2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup maraschino cherry juice
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar
10 ounce jar maraschino cherries, finely chopped
4 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks
Cherry Vanilla Buttercream
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 & 1/2 tablespoons whole milk
1-2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 340°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, salt, and baking powder. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the milk, cherry juice, and almond extract.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter for about one minute at medium speed. Add the sugar and mix about one minute more. Add the flour mixture and the liquid mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until all ingredients are thoroughly combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
4. In a small bowl, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the chopped cherries. Stir until the cherries are coated and have absorbed most of the flour. Stir the cherries into the batter.
5. Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups; each cup should be about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcake comes out clean and the tops spring back when pressed gently. Cool completely before frosting.
Cherry Vanilla Buttercream:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter for about one minute at medium speed. Add the powdered sugar and salt, and mix at low speed until the sugar is completely incorporated. Add the milk and cherry juice. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 1-2 minutes, or until light and fluffy.