Cherries jubilee may be one of the most celebratory-sounding desserts ever, and these cupcakes from Robicelli's: A Love Story take the concept—cherries plus liqueur flambĂ©ed—to a new level. They're vanilla cakes with a French buttercream frosting that has cherries-jubilee syrup stirred in. And, three cherries on top; because, hey, it's a jubilee.

Makes 34 cupcakes


For the vanilla cake:
  • 12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
For the cherries jubilee:
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh, dark-red cherries, pitted; or, two 14-ounce jars morello cherries, drained and well-rinsed
  • Juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup kirsch, cherry brandy, cherry liqueur or cognac
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Cherry Vanilla Buttercream:


Make the vanilla cake:
Preheat oven to 350°. Line cupcake pans with 34 baking cups.

Melt the butter in a microwave at 60 percent power for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Keep the butter warm—do not allow it to sit and cool off.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-low speed for 2 minutes until light yellow and lightly foamy.

Increase the mixer speed to medium-high. Pour the warm butter into the eggs slowly, so that the mixture tempers and the eggs do not scramble. Once the butter is added, reduce the speed to medium-low.

With the mixer running, add the milk, vanilla and salt. Mix for 1 minute until well combined.

Sift together the flour, sugar and baking powder and add to the batter. Mix on medium until just combined, 10 to 20 seconds. Remove the bowl and paddle from the mixer and use the paddle to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, ensuring that everything is well mixed.

Scoop the batter into the prepared baking cups, filling them 2/3 of the way.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The cupcakes are done when the centers spring back when you touch them.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven. Let cool for 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on a baking sheet.

Make the cherries jubilee and syrup:
In a large, heavy-bottomed, nonreactive skillet, cook the cherries, lemon juice, granulated sugar, brown sugar and salt over medium-high heat, gently stirring with a wooden spoon.

When the cherries have released their juices and the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and add the kirsch. Using a match or long-handled lighter, set the cherries on fire and return the pan to the burner, turning down the heat to low.

When the flame has died, add the vanilla and gently stir again to make sure the cherries are coated.

Strain the cherries jubilee. Set the cherries aside and return the liquid to the pan. Turn the heat back to high.

Reduce the liquid until it becomes a thick syrup and coats the back of a spoon, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside and cool completely.

Make the cherries-jubilee buttercream:
Prepare the recipe for French Buttercream or American Frosting. Add the vanilla and beat well.

With the mixer running, stream about 1/4 cup cherry-jubilee syrup into the buttercream. Taste and add more syrup according to your personal preference.

Mix any additional syrup back into the reserved cherries.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the cherry-vanilla buttercream and pipe onto each vanilla cupcake.

Place at least 3 cherries on top of each cupcake. Fill any gaps with additional cherries.

From Robicelli's: A Love Story, with Cupcakes: With 50 Decidedly Grown-Up Recipes (Viking Books Studio) by Allison and Matt Robicelli.

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