This will be the second baby shower for which I’ve made these cupcakes. Their delicate flavor and lightness just lend themselves to such an event. I decided to up my game with this batch (my last batch was made during the cupcake blog hiatus and never made it into a post), and add ground almonds into the cupcakes and vanilla bean seeds into the frosting. I’m hoping it will intensify and fancy up the results. Depending on where you live, you can get very reasonably priced vanilla beans at Cost Plus World Market. They are one of my favorite places to go when I need an obscure spice and don’t want to pay insane grocery store prices. I wish I had a market near me that offered spices in bulk, cheap. Well, enough of my spice rant…on to the cupcakes!
Almond Cupcakes – makes 2 dozen (or 5 dozen minis)
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. flour (preferably cake flour)
1/3 c. ground almonds*
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
*To grind your almonds, simply put them in a food processor until mealy and you can’t see any large chunks of brown skin.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare your tins with cooking spray or cupcake liners. I’m using a mini cupcake pan today :)
Cream the butter and sugar together until light an fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, combining thoroughly after each addition, but don’t over mix.
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, ground almonds, baking powder, salt). Likewise, measure out the milk and add the vanilla and almond extracts to the measuring cup.
Alternately add the dry and wet ingredients in small batches until all combined. Again, don’t over mix…this can lend to dense cupcakes. It’s OK to have a few lumps here or there; they’ll even out when baking.
Fill your prepared pans 2/3 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes for mini cupcakes or 18-22 minutes for regular-sized cupcakes. Either way, test with a toothpick for gooey insides before taking out of the oven.
Let cool on a wire rack.
Almond and Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting
1 c. butter, room temperature
3-4 c. powdered sugar
milk or cream as needed
** For those new to vanilla beans, use a sharp knife to slice the bean down the center. Then, use the flat of the knife to scrape the seeds (more like a paste) from the inside of the pod. I got about 1/4 tsp of seeds from one pod.
Cream the butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar until you have a stiff, but fluffy consistency. Mix in the seeds of the vanilla bean and the extract. Add more powdered sugar or milk/cream as needed. You shouldn’t need more than a tablespoon or two of liquid, just enough to smooth out the consistency. Frosting is all about your personal tastes, so play around with how much sugar you add to reach exactly what you want!
I’ve dyed my frosting a baby blue (yay for baby Matthew and congratulations to Lisa and Al!). Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and decorate as you wish.