Preheat an oven to 200 degrees C. Grease 12 jumbo muffin cups or line with paper baking cups.
Stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt in a separate large bowl then make a well in the centre; set aside. Whisk together the sour cream, milk, vegetable oil, eggs and almond essence in a bowl until evenly blended. Pour the sour cream mixture into the well then stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the cherries and chocolate bits. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling half full.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in tin on cooling rack 5 minutes. Remove from tin and cool completely on cooling rack. Store tightly covered at room temperature.