Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
Add the lemon zest, vanilla, and sugar in a food processor pulsing until well blended.
Blend butter and the lemon sugar until combined in a separate bowl.
Add one egg at at time, beating after each addition until well mixed.
Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until just combined.
Pour in half of the milk mixing until all ingredients are blended.
Add in the rest of the flour mixture and then milk. Mix well.
Scoop the batter into the lined tins 3/4's full.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-24 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool slightly in the cupcake pan.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Using a teaspoon make a small well in the center of each cupcake. (Don't poke the hole through the bottom of the cupcakes)
Fill each small well with the cherry preserves. (Don't overfill. The preserves should not overflow from the top of the cupcake.)