Cherry Vanilla Soda Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line muffin tins with paper liners (about 52 minis or 26 standard-sized).
In a bowl, whisk together the flour (2 1/4 cups), baking powder, baking soda and salt, and set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste on medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, for 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated.
In another bowl, combine the cherry juice, soda and milk. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture and the soda mixture, alternating each, starting and ending with the flour mixture, just until combined.
Chop the cherries and toss with the 2 tablespoons of flour. Fold into the cake batter. (Alternatively, you can leave the cherries whole, and place one into each muffin cup to bake into the batter.)
Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full (be careful not to over-fill the minis - they don't hold very much). Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes (minis) or 20-22 minutes (standard-sized). Cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, then add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Beat in the milk, a little at a time, until you have the desired consistency. Beat in the food coloring and extract, if using it.
Frost the cooled cupcakes and garnish with a few chocolate sprinkles and the striped straws.
Yields 52 mini cupcakes or 26 standard.
Weight Watchers Points Plus Value: 3 points per mini cupcake; 5 points per standard-sized cupcake
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen.