like beetroot juice or raspberry puree to achieve a pink color if you prefer to avoid artificial coloring.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes
- Prepare the cake batter in a large bowl by mixing dry ingredients followed by the wet. Add chopped cherries and cherry liquid and stir until fully combined.
2. Fill lined muffin tins ½ full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cupcakes are golden on top and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
3. Prepare the frosting in a stand mixer.
4. Add frosting to a piping bag with a star tip and pipe frosting on each cupcake in a swirl pattern, then top with a cherry.
Hint: Refrigerate the frosting in the piping bag until firm. Rest at room temperature for 5 minutes on the counter and you can top the cupcakes almost effortlessly.
- Gluten Free – Use gluten free ingredients for gluten free cupcakes.
- Go Green – Prepare with green maraschino cherries and green food coloring for a colorful twist that will make you the envy of any party. Perfect for a Saint Paddy's day celebration.
- Vegan – Replace eggs with flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 2.5 tablespoons of water per egg), use dairy-free alternatives for butter, milk, and cream cheese and consider using plant-based food coloring.
- Add a Topping – Top the cupcakes with nuts, coconut, chocolate chips or sprinkles.
- Vary Flavoring : Substitute almond extract for vanilla to make cherry almond cupcakes or add some cocoa powder to make chocolate cherry cupcakes.
Making cupcakes from scratch isn't complicated but there are a few pieces of equipment that can make the process effortless:
- Cupcake or Muffin Tins: These are essential for baking the cupcakes and maintaining their shape. You can use silicone cupcake molds or even oven-safe ramekins if you don't have traditional tins.
- Cupcake Liners: These are used to line the cupcake tins, preventing the cupcakes from sticking and making them easier to remove. If you don't have liners, you can grease the cupcake tins with a thin layer of butter or non-stick cooking spray. However, using liners is more convenient and provides a cleaner presentation.
- Spatula: A spatula is handy for folding in ingredients, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl, and transferring batter into the cupcake liners.
- Mixing Bowl: A mixing bowl is where you'll combine your dry and wet ingredients to create the cupcake batter. You can use any mixing bowl you have available, whether it's glass, ceramic, or stainless steel.
- Large Cookie Scoop: A large cookie scoop is helpful for evenly portioning the cupcake batter into the liners, ensuring consistent cupcake sizes. If you don't have a cookie scoop, you can use a measuring cup or a regular spoon, but be mindful of portion sizes for even baking.
- Hand Mixer, Stand Mixer, or Wooden Spoon: These are used for mixing and beating the cupcake batter. Any electric mixer will make the process quicker and easier.
At Room Temperature (Unfrosted): Keep unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature, ensuring freshness for up to 2 days. Store the frosting in the fridge and frost the cupcakes just before serving.
Refrigeration: Store cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to several days to extend their life.
Freezing (Unfrosted): You can freeze unfrosted cupcakes for up to 2 months. Store them in an airtight container and add frosting after thawing when ready to enjoy.
- Use an ice cream scoop to ensure that your cupcakes are all the same size, promoting even baking.
- Be mindful not to overmix your batter. Stir just until the ingredients are combined to avoid ending up with dense cupcakes.
- Allow your cupcakes to cool on a wire rack. This not only prevents condensation but also helps maintain their freshness.
- Let your creative side shine when decorating. Experiment with various frosting techniques, toppings, or colors to add a personal and unique touch.
- Ensure your cupcakes are entirely cool before applying the frosting. This prevents the frosting from melting and sliding off the cupcakes.
- Always start with fresh and high-quality ingredients for the most delicious flavor.
- Bring your butter, eggs, and milk to room temperature. Allowing your ingredients to warm up makes them blend more smoothly, leading to a seamless batter.
- Use precise measuring tools and adhere closely to the recipe's measurements to maintain the perfect balance of flavors and textures.
- Preheat your oven before you begin mixing the batter. This step ensures that your cupcakes bake evenly and consistently.
- Line your cupcake tins with liners to prevent sticking and make cleanup a breeze.
- Puree or chop cherries finely if you do not want chunks of cherries in your cupcakes.
While maraschino cherries are traditionally used in this recipe for their unique flavor and texture, you can experiment with fresh or frozen cherries. Just make sure to adjust for any additional moisture they might release.
Cupcakes may sink due to overmixing, opening the oven door too soon, or underbaking. Make sure to follow the recipe, avoid overmixing, and use an oven light to check for doneness without opening the door prematurely.
You can make these vegan by substituting eggs with flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 2.5 tablespoons of water per egg). You will also need to use dairy free butter or oil, dairy free milk and dairy free cream cheese to create a vegan-friendly version of the cupcakes.
If you prefer a non-cream cheese frosting, you can use buttercream, whipped cream, or a vegan frosting alternative depending on your dietary preferences.
You can substitute gluten-free all-purpose flour to make gluten-free Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes. Ensure all other ingredients are also gluten-free.
More Cupcake Recipes You Might Like
- Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Candy Corn Cupcakes
- Peppermint Chocolate Cupcakes from Swirls of Flavor
- Pink Lemonade Cupcakes from Bowl Me Over
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Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ⅔ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup butter
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- 4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup chopped maraschino cherries.
- 1 cup maraschino cherry juice
- 24 Maraschino cherries with stems
- 1 stick butter
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 16 -20 oz. confectioners’ sugar
- ½ cup Maraschino cherry juice
- pink gel food coloring (optional)
For the Cupcakes
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Fill 24 muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy for about 1 minute, scraping the side of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are mixed well. Add the eggs and mix well until the egg and sugar mixture is light and fluffy.
- Next, add chopped cherries and cherry liquid and stir until fully combined.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the cupcake batter and stir until combined. While stirring add the milk to the flour mixture until everything is fully combined and cake batter is smooth.
- Fill lined muffin tins ½ full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cuopcakes are golden on top and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
For the Frosting
- In a large bowl, whip the softened butter and cream cheese until creamy.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Finally, fold in the cherry juice and a few drops of pink food coloring gel (if desired), until well incorporated.
- Add frosting to a piping bag with a star tip and pipe frosting on each cupcake in a swirl pattern, then top with a cherry.
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