Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes


I had the craziest dream the other night.  I normally don’t remember my dreams, but this one was particularly weird.  My dreams are generally pretty boring, about deadlines and people being mad at me because I forgot to do something.  Pretty boring, like I said.

This dream I had the other night though, was oddly action-packed and star-studded.  First of all, I was diffusing a bomb that Chuck Norris had apparently set, though I never saw Chuck Norris and I’m pretty sure that he had some sort of evil bad guy name like Dr. Doomsday or something like that.  Kim Kardashian played his evil side kick.  MacGyver (and Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon) were there, thank goodness, so know…phew!  Then, Tina Fey and I went out for ice cream and she told me I needed to try Cherry Vanilla.

Then we proceeded to eat ice cream.     Weird, right?

So these are inspired by my super weird dream I had the other night.  Did I share too much?

I adapted Thomas Keller’s recipe for cupcakes that he has in Ad Hoc. This is a fusion of his white cupcake and carrot cupcake recipes, then I added cherries (where the carrots would go).

The buttercream is fool-proof.  It’s part buttercream and part whipped cream.  I added cream instead of the standard milk that one would typically add to buttercream to fluff..i..fy  (suuure, that’s a word for ‘put more air into’)  the frosting a bit.

All I know is that they taste darn good and that now I know why I rarely make cupcakes. I eat a scandalous amount of them!  Seriously…zero self control. Next week, I’m making kale chips.

Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes

Cherry Cupcakes


  • 3 cups cake flour + more for coating cherries
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar + more for coating cherries
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup whole Milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh whole cherries

Preheat the oven to three hundred fifty degrees Fahrenheit and line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.   Sift together flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl, stir in the salt and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, cinnamon and sugar at medium speed, then increase to medium high-speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Add one egg at a time, mixing for one minute after each egg is added. Stop mixing when mixture is pale and thick, which is about 5 minutes, total.  Reduce speed back to medium and add vanilla and one-third the dry ingredients.  Then add half the milk and another third of the dry ingredients. Add the last half of the milk and the last third of the dry ingredients.  Pit and chop cherries into halves. Drop chopped cherries in equal parts flour and sugar to lightly coat and then fold in the cherries, gently. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans.  Bake in preheated oven until cake springs back to the touch, about 20 minutes.

Vanilla Butter Cream

  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 stick butter (room temp)
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, plus more for spreading consistency (chilled)
  • 2-3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In stand mixer bowl, combine 3 cups confectioners sugar and 1 stick of room temperature butter.  Mix on low.  Add about 1/4 cup cream.  Mix on medium speed and add more cream until it reaches spreading consistency.  Add vanilla and beat for one minute more.  Frosting should be whipped and light.


Cake adapted from Thomas Keller, “Ad Hoc At Home”

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31 thoughts on “Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Hey Kate, I was just wondering how many eggs are used in this recipe, since it doesn’t specify the amount in the ingredient list. Thanks!

  2. These look delicious. Was reading the recipe and when is the 1 cup of cherries pitted and chopped added in? Does it go in the batter or the buttercream. Can’t wait to make them. Thanks

  3. Whoa that is quite the dream! And your cupcakes look wonderful! I can’t stop eating cherries this time of year and the cherry vanilla combo is one of my favorites!!

  4. Oh yum! And I just stocked up on a ton of cherries. This buttercream frosting looks amazing. I could easily lick the tops off of all the cupcakes. So good!

  5. Kate,
    you didn’t by chance have a pepperoni pizza before bed did you? That use to always give me the craziest dreams…..sigh
    Well I’m glad that sweet little cupcake wasn’t just a dream, they look so very very good, and I would love to try a few of those beauties before bed tonite….I’m sure I would have sweet dreams!

  6. I am going to make these today with my granddaughters! I had a weird dream the other night that had a guest bringing kittens to a house party I was having. I picked out a cute fluffy one and wore it on my shoulder while I served appetizers, LOL!

  7. Hi There, This is looking absolutely delightful. Loved the new combo of ingredients and the recipe is so nicely made and presented. Saving this recipe of urs and wud love to give ur version a try on the coming weekend. Have a great day….Sonia !!!

  8. Kate, you have done such a fabulous job with these cupcakes! They are absolutely gorgeous! And I love the addition of cinnamon… And that dream sounds like a hoot! :D I hardly ever remember my dreams…

    • Thanks Connie! And..btw, the way you cooked and sliced that duck…the way the texture of the duck and the greens blended and actually almost wrapped around one another. I’ve never seen a perfect bite be so effortless. Truly haunting…in a good way. :)

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