These Cherry Chip Cupcakes are filled with maraschino cherries and mini chocolate chips. Each one has two toppings, so they look and taste like they came from a bakery. They're so pretty, you will want to serve them for every special occasion.
Whenever we travel, I make it a point to visit different bakeries to get inspiration for my baking. The creative ideas that I see there never cease to amaze me. I love using those ideas in cupcakes for various events and parties.
While I occasionally make vanilla cupcakes from scratch, I prefer a box mix. With a few simple tricks, I can transform a cake mix into gourmet cupcakes that look and taste like homemade treats from a bakery.
I have a weakness for the chocolate-covered cherries only available during Christmas and Valentine's Day. So, this month, I decided to add the flavors from this cherry banana bread into a fun cupcake.
Why This Cherry Cupcake Recipe Works
Are you searching for the perfect dessert for a special occasion? Try these semi-homemade cherry chocolate chip cupcakes! This easy-to-make dessert is both delicious and fruity.
- Easy Peasy to Make. These are a breeze to make because you use a few store-bought ingredients to save time.
- Bursting with Flavor. Sweet maraschino cherries and decadent chocolate chips take a classic vanilla boxed mix to a new level.
- Perfect for Parties. These cupcakes are the life of the party. They're not just delicious; they're downright adorable with the cherry on top. Whether you're hosting a birthday bash, a baby shower, or a festive Valentine's Day party, these treats will wow everyone.
What You Need
You'll need a few simple ingredients to make homemade cherry chip cupcakes. A vanilla cake mix and a jar of maraschino cherries turn these treats into a spectacular dessert. Let's get started!
- Cupcake Pan - (affiliate links) Great for cupcakes or muffins.
- Disposable Piping Bag - Perfect for frosting, fillings, and whipped cream.
- Icing Tip #1M - This large star tip creates a perfect bakery-style swirl.
- Icing Tip #21 - This smaller open star tip allows you to make smaller swirls.
- Cake Mix - You will need one boxed cake mix, eggs, oil, and milk to make this recipe. You can also use a boxed cherry chip mix.
- Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix - Adding a dry pudding mix to the batter makes the moistest cupcakes. Make sure you purchase instant pudding!
- Maraschino Cherries - The dessert gets a delicious cherry flavor from the soaked cherries and their juice. Buy two jars to use inside and on top of the cupcakes.
- Mini Chocolate Chips - The smaller chips are lighter, so they do not sink to the bottom of cupcakes as much as larger ones.
- Frosting - A combination of chocolate frosting and Cool Whip takes these cupcakes over the top. If you like dark chocolate, use this light and fluffy dark chocolate buttercream frosting!
How To Make Cherry Chip Cupcakes
These cherry chocolate chip cupcakes are easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser. Transform the simple cherry cupcakes into an over-the-top dessert with just a few simple steps.
- Prep the cherries. Drain the jar of cherries, saving the juice. Pat them dry with paper towels, then cut them into small pieces.
- Make the batter. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cake mix, pudding mix, milk, maraschino cherry juice, eggs, and oil. Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl, then gently stir in the cherries and chips.
- Bake and cool. Spoon batter into 24 cupcake liners, then place the pan in a preheated oven. Bake until the tops spring back slightly when pressed on top.
- Decorate and serve. Add a swirl of homemade chocolate frosting with icing tip 1M. Right before serving, add a smaller swirl of Cool Whip with icing tip #21. Then sprinkle with a few mini chocolate chips and place a maraschino cherry on top.
In the Refrigerator - Keep the frosted cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. FYI: Add the whipped topping and cherry right before serving!
In the Freezer - Wrap unfrosted cupcakes in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for 2-3 months. Thaw before frosting and serving.
Tips and Tricks
- Pat the cherries dry with paper towels. This is a good idea so they do not add extra liquid to the batter.
- Use a food processor or large chef's knife to chop the cherries into small pieces. Do not over-chop if using the food processor.
- Use one teaspoon of cherry extract and a drop of red or pink food coloring for a stronger taste and brighter pink color.
- Stir a bit of flour into the cherries and chocolate chips because it keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the liners.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely before adding any frosting.
- Try vanilla buttercream, cream cheese frosting, cherry buttercream, or coconut frosting for a fun and delicious topping.
- When filling piping bags with frosting, do not overfill the bags. There should be enough space to twist and then close the top with your fingers and thumb.
Maraschino cherries are sweet cherries preserved in syrup, often flavored with almond extract or other additives. They're known for their bright red color and are commonly used as a garnish in Shirley Temples, desserts, and other sweet treats.
Yes, you can use fresh cherries in place of the candied ones. Although maraschino cherries bring that classic, nostalgic flavor that we all know and love. Plus, they add a brighter pop of color that fresh cherries can't match.
You can add a small swirl of vanilla frosting instead of the Cool Whip. You can also use homemade whipped cream if you prefer that instead.
Other Easy Cake Mix Cupcakes
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*This post was originally published in February 2015. It was updated and then republished in February 2024.