Going through old photos yesterday I came across this one of my oldest son, Ford. It was 10 years ago, on March 1st of 2002 –
It was my birthday and he and I spent it hiking and car camping in the Olympics. It is odd-looking at a photo of a tiny preschooler and knowing he is 14 now, long since having passed me in height. It was a cold morning when we woke, everything was frosted over. We had slept in the back of my Ford Explorer I had then, piled up in sleeping bags and blankets. Then to celebrate my birthday we walked out to the Pacific Ocean to Cape Alava (a 3.3 mile hike each way but that is very easy). It was so cold we didn’t stay long on the beach that trip. It was a good trip, one I have many memories of. It was a different time then, just Ford and I. Life is a lot busier for me 10 years later, which I love. A teenager, a toddler and a newborn might be tiring but it is fulfilling 🙂 Kirk took me and the two youngest to lunch today, it wasn’t anything fancy but it left me feeling positive, surrounded by family. Not a bad way to spend my birthday….and after breakfast I made myself cupcakes for my dessert. I adapted a recipe I saw on King Aurthur Flour’s website for Cherry Cupcakes. They are delicious bites promising Spring is coming – even if it was snowing a bit this morning.
A note on the cupcakes and frosting: It is worth sourcing the ingredients – the sour cherry concentrate is amazing tasting, the meringue powder gives the frosting a texture you won’t get without. I happened to have the powder on hand, I use it when making smoothies often. Oddly enough I can find it at my local grocery store, in the baking aisle so keep an eye out. I didn’t use the optional “cake enhancer” because as if baked goods last longer than a day or tow in a house full of boys 😉
- ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
- ¼ cup Dried Cherries
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (used Grapeseed)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp pure almond extract
- 3 Tbsp Tart Cherry Concentrate
- ½ cup liquid Egg Beaters© or 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup low-fat milk, room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 12 count muffin tin with double paper liners (use pink to keep the cherry theme going).
Add ¼ cup sugar and the cherries to a food processor or high-speed blender, process until finely chopped. (I used our Ninja 1100 blender)
In a stand mixer beat the beat and remaining sugar until light, add the oil and beat until light. Add the sugar and cherry mix, baking powder, baking soda, salt, almond extract and cherry juice concentrate, beat till smooth.
Add the eggs in slowly until combined.
Add the flour, alternating with the milk, beating until smooth.
Divide the batter between the prepared cups, they will be mostly full. Bake until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. The original recipe called for 16 to 18 minutes, mine took about 24 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Once cooled frost.
Cherry Buttercream Frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp Meringue Powder
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp Tart Cherry Concentrate
- 1 to 2 Tbsp low-fat milk
In a stand mixer beat the butter until fluffy, add the salt, meringue powder and vanilla, beat in till smooth, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the sugar 1 cup at a time, scraping the bowl often, until beaten in. Beat in the cherry concentrate and then as much milk as needed until it is spreading consistency.
If making in advance keep tightly covered with plastic wrap at room temperature until frosting the cupcakes.
Makes 12 cupcakes.