Bake these little cakes outside the cherry season, too. Have a supply of cherries on standby in the freezer with the stems and pits removed. First freeze cherries by spreading them on a tray in a single layer. Then place in bags and store in the freezer.
Use 2 × 12cup muffin tins and line with paper cases. Remove cherry stems and stones. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Using electric beaters, beat the butter, sugar, grated lemon zest and Kirsch in a bowl until mixture is pale and creamy.
Gradually stir in the eggs. Sift in 250g flour. Stir until combined. Place remaining flour on a deep plate. Make sure cherries are dry, then toss them in the flour.
Carefully stir the cherries into the cake mixture. Fill the paper cases two-thirds full with mixture.
Bake for about 20–25 minutes until golden brown. Place pans on a wire rack and leave muffins to cool. Serve with whipped cream, if liked, on the day of baking.
Buy loose cherries in preference to pre-packaged ones. Fresh cherries should be plump, firm and shiny, with their flexible green stems still attached. Avoid sticky fruit; it has been damaged and is leaking juice. You can use a paper clip to remove cherry stones. Or, some cookware shops stock a specially made tool.
Try this, too…
For Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes, melt 150 g butter and 75 g bitter chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water. Let cool. Place 100 g sugar, a few drops of vanilla essence and 2 tbsp red wine in a large bowl. Add melted chocolate mixture and stir well. Mix in the eggs and flour as for main recipe. Add 1 tbsp cocoa powder; fold in the cherries. Transfer mixture to paper cases; bake as for the main recipe. Cool; drizzle lightly with melted white chocolate.