Gluten Free Cherry Heart Cupcakes Recipe
I wanted to create a special cupcake for Valentine’s Day this year. I thought about making a more romantic version of my gluten free Vampire Cupcakes with their bleeding hearts but a bleeding heart signifies hurt and pain to me. I don’t think that real love makes you hurt. (Admittedly, a lot of songwriters and movie makers will disagree with me!)
I believe real love lifts the spirit and heals the heart. Real love makes the heart stronger, capable of even more love. So for my Valentine’s Day Cupcakes I decided to place a beautiful, cheery, whole heart in the center of my cupcakes and surround it by sweet, creamy filling. It is the way my hubby makes my heart feel – full and radiating cheer.
I used Kinnikinnick’s gluten-free chocolate cake mix as the base of the cupcakes. Usually I make cupcakes from scratch but I really do like their cake mix and saving a little time makes my heart happy as well. Kinnikinnick’s mix calls for it to be made with oil and water but I upped the richness and flavor by using buttermilk and melted butter instead.
For my “hearts” I used maraschino cherries and for topping and filling I made a cherry cream cheese frosting. And as if all that wasn’t enough I dipped some maraschino cherries in some dark chocolate for a cute little chocolate covered cherry garnish. If my husband isn’t already head over heels in love with me, this Gluten Free Cherry Heart Cupcakes recipe is sure to do the trick!
First make your garnish – dip maraschino cherries in melted dark chocolate.
Cut a little inverted cone out of each cupcake.
Widen the hole a little with the end of a wooden spoon (or your finger).
Add a little filling…
top with a cherry…
then add in a little more filling. Cut off the end of the cone (this is the baker’s treat)…
place the top back on flat and frost. Top with your chocolate covered cherries and enjoy! A pretty gluten free cupcake with a sweet surprise inside.
- 12 maraschino cherries with stems
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup melted butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 package Kinnikinnick Chocolate Cake mix
- 8 ounces cream cheese - at room temperature
- ½ cup unsalted butter - at room temperature
- Pinch kosher or fine sea slat
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
- 2 cups (maybe a bit more) powdered sugar
- 12 maraschino cherries without stems
Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.
Place the cherries on some paper towels and let them dry. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave until they are almost all melted, about 1 ½ - 2 minutes. Stir the chocolate until it is all melted and glossy. Dip the cherries into the chocolate and place on the prepared baking sheet, pressing down a little to create a flat surface. Refrigerate for ½ an hour or until the chocolate has hardened.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs, buttermilk, butter and vanilla on medium speed for 2 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the cake mix. Beat just until combined. Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling almost full. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Beat the cream cheese, butter, salt, vanilla and cherry juice together until blended. Sift in 2 cups powdered sugar and mix to combine. If the frosting seems too soft, beat in a little more to stiffen it. The mixture should be a little thicker than heavily whipped cream.
Take about ½ cup of the frosting and put in a plastic food storage bag. Snip off the end of the bag so you can pipe the mixture into the cupcakes. Refrigerate the rest of the frosting until time to finish the cupcakes.
Cut an inverted cone out of the top of each cupcake about the size of a nickel. Remove the cone and save it. With the end of a wooden spoon (or your finger) gently push the hole in the cupcake to widen it. Pipe a little frosting (about 1 teaspoon) into the hole. Place a cherry on the frosting and then pipe in a little more frosting to cover the cherry. Cut the end off the reserved cone and place it back on top of the cupcake to cover the hole. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.
Frost the cupcakes and place a chocolate covered cherry on top of each, gently pressing the cherry into the frosting.
Can be made a day ahead. To store, keep refrigerated but take out of fridge about 10 minutes prior to serving to take the chill off.
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