Triple Cherry Cupcakes are ideal for cherry cake lovers (me) and just the thing for a charity Cupcake Day. These are cherry cakes with cherry-flavoured buttercream icing and a maraschino cherry on top.
Charity Cupcake Days
Lots of charities are organising cupcake days, coffee mornings or tea parties - and what a good idea. Eat cake and raise money for a good cause!
Since Cherry Cake is my favourite, I've devised a Triple Cherry Cupcake using cherries everywhere, including cherry brandy in the icing.
Cherry Buns were among the first recipes I cooked as a child. I still have my Good Housekeeping Children's Cook Book and the cakes are based on that recipe with some tweaks. Actually, a lot of tweaks, as the original didn't include the decadence of icing and a cherry on top as well as cherries in the cake. But this is all in a good cause, so it's fine to go over the top.
Charity Tea Party Dates 2023
Note that some web pages are not updated early in the year.
- Any time - Red Cross
- Summer - Guide Dogs
- 1-8 May - Dementia UK
- Any time - Cancer Research
- Summer - Marie Curie
- 29 September - Macmillan Nurses
- TBD - Bake for Dementia (Alzhemiers Society)
Key Ingredients in Triple Cherry Cupcakes
As with everything, we now have a choice of glacé cherries. You can have the original bright red ones or the darker cherries. I prefer to use the natural-dyed, darker cherries but it really doesn't matter - apart from the colouring if you have a sensitive child. Read the label of red cherries to see which dye they use.
I've used a maraschino cherry on top because they are the perfect size and colour. You could easily use half a glacé cherry instead, especially as this recipe doesn't use a whole tub of cherries.
I've added the zest of a whole lemon, partly because I like it but also because it seems a waste not to. If you only have half a lemon though, it's fine.
On the topic of not wasting, as you only use the zest of the lemon, you can then cut it into slices and freeze to use in drinks. You don't particularly see the lack of zest when you use them in a G&T.
You could use sieved cherry jam if you prefer, or if children will be eating them, although to be honest there's about ½ teaspoon of cherry brandy per cake so it won't do much harm, but the flavour will be different.
Secrets of Success
The cake mixture (or batter)
Making these Triple Cherry Cupcakes with a standard Victoria Sandwich recipe doesn't really work. The cake is too buttery and not substantial enough. The recipe I used here has more flour than butter and sugar so it gives a slightly denser cake, which supports the cherries better, as well as the icing.
Washing and chopping the cherries
This is one recipe where you do need to quarter the cherries at least. There isn't enough cake to support halves and they sink. They don't get very evenly distributed through the cakes either. You will need to wash and dry them too or they'll sink.
What equipment do you need?
As well as a cupcake/muffin tin and paper cases you will need some version of the following:
- Lemon zester - I came late in the day to lemon zesters. I used my old box grater (with a different cutter or grater on each side for any requirement) for years. The last time I used it for a lemon I grated my knuckle so badly that I finally gave in and bought a zester. Why didn't I do it sooner?
- Icing nozzles - I have a set of three icing nozzles for piping icing onto cupcakes. They're the only tips you'll need - big enough for cakes, but not so big you end up with more icing than cake! Use the star tip for these cakes
- Disposable icing bags - I used to use a nylon icing bag that I washed every time, but that started to seem like too much of a chore with everything else to manage, so I switched to making bags out of baking parchment. It's a good idea but rather fiddly, time-consuming and they can split, so I wasn't any better off. Thank goodness for silicone. A pack of 50 will last for years.
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Triple Cherry Cupcakes
For the Cherry Cakes:
- 100 g butter, at room temperature
- 100 g caster sugar
- 150 g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (5ml)
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons milk (30ml)
- 1 lemon, zested
- 75 g glacé cherries
For the buttercream icing and decoration:
- 150 g butter, at room temperature
- 300 g icing sugar
- Red food colouring
- 2 tablespoons Cherry Brandy (30ml)
- 10 maraschino cherries
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/ 170°C fan/ gas mark 5/ 375°F
- Line the cupcake tin with 10 paper cases
- Quarter the cherries and wash. Dry thoroughly with kitchen paper
- Grate the lemon rind.
For the cakes:
- Beat the cake ingredients, apart from the cherries, together thoroughly in a machine or with a hand mixer(Butter, caster sugar, flour, baking powder, egg, milk, grated lemon rind)
- Add the cherries and mix in, on a low speed or by handIf using a food processor do this by hand
- Divide the mixture between the paper cases
- Cook for 25-30 minutes until the cake surface springs back when you touch it lightly with your fingertip
- Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove and leave to cool on a wire rack.
For the buttercream:
- Beat the softened butter and the cherry brandy with an electric whisk Add the icing sugar gradually, beating well as you go. Add drops of food colouring to get the colour you want
- Pipe a swirl of buttercream into each cake. Top with a maraschino cherry
Everyday Cooks tip:
- If you prefer to make smaller cakes, use fairy cake tins and paper cases. the recipe will make 20 fairy cakes
- You could use sieved cherry jam instead of cherry brandy for the buttercream
- If you only have plain/all-purpose flour, add 1 teaspoon (5ml) of baking powder to 100g flour to turn it into self-raising flour