These Easy Vanilla Cherry Cupcakes put a unique spin on the traditional black forest cake. Simple to make, these soft and fluffy vanilla sponge cupcakes are filled with cherry jam or preserves and topped with a smooth buttercream - no powdered sugar needed!
Easy Vanilla Cherry Cupcakes with Smooth Buttercream
These vanilla cherry cupcakes, topped with ermine frosting (also known as flour or boiled milk frosting), make the perfect pairing.
The frosting is light and fluffy, like a mix of whipped cream frosting and meringue-style buttercream.
It's incredibly easy to make - just cook a mixture of milk, flour, and sugar, allow it to cool, then blend it with butter.
The end result is a wonderfully velvety frosting thats light yet maintains its stability. The frosting is not overly sweet, complementing the delicious flavor of the vanilla cherry cupcakes perfectly.
While this smooth buttercream is a top choice for these vanilla cherry cupcakes, another excellent frosting option is my 3 Ingredient Whipped Cream Frosting (Stabilized, No Gelatin).
It's incredibly easy to whip up and pairs deliciously with these cupcakes as well.
Here are step by step pictures so you can see what the dough at each stage should look like.
The full printable recipe with amounts and instructions are at the end of this post.
Make the smooth buttercream
- Place ⅓ cup (45g) all purpose flour and 1 cup (200g) white granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 20 seconds.
- While whisking constantly, slowly pour 1 cup (250ml) of warm milk.
- As the milk heats up, stir constantly to prevent the mixture from forming lumps and sticking to the base of the saucepan. Cook until thick and smooth in texture (see image 3 for texture).
- Remove from the heat and cover with plastic wrap (cling wrap) pressing it down onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
- Allow the mixture to cool entirely at room temperature.
- For a quicker cooling process, take it off the heat and spread it into a wide, shallow pan. The mixture should reach room temperature within an hour.
Tip: I usually use the time when the mixture is cooling to get the cupcakes ready.
- After the flour mixture has fully cooled, it should have a thick texture (Make sure the mixture is entirely cool to avoid melting your butter.)
- Add 1 cup ( 225 g) butter to a large bowl. Remember that the butter should be soft, but not melty. When you press your finger on the butter, it should leave an indent. However, it still needs to be cool enough to avoid ending up with shiny grease on your fingers.
- Beat the butter for about 2 minutes with a handheld or stand mixer for about 2 minutes on medium speed until just creamy.
- Gradually add the cooled flour mixture, one tablespoon at a time, and beat. Continue incorporating the flour mixture, beating between each addition until you've added it all.
- After all the flour mixture is added, include 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and ¼ teaspoon salt. Then whip the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Now, the mixture should have achieved a light and fluffy consistency and is ready for use.
Prepare and bake the cupcakes
- In a medium bowl, combine and whisk 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- In a separate large bowl, beat together 2 eggs, 1 cup (200g) white granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon salt with an electric mixer on high speed.
- Ensure that you continue beating for 4 - 5 minutes or until the mixture is pale in color.
- Add 1 cup (240 ml) plain unflavored yogurt or sour cream, ½ cup (120ml) vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.
15 and 16: Add the flour mixture, ⅓ at a time, beating on low speed with each addition just until combined. Do not overmix or cupcakes will turn out dense. You can also use handheld whisk to mix in the flour.
- Once combined, the mixture should create a thick, smooth-textured batter.
- Scoop the batter evenly into the cupcake liners, filling them up to two-thirds of the way to the top. Be careful not to overfill, as this may lead to the batter overflowing during the baking process.
- Bake at 356° F / 180° C (160° C fan) for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan then remove and continue cooling on a wire rack.
- While the cupcakes are still a bit warm, use a paring knife to gently hollow out the center of each cupcake or use an apple corer for this purpose.
- The slight warmth of the cupcakes makes the process of coring or cutting into the center easier.
- Don’t remove the cake all the way at the bottom though. We are just looking to make a well in the cupcake.
- Spoon or pipe about ¼ to ½ teaspoon cherry jam or preserve into the center of each cupcake.
- Place the prepared buttercream into a piping bag with your preferred nozzle and pipe it over the cupcakes. Alternatively, you can simply spread the frosting over the cupcakes instead of piping.
- Garnish with your choice of a fresh, maraschino, or candy/glacé cherry, and add white chocolate shavings if you prefer.
- At room temperature: cupcakes frosted with the buttercream can be stored in an airtight container for up to one day.
- In the refrigerator: The frosted cupcakes will last up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let the cupcakes come to room temperature before serving.
- Freezing: Cupcakes, without buttercream and filling can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Buttercream: If you don't plan to use the buttercream right away, refrigerate it. You can prepare and store the buttercream in the refrigerator for 7 days or freeze it for up to 4 months.
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