I don't generally make New Year's resolutions. Basically, by resolving to do something, I'm resolve to not accomplish that particular task. Resolve to lose 20 pounds? Let's gain 10 instead! Resolve to get up at 5:30 every morning to do yoga? Still hitting snooze at 6:30!
But one thing I can resolve for this year is that I will stop trying to plan this blog. I say I'm going to do XYZ, and I always, always end up lying. I have to learn that it's OK! It's OK to intend to do a Pinterest Fridays post every week and then go two weeks without a post and do it on Wednesday instead. It's really OK!
(Plus, with this particular one, I'm going to pretend I'm just really on the ball with Valentine's Day recipes. They were birthday cupcakes, but let's pretend I'm prepared for V-Day, OK?)
My friend Sherry had a birthday on January 5th and I was not aware of it until January 8th. She made an offhanded reference to "her birthday on Monday," and I was like, wait. Wait, what? She said she doesn't like to make a big deal out of birthdays.
(This is from the same person who brought me like 3 different kinds of baked treats and ice cream and I want to say donuts on my birthday in October. I call shenanigans.)
So these cupcakes were for Sherry's 25th birthday ("Valentine's Day") and they're amazing. The original recipe came from the Curly Girl Kitchen blog. As always, some minor adjustments were made.
"Valentine's Day" Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Adapted from Curly Girl Kitchen's Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes
For the cupcakes
1 box devil's food cake mix
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup full-fat sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup tart cherry juice (I actually used cherry-pomegranate juice. It was excellent.)
For the ganache
4 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
For the frosting (Not pictured) (I don't know why.)
1 cup tart cherry (or cherry-pomegranate) juice, reduced to a little more than 1/3 cup
1 1/2 cups room temperature unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2-4 Tbsp. milk
Sweet cherries (You can use maraschino, but fresh is much better)
Chocolate jimmies (optional)
To prepare cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350°F and line your cupcake pan with paper cups.
Blend all cake ingredients until batter is smooth, but don't overmix.
Spoon batter into the pan and bake for 16-18 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
To prepare ganache
Put the chocolate chips in a bowl.
Pour the cream into a small saucepan and heat over medium low heat until bubbles begin to form around the edges. (Don't burn it!)
Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it stand for 3 minutes before stirring the chocolate and cream together until well-blended and smooth.
Dip the top of each cupcake into the ganache and carefully shake off the excess. Set aside and let set for 10 minutes or so before frosting the cupcakes.
To prepare frosting
Put the butter in a stand mixer. (You can mix this all by hand if you want, but it'll just take a while.)
(Instructions always say to use the whisk attachment for frostings, but I find that the beater attachment works best for me.)
Beat the butter and your reduced juice together until well blended.
Add the powdered sugar to the mixture little by little (about 1/4 cup at a time) until blended. Add the vanilla and 2 Tbsp. of the milk to moisten and continue to whip until it's reached your desired consistency. Add more sugar or milk as needed to make the frosting smooth.
Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and garnish with a cherry and sprinkles, if you'd like. I tried to drizzle leftover ganache on some of mine as well, but it just got all gloppy and weird-looking. But more power to you if you can make it look awesome!
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