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Grandpa Sumsion’s Cherry Blossom Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

Cherry spice nut cupcakes with rich white chocolate buttercream frosting

Sugar and spice and white chocolate nice

Grandpa Sumsion’s favorite cake was Cherry Cake.  It’s a dense, moist cake loaded with spices and decked out with whole sweet cherries and coarsely chopped nuts.  Sweet, rich and spicy, it packs a mouthful of goodness in every bite.  Grandma used to bottle tons of cherries in the summer so he could have his cake and eat it anytime of the year.  Mom tells stories of picking Bing cherries in the summer season.  “It was such hard work.”  Mom still loves delicious plump fresh Bing cherries.

Cherry-Blossom-Cupcakes-White-Chocolate-FrostingThis is a new version of the same delicious ingredients.  Still flavored with the same baking spices, the batter is lighter, perfect for a cupcake.  The cherries are cut in smaller pieces and the nuts are chopped finer to scatter them prudently throughout.

The crowning glory is white chocolate buttercream.  Grandma used to top this cake with vanilla frosting.  Cherry and chocolate are a classic combination so I decided to develop a white chocolate buttercream to complement the cupcakes.  When these little baby cakes are frosted, wow!  It is amazing.  I was actually not a white chocolate fan but now I’m a total, never turning back ‘dyed in the wool’ disciple.   The richness balances the spicy flavors in the cake without overpowering.  Great for cherry blossom season and all through the Spring and Summer.

2011 AniversaRecipe – Quinoa Under Stained Glass

Recipe: Grandpa Sumsion’s Cherry Blossom Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

Prep Time: 25 Minutes | Cook Time: 22 Minutes per Batch | Yield: 36 Cupcakes | Level: Easy


Cherry-Blossom-Cupcakes-cherriesCherry Cupcakes

  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 sticks Butter, softened
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 tsp Almond Extract
  • 1 cup Buttermilk ;)
  • 1 15-oz can Sweet Cherries, drained
  • 1 cup Walnuts, fine chopped
  • Maraschino Cherries, optional

White Chocolate Buttercream

  • 8-oz White Chocolate, chopped
  • 2 sticks Butter, softened
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 3 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tbsp Half & Half
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Special Equipment – Muffin Pan

Cherry Cupcakes
1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2 Melt the white chocolate in the microwave in 20 second intervals stirring to distribute just until there are a few chunks left.  Let the residue heat finish melting them, stirring until smooth. Do not over heat.  Set on the counter to cool.

Cherry-Blossom-Cupcakes-White-Chocolate-Buttercream3 With a fork, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

4 Cut the sweet cherries into 4 pieces and reserve.

5 With a hand or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract and beat to combine.

6 Alternate the flour mixture and buttermilk adding 1/3 at a time until combined.

7 Take the beaters out and gently stir in the nuts and sweet cherries.

8 Fill muffin pan lined with cupcake papers 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes.  Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then on a cooling rack.

White Chocolate Buttercream
White-Chocolate-Buttercream-melting9 In the meantime, with hand beaters combine the chocolate and butter until smooth and creamy.  Add the salt and powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time.

10 Add the Half and Half and vanilla and stir to make spreading consistency.

11 Frost the cupcakes with the buttercream.  Cut the maraschino cherries into small pieces and dot the top of each cupcake, if desired.

;) Sour Milk—In a one cup measurer, add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and add milk to make 1 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Use a premium quality white chocolate for the buttercream.

Bake this recipe in two 9-inch round cake pans on 350 degrees until a toothpick comes out clean, about 31-34 minutes.

Dish Designer

  • Exchange Half & Half for milk to reduce calories or heavy cream for richer frosting.
  • Exchange buttermilk for sour milk.
  • Exchange Half & Half for cherry juice or puree to make a light pink cherry buttercream.

Inspiration – Norma Horton, Kathryn Sumsion
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: April 16, 2012

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10 Responses to Grandpa Sumsion’s Cherry Blossom Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

  1. Spencer April 16, 2012 at 1:01 am #

    I love cupcakes and your recipe looks absolutely delicious. Its a shame you can’t send any to me in Australia!

    • helenhorton April 16, 2012 at 1:15 am #

      I love cupcakes too!!

  2. Audrey April 16, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    I love the opening photo for this recipe. It hints at what’s inside and also is clear and beautiful.

  3. Lindsay April 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    I’ve never been a big white chocolate person myself, but that frosting sounds divine. I think it could convert me too!

    • helenhorton April 19, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

      I’m trying to decided what else this white chocolate buttercream can top like chocolate, white, raspberry, strawberry (think strawberries dipped in white chocolate) cupcakes or cake. How about brownies, Slightly thinned with some more Half & Half it would be delicious on chocolate zucchini bread. What about using it as the filling for a chocolate chip sandwich cookie. For special treats you could use it for the frosting in cake pops…And the list could go on and on.

  4. Suzy April 20, 2012 at 2:01 am #

    A fourth white chocolate cupcake recipe is perfect! And, these look absolutely fantastic, too.

  5. Jo Ann April 21, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    I love this cherry cake recipe–even better as cupcakes. Thanks!

  6. Rebecca Hipps July 6, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    I had some of this cake and it was DIVINE! Perfect treat during Cherry Blossom season here in Washington D.C. Thanks Helen!

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