For the cake batter: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F; line cupcake pans with 24 cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the pastry flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. Gradually add the granulated sugar and mix until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture and beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides, and then fold in the Cheddar, dried cherries and green onions.
Spoon the batter into the liners and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, at least 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
For the candied ham: In a skillet set over medium heat, add the apple juice, brown sugar and maple syrup and cook until the mixture gets really thick. Add the diced ham and stir until coated.
For the frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, honey and hot sauce in a bowl until smooth. Fold in the chives.
For the honey simple syrup: In a bowl, combine the honey and 1/2 cup hot water and stir.
To assemble: With a pastry brush, brush each cupcake with the honey simple syrup. Add some frosting to the top of each cupcake, and garnish with the candied ham.
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Nicole Ward