Moist chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate-covered cherry center, topped with a fresh cherry swiss meringue buttercream frosting.
For the chocolate-covered cherries:
36 fresh cherries
6 oz chopped semi-sweet or dark chocolate, divided
For the cake:
12 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder (Hershey
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp cups hot water
1 1/2 cups + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream (I use 0% Fage)
For the frosting:
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
1/3 cup cherry puree (about 1 dozen pitted fresh cherries processed in a small food processor or blender)
To make the chocolate-covered cherry centers, stem and pit 18 cherries.
Melt half of the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl.
When completely melted, stir in the pitted cherries until completely coated.
Transfer cherries to a piece of wax paper or a plastic wrap-covered plate. Refrigerate while making the cake.
Melt the other half of the chocolate and dip the remaining 18 cherries into it, scraping the bottom before setting on a piece of wax paper or a plastic wrap-covered plate.
To make the cake, preheat oven to 350 and line 2 cupcake pans with 18 liners.
Whisk together cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.
Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.
Melt butter in the microwave and transfer to the mixer bowl. Add sugar and beat on medium speed until cooled, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla and cocoa-powder mixture.
Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with yogurt in one batch. Beat until just combined.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.
Toss the chocolate-covered cherry centers (pitted and stemmed) with 1 Tbsp flour. Set on the top of the batter.
Bake 18-20 minutes, until the cake tops bounce back when lightly tapped.
Cool 10 minutes before removing cupcakes from the pans. Cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, whisk the egg whites and sugar over a simmering pot of water until the mixture reaches 160 degrees.