Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemon in long strips. Combine the zest and sugar in a food processor, pulse until the zest is very finely chopped into the sugar. Add buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla and pulse until well blended. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk mixture and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in the cherries. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.
Bake until golden brown; about 20-25 minutes.