Happy Birthday Cherry Almond Cupcakes
So I know I said I needed 4 weeks off, but there was an emergency. A birthday emergency. Today was Pantea’s birthday BBQ and I am the official cupcake maker. I wanted a cupcake that would make Pantea smile, and I knew she was a big fan of the cherry almond combination. So I had a plan. And John offered to fill in for my busted hands.
First I (John) made an almond cake batter and poured it into cupcake pans.
Then I (John) placed a cherry on top. As the cake baked, the cherry would sink down to the middle of the cake, a nice little surprise for whoever bit into it.
While the cakes baked I (John) got started making the frosting. I wanted a swiss meringue buttercream, so I whipped up a meringue.
Then I (John) whipped in the butter. In case you didn’t already know, there is a LOT of butter in buttercream. Makes me happy just thinking about it.
Once I had a nice fluffy buttercream, I (John) mixed in some strained cherry jam.
I let my cupcakes cool on a rack.
Then I (John) brushed on some of that cherry jam.
Then topped them with the cherry buttercream.
And finished them off with some toasted almond slices and a cherry.
Happy Birthday Pantea!
ALMOND CUPCAKES (adapted from Flo Braker):
2/3 cup AP flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
8 ounces almond paste, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
5 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Pulse the almond paste and sugar in a food processor until mixture is sandy.
- Pour almond mixture into mixer bowl and beat with paddle for 30 seconds.
- Continue on low speed while adding the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon. Stop the machine after all the buttcr has been added, and scrape the mixture clinging to the sides down into the center of bowl. Increase the speed to medium and cream until mixture is smooth, lighter in color, and fluffy in texture (about 3 minutes). No lumps of almond paste should be visible.
- With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly pour in the eggs one at a time.
- Continue to cream, scraping the sides of the bowl at least once, until the mixture appears light in color and fluffy in texture (about 2 minutes). Beat in the lemon zest.
- Fold in the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl often and mixing until smooth.
- Pour the batter into a lined cupcake pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center is removed free of cake.
- Allow to cool. Makes around 18 cupcakes.
4 oz egg whites (roughly 4 large eggs)
8 oz sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
22 tbsp (11 oz) butter, room temperature, chopped into ½” chunks.
1 jar of good (no corn syrup) cherry jam
- Strain cherry jam through sieve.
- Heat up some water in a large saucepan.
- Put egg whites and sugar in a kitchen aid mixing bowl and whisk together.
- Place bowl in simmering water and whisk until egg whites register 145 on a thermometer.
- Remove from heat and whip at high speed until cooled and you have a stiff meringue.
- Gradually add the butter in pieces, while whipping constantly.
- Continue mixing until smooth and creamy. The buttercream will go through a phase inversion as (or after) the butter is added. This will make it looked curdled. Keep mixing, it will come back together.
- Add strained cherry jam, 1 TBSP at a time until it tastes like you want.
*Keep buttercream at room temperature, it’s a pain to warm up if it’s been refrigerated.
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