These cherry almond cupcakes are bursting with two kinds of real cherries and topped with a swirl of both cherry and almond buttercreams to ensure they are anything but average. These cupcakes have been crowd-pleasers at every event I’ve brought them to in California’s almond country. (These folk know their almonds, so if they approve of these cupcakes, you will too.)
Bonus: Most of the ingredients you need are already in your pantry or fridge!
Quick Tips for Prepping Cherry Almond Cupcakes
If you’d prefer, watch these tips instead of reading them!
The first thing you’ll want to do is drain the cherry juice into a small saucepan. Don’t dump it down the drain—we’ll use it later! I use cherries in heavy syrup—that syrup adds another layer of cherry flavor into the cake and the buttercream.
To dry off the canned cherries, lightly press the cherries between a few sheets of paper towels or cheesecloth. Then pull away lightly, brushing any remaining cherry bits off of the towel with your fingers. Roughly chop the cherries on a cutting board and dab again with a paper towel to absorb any excess juice that will turn the batter pink.
I created this recipe initially using only canned cherries, and it’s still great. Adding in fresh cherries, however, takes these cupcakes to a whole new level. If cherries are in season where you are, do yourself a favor and use fresh cherries in this recipe! If you like nuts, throw in a handful of roughly chopped almonds, too.
Filling the cupcake liners nearly to the brim will give you a nice, solid base for frosting. Or, if you prefer, you can fill the liners 2/3 full and make an extra few cupcakes instead. Smooth the batter with the back of a spoon to ensure a level top.
Quick Tips for Prepping the Cherry Almond Buttercream
Making two separate buttercream flavors results in a beautiful duet of cherry and almond flavors. Every bite is just a little different for an end result that is simply stunning. If you don’t want to go through the effort of making two buttercreams and piping the frosting on top, you can combine the cherry syrup reduction and almond extract into one buttercream and spread it on with a knife.
The quality of the cherries in store brand versus name brand canned cherries is similar, but the syrup is very different! If you want a deep pink, I would recommend using name brand canned cherries (like Oregon Fruit‘s) or adding in food coloring. For a dusty rose color like in this photoshoot, use store brand canned cherries.
There are usually about six ounces of cherry syrup in a can, and we want to reduce it down to two ounces., or one-quarter cup. To check on the reduction, pour it into a measuring cup. If you happen to walk away and let it reduce too much (I’ve been there many times), there’s an easy fix. First, taste it to make sure it isn’t burnt!
If the reduction is simply too thick and not burnt, open up another can of cherries and add in the fresh syrup until you have a total amount of one-quarter cup. Stir until well combined and then let cool before you make the cupcakes.
If the reduction is burnt, start over with a new can of cherries while the cupcakes are in the oven.
Dish Cleanup: Gonna Take a While
I rate my recipe cleanups on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 is only a handful of dishes, and 5 is everything including the kitchen sink.
These cherry almond cupcakes are a 4. The cleanup is more extensive than cupcakes from a box mix, but it’s well worth it. An extra knife and cutting board compared to regular cupcakes isn’t the end of the world for me.
I mixed the egg and almond milk together into one measuring cup to save on one small bowl—I’m sure you could find other ways if you got creative!
Cherry Almond Cupcakes
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour (200g)
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (150g)
- 8 Tablespoons butter (½ cup)
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk (120ml)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 15.25-oz can of dark sweet cherries in heavy syrup, with syrup reserved
- 10 fresh cherries, pitted and quartered (about ¼ cup, or 30g)
Cherry Syrup Buttercream
- 12 Tablespoons butter (170g)
- 2½ cups powdered sugar (300g)
- 2 Tablespoons cherry syrup reduction from can of cherries above
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a cupcake pan with 12 liners. Set aside.
- Reserve the syrup from the can of cherries and pour into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low while prepping and baking the batter (15-20 minutes) until slightly thickened and about ¼ cup of the liquid remains. Then remove from heat and set aside. Rinse the cherries and pat them dry before roughly chopping them into bite-size pieces.
- Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a small measuring cup, mix together the almond milk and eggs. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add the extracts.
- With the mixer on low, add in about a third of flour mixture. Then pour in about half of the almond milk mixture. Add another third of the flour mixture, the last half of the almond milk mixture, and finally the rest of the flour mixture. Mix until just combined to prevent overbeating, then gently fold in the chopped cherries, scraping the sides of the bowl.
- Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake liners, nearly to the brim. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until domed and light golden brown on the edges.
- Let cool 10 minutes. Reserve about 2 Tablespoons of the syrup reduction and set aside. Brush the remaining cherry reduction on top of each cupcake, allowing the reduction to absorb into the cupcake. (You may have some leftover.) Cool completely before frosting, at least an additional half hour.
For the Buttercream:
- To make a beautiful two-toned and two-flavored buttercream, beat together butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Divide buttercream into halves and mix cherry syrup in one half and almond and vanilla extracts in the other. Line the inside of a piping bag with the cherry buttercream and spoon the almond buttercream in the center. Pipe onto fully cooled cupcakes as desired.
To make one buttercream, beat together butter, cherry syrup reduction, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in 1 teaspoon almond extract. Frost as desired.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 427Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 323mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 1gSugar: 43gProtein: 3g
The nutrition facts are estimated and may vary based on specific ingredients used.
Thanks for trying out these cherry almond cupcakes! I’d love to see how they turn out: Take a photo and tag me on Instagram @floralapronblog to share with me, or use the hashtag #floralapronbakes.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
If you enjoyed this recipe, check out my strawberry champagne cupcakes! The champagne cupcake has a surprise strawberry champagne jam filling perfect for any celebration that calls for some cake and bubbly.
I have a number of other dessert recipes you’re sure to love as well. (I’m adding recipes every month!)