My mom is my Cooking Hero. Growing up, frosting did not come from a jar found in the local grocery store baking aisle. Frosting was hand whipped in the kitchen from scratch, and my sisters and I fought over who got to lick the spoon or bowl. One of my mom’s favorite culinary creations is Cherry Almond Frosting–I consider it her baked good “signature.” Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and picnics instantly became extra special when cupcakes and cakes were adorned with her light, pink, buttercream frosting. For Valentine’s Day, I decided to honor my mom and make my co-workers’ day extra special by recreating her frosting for two dozen Gluten-Free chocolate cupcakes. (Side note, there is no wine in the frosting. That was for me).
The secret to this frosting (besides its surprising simplicity) is Maraschino cherry juice, literally poured straight from the jar. It gives the frosting a nice creamy texture while at the same time infusing the buttercream with cherry flavor, scent, and color. Almond extract is the second key ingredient, and I added a little bit of soy milk for consistency. I would have been perfectly content eating this frosting with a spoon, but alas, they were promised to 24 Gluten-Free Chocolate cupcakes instead. In the many years I have encountered this frosting, I have found that it pairs best with chocolate. The almond cherry is perfectly offset by a chocolate sweet treat, and the dark contrast in colors is stunning. For these cupcakes, I relied on good ol’ Betty Crocker and her very impressive Gluten-Free Devil’s Food cake mix. Gluten-Free cupcakes from scratch is a whole other Kitchen Adventure I’ll save for another day. This time around? I want the frosting…straight up.
Simply the Best Cherry Almond Frosting
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
3 teaspoons almond extract
2-3 tablespoons milk for consistency
2 tablespoons of Maraschino cherry juice
1. Beat butter until creamy.
2. Add sugar and milk and beat until combined.
3. Add almond extract and cherry juice. Beat until smooth.