I've been avoiding the "gotta get my act together and start prepping my classroom for the first day back at school" stuff. Y'all, my to-do list is LOOOOOONG. (I don't usually say "y'all". How was it? I like it. I'm keeping it.)
Well, it would be if I actually made a to-do list but I haven't. I will, though. It's on my list of things to do.
Instead, I made cupcakes. Chocolate cherry cupcakes. You're gonna LOVE them. I promise.
Start with your basic chocolate cupcake recipe. You can use whatever you love or use mine, which I tweaked from TidyMom.
For the cupcakes, you'll need:
1 box chocolate cake mix (I prefer Pillsbury but your fave will work great, too)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup water
3 tbl. cocoa powder
1 small can cherry pie filling
Mix first 5 ingredients in large bowl, 1 minute on low then 1 minute on med, until well combined. Scoop batter into lined cupcake tin. I use a spring-loaded ice cream scoop but use whatever works for you. Fill cups about 2/3-3/4 full. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Cool in cupcake pan for 5 minutes then move cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
Next, use your handy dandy cupcake corer (or a small paring knife) to cut out the middle of the cupcakes. (Yes, I know those are not chocolate cupcakes in the picture. I forgot to take a picture of my corer so I'm reusing an old picture I took. It's OK. Really.)
Fill the center of each cupcake with a scoop of cherry pie filling. I made sure there were at least two cherries in each cupcake.
Now you're ready for buttercream. Here's what you'll need:
5 cups powdered sugar (don't sift it, that's too much work)
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
juice from maraschino cherries
Beat the butter until smooth. Add powered sugar, vanilla, and approximately 1/4 cup of cherry juice. Beat with mixer on medium speed until combined and smooth. Scoop into pastry bag (or freezer weight hefty zip bag), snip off corner and pipe onto cupcakes. For these cupcakes, I wanted a rose look to the buttercream so I used my Wilton 1M open star tip, started in the center of the cupcake and piped frosting in a tight circle around the middle to the outer edge.
You can top these with a cherry if you'd like. I didn't because I wasn't serving them immediately and I didn't want the cherries to leak juice all over the cupcakes. But I thought about it. So, I ate most of the cherries and then I used the excuse that I didn't have enough cherries to put one on each cupcake. Don't judge me.
Go make these. They're delicious. And, if you're a teacher starting down the ugly end of the back-to-school madness like I am...you have my full permission to make just the cherry buttercream and not share it with anyone. And, once you've done everything on your classroom-setup to-do list, can you come help me with mine?