Almond Cupcakes with Amaretto Buttercream

Almond Cupcakes with Amaretto Buttercream are heavy on almond flavor. A moist almond-flour cupcake is topped with a rich Amaretto buttercream. Share these with anyone who loves everything almond!

Almond Cupcakes with Amaretto Buttercream

I’ve been rather lax with baking anything lately. I got a little burned out over the holidays, and I’ve been busy at work. And I just haven’t felt that inspired lately.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy it any more. I do. I dunno.

It’s hard for me to articulate without sounding like a whiny brat or a complete jerk.

That being said, since this is a long weekend for me, Jay asked if there were any projects I had in mind. I’ll have the time, and he and the bambino like having baked goods around.

I did tell him that I had a couple ideas in the back of my head. One of them being these:

Almond Cupcakes with Amaretto Buttercream

Almond Cupcakes with Amaretto Buttercream.

I’ve been wanting to do an almond cupcake for awhile now. I have a bag of almond meal in the freezer that’s barely been used. I don’t think I’ve made cupcakes since before Christmas, and that was only because a coworker hired me to make a dozen.

Almond Cupcakes with Amaretto Buttercream

I had thought about topping them with chocolate frosting, but decided against that. I wanted something to reinforce the almond flavor. I have a dusty bottle of amaretto sitting on top of the fridge I haven’t used in ages.

Also, it’s a good thing alcohol doesn’t exactly go bad, since I keep meaning to buy Sour Mix and just make myself the occasional Amaretto Sour!

These Almond Cupcakes with Amaretto Buttercream are good. Moist, and very heavy on the almond flavor without being too overpowering. The frosting is heavenly!

Almond Cupcakes with Amaretto Buttercream

I did have some issues. The buttercream didn’t really want to come together, and was a little curdled.

About Swiss Meringue Buttercream

There are a lot of buttercream varieties out there. American Buttercream and Swiss Meringue Buttercream are the two I most commonly make. I did attempt a French buttercream once upon a time, but I don’t like to talk about it.

Swiss meringue is my favorite of the two. Depending on the flavor I’m making, American buttercream can often be TOO sweet, almost cloying.

Swiss meringue buttercream, though, is silky and rich. And the sweetness will not make your teeth hurt just thinking about it.

Almond Cupcakes with Amaretto Buttercream

Swiss meringue is time-consuming, but it’s rather easy. You cook the egg whites and sugar in a double-boiler, then whip the mixture into a meringue. Add your butter and other flavorings, and you’re done.

If you have a stand mixer, this will take about forty-five minutes from start to finish. You can try making it with a hand-mixer, though I have never made it that way, so I have NO idea how it would turn out or how long it might take.

One thing I’ve always heard in regards to Swiss meringue buttercream is that people tend to freak out when the mixture starts looking curdled (and it will). One of the nice things about Swiss meringue buttercream is that you can beat the heck out of it and it will eventually come together.

Which is what I had to do. Along with nuking a bit of the frosting to mix back in. In some cases (like summer), you may need to pop the buttercream in the freezer for ten to fifteen minutes if your butter is too warm.

I am 99% sure the problem in my case is that my butter was too cold. My kitchen is drafty and it’s frigid today. But it finally came together, and I got some pretty cupcakes in the end.

I almost don’t want to share these! And I don’t think I will.

Also, I keep forgetting to mention, there’s still time to enter my Progresso giveaway!

Yield: 12-15

Almond Cupcakes with Amaretto Buttercream

Almond Cupcakes with Amaretto Buttercream
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 C almond meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 C canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/3 C milk
  • 2 Tbsp. simple syrup (see Notes)
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract

For the frosting:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2-3 Tbsp. amaretto liquor

Instructions

  1. Make the cupcakes first. 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.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, oil, eggs and almond extract until smooth. Add in the flour mixture and the milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add in the simple syrup and almond extract, being careful not to over-mix.
  3. Fill the paper liners 2/3 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.
  4. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Cut the butter into small cubes and set aside. Wipe down a hand whisk, whisk attachment, and the inside of a stand mixer bowl with vinegar or with lemon juice.
  5. Combine the egg whites and sugar in the mixing bowl, and cook over a double-boiler or a pan of simmering water. Whisk the mixture while cooking, until the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites are hot (you can check by rubbing a small bit of the mixture between your fingers--If it feels smooth, it's done; if it feels gritty, keep cooking).
  6. Place the bowl on the mixer and begin whipping the egg whites, starting on low speed, then gradually increasing to medium-high. Whip until the bowl feels cool to the touch and stiff peaks form. This can take up to 10 minutes.
  7. Reduce the speed to medium low, and begin adding the butter, a couple tablespoons at a time. Mix well after each addition. Once all the butter has been added, whisk in the amaretto.
  8. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on low speed for 2 minutes to eliminate any air bubbles. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat until completely smooth.
  9. If using the same day, keep the frosting at room temperature until ready to use.

Notes

To make simple syrup, combine equal parts of sugar and water, heat until the sugar is dissolved, then cool.

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