Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes
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Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes

These cupcakes shine with the light taste of vanilla and a marbled cherry flavor. Topped with a cherry cream-cheese frosting, they are heavenly! Keep them cold and in the refrigerator, as they keep getting better every day. Makes 24 cupcakes.

1    box yellow cake mix
1?2    cup vegetable oil
3    eggs
1    cup water
4    heaping tablespoons cherry preserves (jam, jelly or All Fruit work too)
1    teaspoon cherry extract

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a mixer, combine cake mix, oil, eggs, and water, and beat on medium for 30 seconds. Beat on high for 1–2 additional minutes.
2. Remove 2/3 cup batter to a small bowl, and combine the preserves and cherry extract with the 2/3 cup batter. Mix well.
3. Place paper liners in cupcake tin, and scoop batter into liners until half full. Add a spoonful of the cherry batter on top. Using a knife or toothpick, swirl the cherry batter into the vanilla. Bake 15–18 minutes.

The frosting is strong right out of the bowl and a little softer and denser than buttercream frosting, so it will settle if you pipe it high. The flavor mellows when chilled, and mixes wonderfully with the cupcake.

2    packages cream cheese, softened
1?2     cup unsalted butter
1?2    teaspoon vanilla extract
1    teaspoon cherry extract
6    tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
1    tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1    bag or box of powdered sugar

In a mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla extract, cherry extract, cherry juice, and whipping cream. Slowly add powdered sugar 1?2 cup at a time, until the frosting is a spreadable consistency (this will normally take 3–4 cups for a soft frosting). When cooled, frost the cupcakes, top with a cherry and refrigerate for the best taste.
Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes
John & Tanya Bäck

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