Cherry cupcakes are perfect for cherry lovers! There are two fresh or maraschino cherries baked into each brown-sugar sweetened cupcake. Plus, they are topped with the iconic cherry on top!
These cherry cupcakes are the cupcake version of cherry cobbler. My cupcakes take the spirit of the cobbler, but they are moist and light and are a perfect handheld treat.
The Secret to Perfect Cherry Cupcakes
The secret to making these cupcakes work is adding the cherries partially through the bake. If you add the cherries at the beginning, they will sink to the bottom.
In the image below, the batter has already been in the oven for seven minutes.
Dusting the pitted fresh cherries with cornstarch also keeps them from sinking. I dust with a little sugar as well to sweeten them up!
Tip: If you choose to use maraschino cherries instead of fresh cherries, you get to skip the pitting (and don’t add any powdered sugar to your cornstarch – they are sweet enough!).
How to Make Cherry Cupcakes
To make cherry cobbler cupcakes, start by mixing up the brown sugar and butter. You could use white sugar, but I find that that the brown sugar makes the cupcakes taste more rustic and complex.
Mix in the remainder of the dry ingredients. Then, add eggs, fresh lemon zest, and milk.
Be careful not to overmix as it can make the cupcakes gummy. (See my guide to making cupcakes for more information and tips.)
Fill the cupcake liners just 1/4 full; you will still have plenty of batter left over. You only fill 1/4 of the way because you need to leave space to add the cherries.
Start baking the cupcakes while you prepare the cherries.
Unless you opt to use maraschino cherries, you’ll be pitting a lot of cherries for this recipe. You can do them one at a time, but I like to use a multi cherry pitter [paid link] like the one below. I use it all of the time, like when I make my cherry turnovers.
Roll the pitted fresh cherries in cornstarch and sugar to keep them from sinking in the batter.
Once your cupcakes have baked for seven minutes, place two of the pitted and cornstarched cherries on top of the partially-cooked batter in each cupcake and top with the remaining batter.
Continue to bake for another twenty minutes or until the cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.
If you love cherries but prefer a chocolate cherry cupcake, try making my Black Forest cupcakes. They are a wonderful combination of cherry and chocolate!
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest from about 1 lemon
- 1 cup milk
- 24 cherries pitted and de-stemmed
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Fresh whipped cream to taste
- 12 cherries with stems for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat brown sugar and butter until fully combined.
- Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Mix in eggs one at a time.
- Mix in lemon zest and milk.
- Fill cupcake liners 1/4 full. Note that this will not use all of the batter.
- Bake for 7 minutes.
- While the batter is baking, roll the pitted and de-stemmed cherries in a bowl of corn starch and sugar until the cherries are fully coated.
- Remove cupcake tin from the oven and place two coated cherries on top of the partially cooked batter in each cupcake liner.
- Divide remaining batter evenly among the cupcake liners, covering the cherries. The batter will come nearly to the top of the cupcake liners.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.
- Top each cooled cupcake with fresh whipped cream and a cherry.
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