I was a little disappointed with the last batch of cupcakes I made. They were okay…Decent-enough that the bambino actually ate the cake portion. He usually only eats the frosting and maybe whatever cake crumbs happen to be attached. But they weren’t up to my standards, so I decided to combine the strawberry buttercream (which was very very delicious) with an almond cupcake, because I love the combination of strawberries and almonds together. So I made Almond Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream.
These, quite possibly, are the best cupcakes I have ever made. I got a lot of compliments on my S’Mores Cupcakes, but these (if you’ll pardon the expression) take the cake. I think people were just impressed by the amount of work that goes into the S’Mores Cupcakes. But I like these better.
They’re dense without being heavy. And they’re rich without being cloying or sickeningly-sweet. One is enough.
1 C unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature and cut into cubes
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the sugar, oil, eggs and 1 tsp. almond extract until smooth. Add in the flour mixture and the milk alternately, with three additions of the flour mixture and two of the milk. Add in the simple syrup and 1/4 tsp. almond extract, being careful not to over-mix.
Fill the paper liners ? full with the batter, and bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
While the cupcakes are cooling, mix together the strawberries and 1 Tbsp of sugar. Allow to sit uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Puree the berries and sugar, and strain to remove the seeds.
In the clean bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites and the 3/4 C sugar. Set over a saucepan of simmering water, and whisk constantly, until the mixture is warm and the sugar is dissolved (rub a small bit between your finger and thumb–It should be smooth). This can take anywhere from 5-7 minutes.
Place the bowl on the mixer, and whip on high speed with the whisk attachment until the bowl is cool to the touch and the mixture holds stiff peaks. This may take 10 minutes, or longer.
Switch to the paddle attachment and drop the speed to medium-low. Begin adding the butter, a couple Tbsp at a time. Beat well after each addition. The mixture may look curdled after all the butter has been added–This is normal. Continue beating and the mixture should come together. Add the vanilla, and beat on low speed to eliminate air bubbles.
Add in the strawberry puree and beat on medium until the puree is incorporated and the frosting is smooth.
Recipe Type: Dessert
To make simple syrup, combine equal parts of sugar and water, heat until the sugar is dissolved, then cool.