1/2 cup butter
4 egg whites
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup maraschino cherry juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
12 maraschino cherries, halved
1 recipe Cherry-Almond Butter Frosting
Maraschino Cherries with stems (optional)
1. Allow butter and egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line 24 muffin cups with paper baking cups. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a 2 cup measuring cup combine buttermilk and cherry juice; set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, vanilla, and almond extract; beat until combined. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each just until combined.
3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Press a cherry half into batter in each cup.
4. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool cupcakes completely on wire racks.
4. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, pipe Cherry-Almond Butter Frosting over cupcakes. If desired, top with cherries with stems.