For some reason, I love getting the chance to drink Coke out of glass bottles; I don't really know why, there's just something really great about it. It's just this different sort of feeling than what comes with drinking Coke out of say a can, or any other sort of glass or beverage-holding container. I'm probably just being silly. That is always a very plausible conclusion to come to. I mean...just look at what I've baked for you today. "Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes." Say what? Yeah. Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes. Sounds crazy, but let me just say, these were pretty darn good.
But anyway. Back to Coke in glass bottles. They seem kinda retro to me don't ya think? Again, that could just be a feeling I get, but I don't know, I always picture these iconic glass bottles in some sort of 1950's soda-shop or diner kind of advertisement, with say a couple kids enjoying their ice cream sundaes along with a nice tall glass of Coca-Cola. Yes, I clearly have a very active imagination, but that's ok. Let's just go with the whole retro vibe that I was imagining...I feel like it translates very nicely to these cupcakes. They look like little soda floats! Seriously, this is almost too cute.
I've always loved the combination of cherry and chocolate, and Coke with cherry is pretty delicious too. I remember the first time I had a glass of Coke with a cherry in it...I was really young, and at one of those fancy family parties with a bar, and I wanted a soda. I asked the guy behind the bar for a Coke, and he asked if I wanted a cherry in it. I thought that suggestion sounded intriguing, so said yes, and it was so good! I don't really remember what happened next, but I'm sure I went and asked for more Cokes, just so that I could eat the bright red cherry. When I first saw the recipe for these cupcakes, I knew I had to make them.
Surprisingly enough, I had never actually tried cherry flavored Coke before making these cupcakes. The original recipe for these cupcakes calls for regular Coke, but I figured adding a bit of an extra hint of cherry somewhere in the cupcakes wouldn't hurt. I definitely think that it made a difference; it made for the cake itself to have a bit of cherry flavor, which was awesome! Not to mention the actual Coca-Cola flavor...that was just something else. I had never made cupcakes using soda before, so I wasn't really sure what to expect as far as flavor was concerned. I didn't really think the cupcakes would actually have a cola taste to them, but I was wrong! I was so thrilled that the cupcakes didn't just taste like chocolate because they were a light, caramel brown color, but they actually tasted like Coke! Amazing!
The original recipe for these cherry coke cupcakes suggests brushing a Coca-Cola glaze over the tops of them after they have been baked. I didn't really think this step was necessary; I felt that it might make the cupcakes a little too sweet, so I decided to skip that step entirely, and I thought the results were great! If you want to try out the glaze, I say go for it; I just don't really like things that are too sweet, but again, that's just me personally. I also made another change to the cupcakes as far as the cherry filling is concerned. Instead of baking the cupcakes and then hollowing out the center and adding some cherry pie filling inside, I chose to bake the cherry pie filling right into the cupcakes. The filling may spread out towards the sides of the cupcakes as they bake, but I really don't mind that at all. It creates such a pretty red band around the center of the cupcakes, which I find quite lovely. These Cherry-Coke float cupcakes are retro-inspired, adorable, and most importantly, delicious. Try them out!
Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes
slightly adapted from the Novice Chef
For the Cupcakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar, scant
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups cherry Coke (NOT diet)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can cherry pie filling
For the Whipped Cream Topping
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
maraschino cherries (for decoration, optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Line muffin pans with 24 cupcake liners and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a large standard electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat well after each addition. In a separate small bowl, combine the buttermilk, cherry Coke, and vanilla extract. Make to sure to let the foam settle out after you mix everything together!
Add the flour mixture and the Coke mixture alternately to the butter mixture, beginning with the Coke mixture in four parts. Beat each addition until just incorporated; take care not to overmix!
Fill each cupcake well about 1/3 full. Add a small spoonful of cherry pie filling to each cupcake (I used about two cherries and a little bit of the liquid filling). Add the remaining cupcake batter to each cupcake well, making sure to cover all of the cherry pie filling.
Bake the cupcakes for about 18-20 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Allow the cupcakes to cool slightly in the pan, then transfer to wire racks to allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
To prepare the whipped cream topping, add the heavy cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla to a well chilled bowl, and beat with an electric mixer until the heavy cream has become light and fluffy. Top off the cooled cupcakes with a dallop of whipped cream or pipe on with a piping bag. Garnish with a maraschino cherry, or leftover cherries from the pie filling. Enjoy!