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Vanilla cupcakes with a tangy red tart cherry filling inside! These easy to make cupcakes have a delectably moist and tender crumb, and are baked with a sweet jammy filling made with canned red cherries.
This recipe was sponsored by Oregon Fruit Products. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
Say the word “cherries” and I’ll be right over! Who doesn’t love to bite into a ripe red cherry on a summer day? A ripe, red cherry explodes with juice and tastes both sour and sweet at the same time.
But what do you do when fresh cherries aren’t in season? That’s when canned cherries come into play — the convenience of cherries that are packed at their peak of ripeness means you can whip up a batch of these cupcakes anytime.
I developed this recipe using Oregon Fruit Red Tart Cherries, and I was happy to learn each can contains just fruit and water, with no added sugar or preservatives. That’s a huge plus for me, because I seek out ingredients that are as minimally processed as possible.
Red tart cherries, such as the Montmorency cherry, are prized as the ultimate cherry to use for baking and pies. They have a distinctive true, tangy cherry flavor, with a hint of almond essence. I love them!
- To make the cherry filling for the cupcakes, combine a can of drained cherries with 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes over medium heat. The juices will quickly simmer and evaporate, creating a glossy jam-like consistency.
- To fill the inside of the cupcakes, portion some of the batter into the muffin cups. Divide the filling evenly into each cup, then top with the remaining cupcake batter and bake.
Ingredients you need to make vanilla cupcakes:
- Canned Oregon Fruit Red Tart Cherries
- Granulated sugar
- Eggs: 1 whole large egg and 2 egg whites
- Cake flour or all-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Almond and vanilla extract
Making vanilla cupcakes from scratch is an easy way to create a family tradition that will pay it forward for a lifetime. If you ever helped your mom or grandma bake as a kid, there’s no doubt you have cherished memories of those moments — not to mention the reward of devouring a warm cookie or slice of cherry pie.
These vanilla cupcakes are a go-to recipe in my house, and once you make a batch you’ll see why. They have the ultimate moist and tender crumb, with just the right amount of vanilla and almond flavors that pair perfectly with the thick and juicy cherry filling.
They’re wonderful as an everyday cupcake, but also just what you want to celebrate a special day like Mother’s Day. Kids will love to help decorate each homemade cupcake with a swirl of frosting and one plump cherry on top!
Find cans of Oregon Fruit Red Tart Cherries in the baking aisle or the canned fruit aisle at your local grocery store or online at Walmart.com and Instacart. Visit Oregon Fruit for more recipe ideas.
Vanilla Cupcakes with Cherry Filling
- 1 14.5 ounce can (411 g) Oregon Fruit Red Tart Cherries, drained
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 ⅓ (165 g) cups cake flour or all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (195 g) + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 tablespoons (90 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, room temperature
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 whole large egg
- ½ cup (125 ml) buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces (120 g) plain cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (180 g) confectioner's sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) heavy cream or milk
To make the filling:
- Combine the cherries, sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat. Cook 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cherries have softened and the mixture is thickened and pulls away from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the extract. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely. Note: The filling can be prepared up to 3 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.
To make the cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 (175C) degrees, with the oven racks arranged in the center. Place liners in a 12-cup muffin pan, or spray with non-stick spray and lightly dust with flour.
- Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in an electric mixer on low speed with the paddle attachment. Add the cubes of butter and increase the speed to medium. Mix until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Add the egg whites, whole egg, buttermilk and extracts. Continue mixing until the batter is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice.
- Portion 2 tablespoons of the batter evenly into the muffins cups. Top each with 1 tablespoon of the filling. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the remaining batter over the filling.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool 10 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely.
To make the frosting:
- Beat the cream cheese and confectioner's sugar in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment until smooth and creamy. If the mixture looks too thick, add some of the cream a little bit at a time, until the mixture resembles soft whipped cream.
- Spread the frosting over each cupcake (you can also put it in a piping bag fitted with a plain tip). Top each cupcake with a cherry, if desired.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Refrigerate the filled and frosted cupcakes up to 1 day.
- Bake the cupcakes up to 3 days ahead of serving. Keep them in a covered container at room temperature. Fill and frost when ready to serve.