For the first time in years, it is nearly mid-August and instead of yearning for fall, I am absolutely loving and hanging onto summer. I don’t know if it’s because of the milder weather this year or if having my first baby in school makes me want to slow down time with every ounce of my being, but whatever it is, I’m glad to be living in the moment and loving summer. I’m certainly not ready to say goodbye to all the fresh seasonal produce any time soon. Last week, when eating the cherries in my lunch, I realized that though I’ve been eating cherries daily, I haven’t cooked or baked a single thing with them this year. Clearly, that needed to change. As luck or coincidence would have it, the next day, a coworker requested cherry cheesecake cupcakes for her birthday. Perfecto!
I’ve been a major lover of cherry cheesecake for years, but the kind I was most familiar with was a boxed no-bake variety topped with canned pie filling. That’s not really my style anymore, so I set out to make a version with fresh cherry topping to capitalize on this gorgeous fruit while it’s still available. I used the same technique as I do with my fruit mix-ins for yogurt and it turned out wonderfully. You could just as easily use frozen cherries once the season is over – it will still be much more fresh than anything from a can, and you can pronounce all the ingredients. The cheesecakes will sink a little after they come out of the oven but that works out perfectly for holding a spoonful of the cherry topping.