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Cherry Blossom Cupcakes

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Cherry Blossom Cupcakes

Spring is (finally) in the air.

I think.


For this week, anyway.

Cherry Blossom Cupcake

After hearing so much about the famous Washington, D.C. cherry blossoms, it’s exciting to finally get to actually see them. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy for Spring and the end of waking up to snow every other morning for 5 months straight.

These cherry blossom cupcakes were quite fun to bake, to design, to photograph, to eat… The crazy thing is that there’s actually no chocolate in the cupcakes; they get their deep color (and, surprisingly, a somewhat-chocolatey flavor) purely from the cherries. You can easily leave them unfrosted and serve them for breakfast as muffins. But do try the hot pink frosting if you get a chance—It comes together in under a minute, and no food coloring is needed!

Cherry Blossom Cupcakes

Cherry Blossom Cupcakes

Adapted from Hummingbird Cupcakes

  • 2 cups cherries, pitted (240g) (I used frozen)
  • 2 tbsp milk of choice (30g)
  • 2 1/2 tsp white or apple cider vinegar (12g)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract (8g)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil (30g)
  • 1 cup spelt or all-purpose or Bob’s gf flour (130g)
  • only if using the gf flour, add 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup sugar of choice or xylitol (90g) (Can reduce to 1/3 cup if a slightly-sweet muffin is preferred)
  • 1/16 tsp pure stevia, or 2 additional tbsp sugar of choice
  • 1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, optional

Cherry Blossom Cupcakes Recipe: Preheat the oven to 350 F, and line a muffin tin with liners. Blend together first 5 ingredients until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine all remaining ingredients and stir well. Pour wet into dry, and stir until just evenly mixed. Pour into 10-11 muffin tins and bake 19-20 minutes or until cupcakes have domed and a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Allow to sit 10 minutes before removing from the tins. Frost with your favorite frosting, and add real or fake cherry blossoms if desired for garnish. For the frosting in the photos, I scraped the cream off a can of full-fat coconut milk and mixed it with beet juice (2 tsp per every 1/2 cup cream) and a little stevia to taste. No food coloring needed! (If you go this route, it’s best to frost right before serving, due to the lack of preservatives in this all-natural frosting.)

View Cherry Blossom Cupcakes Nutrition Facts

Cherry Cupcakes

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite way to eat cherries? 

My absolute favorite way to eat cherries is frozen, straight from the bag. They have an almost ice-cream-like richness, and you don’t have to worry about taking out the annoying pits. I can go through a bag of frozen cherries pretty quickly.

mocha cookies_thumb[3]

Link of the Day: Mocha Coconut Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. I would have never guessed there wasn’t any chocolate in these by looking at them! So jealous you got to see the cherry blossoms in D.C. That’s definitely a bucket list item for me.

  2. samantha says:

    Yum! These look so good, but also so pretty! Sadly, I love cherries in their unhealthy, sugar laden glazed form. I haven’t tried them frozen, but that sounds good! I do like them fresh though, but the pips are annoying.

  3. Looks delicious, Katie! How remarkable that the cupcakes get that rich of a coloring just from the cherries. I bet these are so moist, too!

  4. These look like they would make great muffins too (without the frosting, though I love the pretty pink). I never think to use cherries in muffins, but I’m going to give it a try! Thanks!

  5. They look absolutely lovely!
    If using frozen cherries, do you use all the juice that comes with thawing? As there’s not much other liquid, I guess that yes, but not sure.
    My favourite way to eat cherries is to eat them … I’m addicted to them, can’t stop once I’ve started!

  6. Kavli says:

    Stunning pictures Katie! And cupcakes look delicious! Spring has long ‘sprung’ here in Texas (well, except today- it’s a ‘chilly’ 52 degrees!), and blue bonnets are everywhere, but yes DC Cherry blossoms are gorgeous! I’m sure you do miss the blue bonnets too

    1. Kavli says:

      My whole comment did not post 😐

      Anyway, question for you. When you mention ‘Bob’s’ GF flour, is that the only one that will work? Can I not use any GF flour?

      1. EVA says:

        You might be able to, she just specifies Bob’s GF because that is the brand she used, and every brand’s all-purpose flour is composed of different flours, so it could possibly interact differently.

  7. What stunning pics!! I love the contrast of the pink and the chocolate…and I love the detail of the flowers!

  8. These look great! I used to live in DC, and the cherry blossoms were one of my favorite things.

    I like eating cherries plain and fresh basically, but I’m boring.

  9. These are beautiful, Katie! My three favorite ways to enjoy cherries are fresh off the stem, in healthy cherry pie, and in this red velvet smoothie (!

  10. Bianca says:

    Yay!! Happy spring. It’s so exciting to see all the trees blooming here. Lots of dogwoods around these parts.

  11. So do you put the cherries in whole (aside from the pits of course)? I don’t see anywhere that you say to blend them, but also the cupcake “bite” shot doesn’t look like it has any pieces in it.

    I absolutely love the idea of the beet juiced to color the coconut whipped cream. I just made some this past weekend and having a variety of colors would be so fun.

    1. Petrina says:

      Yes, I was wondering about this too. Are the cherries blended with the other ingredients? It doesn’t look like there are whole cherries or cherry pieces in the cupcakes. Thanks!

      1. chocolatecoveredkatie says:

        Yikes. Yes, blend. Fixed in the directions. Sorry for the confusion!

  12. I was sure these had to be chocolate with a cherry frosting when I first saw the pictures. That color from the cherries is amazing.
    I love frozen cherry banana soft serve. It’s so much sweeter than the typical strawberry banana version. Yum!

  13. Klara says:

    What do you mean that you don’t have to worry about taking the pits out of cherries when you eat them frozen? I feel like I’m missing something…! Thanks!

    1. Anna says:

      When you buy them frozen, they’re usually already pitted. Or if you buy them fresh, you usually take the pits out before freezing them

      1. Klara says:

        Oh, that’s awesome! I’ve never seen them already pitted!
        Thanks :-)

  14. Amelia P. says:

    These look delicious! I have never made anything with cherries… Maybe you should try red velvet brownies next? Saw a recipe online, but it wasn’t vegan ):

  15. Stephanie says:

    I LOVE eating frozen cherries out of the bag. They are seriously the best.

  16. Megan says:

    Yum-these look amazing and really shocked no chocolate! I am definitely going to have to try these!
    I used to live in DC and loved walking the Tidal Basin and seeing all the gorgeous cherry blossoms! Like pink snow when they fell :)

  17. Ellen says:

    I’m a fan of frozen cherries straight out of the bag too! I also like making smoothies using cherries and ginger with some almond milk and protein powder. These cupckes are delightful, perfect in pink for spring:)

  18. EVA says:

    I was gonna say “Aww man, these are just like the Hummingbird cupcakes, and I wanted a new recipe!”, but then I saw these were completely chocolate-free and was astounded. It’s black magic, I tell ya! Literally.

    I’m not a big fan of cherries, the only ones I’ll eat are bing cherries. I never did do good at our “who can spit the pit the farthest” contests….

  19. Rachel says:

    These look delicious! I definitely need to make them. I’d love to try them with other stone fruits, too, like plums.

    My favorite way to eat cherries is fresh and raw, straight from the market.

  20. tamsinamy says:

    the topping seriously makes me want to go running around underneath a huge blossom tree! I love how creative and imaginative you are at creating your recipes…they are simply fantastic X

  21. Marie says:

    Was there supposed to be a recipe for frosting with the Cherry Blossom Cupcakes?

    1. chocolatecoveredkatie says:

      Yup, it is listed in the post.

  22. LOVE how seasonally appropriate these are-and they’re adorable! Looks delicious :)

  23. Carsla says:

    Outstanding presentation & looks yummy! Looking forward to your future posts! ;D

    <3 Carsla

  24. Am says:

    These look delicious, and very pretty! I can’t wait to make them!
    I like eating frozen cherries as a snack by the small bowlful, nothing creative, but very delicious. 😀
    I just started a blog! I put the link up there, if you wanted to check it out.

  25. Steph says:

    Cherry blossom cupcakes- how pretty is that! Beets are totally amazing natural food colourers! I love em’ These cup cakes look so good and I can’t believe there’s no chocolate in them! Woah, could’ve fooled me!!! :)

  26. Medeja says:

    These cupcakes look so cute! I love everything with cherries, especially chocolate and cherry combination!

  27. I can’t believe there’s no chocolate in your lovely cupcakes but even better with cherries – much healthier. Can’t wait to try. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Jessica says:

    Give me my dried cherries every night. They’ve been a lifesaver with my muscle soreness. I have to be careful though because I can’t digest the fructose in stone fruits.

  29. Miriam says:

    Does the nutritional information for these cupcakes include sugar or xylitol?

  30. Yum Yum Yum!!! Great reipe! Cherries are helpful in easing arthritis pain:)

  31. Kim says:

    Your recipes are SO amazing!! I am wondering what the vinegar does? I have used it before in pumpkin pancakes and it makes them taste great! I just don’t really know what it does!! Do you?!

    1. Lin says:

      Vinegar, in combination with baking soda, helps the cupcakes rise by producing CO2.

  32. Abby says:

    These look AMAZING! They also must contain plenty of flavor! I must make these, and devour them! I never would of dreamed cupcakes could ever be so dark without chocolate!

  33. Abby says:

    These are absolutely stunning! I wonder if raspberries would work… I seem to have a lot of frozen ones….

  34. Marie says:

    Same question as the commenter above: Do you put the pitted cherries in whole or blended up somehow? I don’t see any cherry chunks :)

    1. chocolatecoveredkatie says:

      Sorry for the confusion. Yes, they are blended into the mix. I changed the instructions to make that more clear.

  35. Emily says:

    I love all of your recipes, and this one looks amazing! I made your chocolate cake with the mint frosting the other day. Awesome! They must think I’m crazy when I go through the checkout with so many cans of coconut milk :-) Anyway, I had a quick question. Are these tart or sweet cherries?


    1. chocolatecoveredkatie says:


  36. Shruti Goenka says:

    I loveeeeeeeeeeeeeee it! Katie the design is so cute! I will try this for my little princess



  37. Emma of Zimt says:

    Ah! YUM!

    Hmmm… well, my memories for cherry related recipes mostly come from helping out at my mum’s cousin’s farm in Germany about six (yikes… how did that happen?!) years ago. They had two varieties of cherry trees on the little farm and my favourite thing to do during my stay was to pick (and eat) tons and tons of cherries!

  38. Becky says:

    I was so excited to make these. They look absolutely delicious! However, mine did not come out the way pictured. Please help! They never became dome shaped. They never really cooked through and are gummy. I used gluten free wheat flour and xanthan gum. Frozen cherries. Real sugar. Vegetable oil. And mini chips. What did I do wrong?


    1. Marcy says:

      What exactly is gluten-free wheat flour?

      1. Becky says:

        There was a typo in my previous post. I used gluten free, wheat-free flour. However, it was not Bob’s. I remade the recipe today with all-purpose flour because the batter was so yummy yesterday….I knew they would be good. Today, using the AP flour, they are delicious. I will try next time with Bob’s GF.
        Thanks so much for the recipe.

  39. These are beautiful! I love that they are colored solely by cherries!! I thought when seeing them that they were chocolate muffins. How cool. Like black forest…without the chocolate, haha.

  40. Jenni says:

    Hi Katie! Love your site and recipes… Just curious, I’m looking into the blood type theory, have you ever figured out your blood type? If so may I ask what it is? I am A+ which is probably why I can be veg no problem if the theory is right… Thanks!

  41. Ginny says:

    These look amazing! It’s been many years since I have been able to see the Cherry Blossoms. I grew up in Northern VA and miss them so much now that I am down here in KY. Truly a treasure here on earth ♥

  42. Kate says:

    Would a liquid sweetener also be okay in this?

  43. Christine says:

    I just made these cupcakes and it seems the recipe isn’t updated with the fix mentioned above :( My cupcakes look *nothing* like the photo! So, blend the cherries? Like in a blender?

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      There is no “fix” needed to the recipe. It specifically says in the directions to blend until smooth, not to stir or mix until smooth.

      1. Christine says:

        Yes, thank you. I still think it would be helpful to specify “in a blender.”

  44. Heather says:

    OH. MY. GOSH. This is literally my first time ever commenting on any blog at all ever, but I was compelled because of how delicious these cupcakes were. I am on the Candida Diet (later stages), and the spelt in this recipe (and your spectacular hummingbird cupcakes) has been my first experimentation with gluten :) To reduce the sugar content I subbed the 1/2 cup sugar for 1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia. Also, I am just starting to reintroduce cocoa but haven’t moved onto chocolate chips yet, so instead of the chips I just added 1/4 cup cocoa powder. I have made many of your other recipes and adore them, but this one absolutely knocked my socks off! Thank you so much for your blog, it has helped me so much since I started this Candida Diet journey a year and a half ago!

  45. Jenelle says:

    My husband and I picked several pounds of cherries last weekend, and I decided to use a bunch to try out this recipe. He is a HUGE cherry lover and his exact words when he tried one of these: “These are frickin’ dynamite!” So thanks Katie! Great recipe!

  46. Amanda says:

    Delicious! One question though, which is really a more general question. Could these (or any other cupcake recipe) be made into a regular (i.e. birthday) cake?

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      You can always experiment! Be sure to report back if you do!

  47. sonaly says:

    PEPPERMINT CHOCOLATE This is pure delight for your taste buds.

    CHERRY-MINT CHOCOLATE a burst of cherry zest

    Both are great flavour

  48. sonaly says:

    Come try our flavorful invention that resembles a before or after dinner mint with a burst of cherry zest. This is pure delight for your taste bud.