Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner
Active Time
30 Mins
Total Time
2 Hours 15 Mins
Yield
Makes 24

Cheerwine is a cherry-flavored soda invented in North Carolina in 1917. Whether you combine the bubbly drink with a recipe for homemade white cake or pound cake or a packaged cake mix, the result is a pale pink crumb that tastes of almond extract and mild cherry. This regional drink is so popular that the Apple Baking Company of Salisbury, North Carolina, (known for its packaged pound cake slices and “Ugly” glazed pastries) experimented with a cake flavored with Cheerwine syrup and soda, which it sold in 2009. The following year, doughnuts filled with Cheerwine-flavored cream debuted at Krispy Kreme in North Carolina. —Toni Tipton-Martin

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with paper baking cups; coat with cooking spray. Whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar, and gelatin in a bowl; transfer mixture to bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add eggs, coconut oil, and soft drink; beat on low speed for 1 minute. Stop to scrape down sides. Beat on medium speed an additional 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Stir in chopped maraschino cherries by hand until fully incorporated. Spoon batter evenly into prepared baking cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full.

Step 2

Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of cupcakes comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans. Transfer to wire racks, and cool completely, about 1 hour.

Step 3

Divide Cherry-Swirl Frosting evenly between 2 bowls. Stir 1 to 2 drops food coloring gel into 1 frosting bowl until incorporated. Fit a large pastry bag with a large star tip (Wilton #2110). Spoon pink-tinted frosting into half of bag; spoon untinted frosting into remaining half of bag. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes, and top each with 1 maraschino cherry.