Monday, February 13, 2012

Cherry Coke Cupcakes for Pop Stars (and all my single ladies)

When I showed up in Michigan for freshman orientation, I realized I was going to spend the next four years in a constant debate of "soda" vs. "pop." Midwesterners tend to say "pop," but pretty much everyone else in the country says "soda," with the exception of a few southerners who refer to all carbonated beverages as "coke."

For today, and today only, I'm saying "pop" instead of "soda." This is because I want to dedicate these pop cupcakes to some diva-licious ladies, including the recently deceased Queen of Pop Whitney Houston.

I will always love you...

I started thinking of these Cherry Coke Cupcakes for Valentine's Day to dedicate to all my single ladies (Beyonce style), but then I realized that would leave out some of my favorite ladies. Instead, these pop cupcakes are dedicated to my favorite female pop icons AND all my single ladies (or any attached ladies who need a Valentine's Day pick-me-up).

Each cupcake is frosted with a different design because all of my ladies bring something different to the table. Attitude from Beyonce, wild fashion from Lady Gaga, six grammy awards from Adele on Sunday, and an incredible voice I won't forget from Whitney.

These are just a few of the fabulous ladies I'm thinking of, but I made enough cupcakes to honor many more.

I'm on the right track baby, I was born this way...

So, pick a pop icon and get baking! Happy Valentine's Day!

Na, na, na diva is the female version of a hustler...

Cherry Coke Cupcakes (a Young Idealistic Baker original recipe inspired by A Cozy Kitchen and Brown Eyed Baker)
Makes 14 cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups coca cola (regular, not diet)
  • 14 maraschino cherries
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  • Add egg and vanilla, and cream until incorporated
  • In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt
  • Alternate adding dry ingredients and coke (about 1/4 cup at a time) until all of your ingredients are mixed together
  • Evenly distribute among prepared baking tins and press a maraschino cherry into the center of each cupcake
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean

There's a fire starting in my heart...

To top these cupcakes, I considered making a maraschino cherry buttercream frosting, but I felt a little sick just thinking about how sweet that would likely taste. A lot of cherry coke recipes online are called "Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes" and are topped with whipped cream, but I was worried whipped cream wouldn't survive the commute to work.

Then I found a recipe for "sturdy whipped cream," which is essentially just whipped cream with a cream cheese base. This way, the result is light and fluffy, not too sweet from cups and cups of powdered sugar, and solid enough to pipe and hold its shape. Essentially, you get a cross between whipped cream and cream cheese frosting! Yum!

Cherry Whipped Cream Frosting (adapted from All Recipes):
Makes twice as much as you'll need (enough for 25 + cupcakes)

  • 8 ounce brick of cream cheese, softened but still cool
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • In a medium bowl, cream together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and cherry juice until smooth and fluffy
  • Add heavy whipping cream slowly, and blend/whisk on high until stiff peaks begin to form
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes, remove, and beat all ingredients together again
  • Continue to refrigerate until frosting seems stiff enough to pipe (I was watching the Grammy's so I let it sit for about 1 hour or so)

For all my single ladies (all my single ladies)...

Happy Baking and Happy Valentines Day!

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