This week was another of Matt's flavor choices for cupcakes. I have to say his ideas have been pretty darn good. This cupcake was not overly sweet, we even used a reduced sugar jam for the filling. I love the flavor of the almond liquor in the frosting & also the toasted almonds on top.
As I may have mentioned before I've been having a hard time with frosting. My buttercreams have been coming out really sweet & often gritty or broken. I do ok with ganache & glazes but I really wanted a more traditional frosting. I had recently read about Italian Merengue Buttercream & how it had a wonderful texture but not the overly sweet like butter mixed with tons of powdered sugar can be. People were saying it could be a little fussy & a little tricky but I found a recipe on recipezaar that someone said was perfect everytime. Well it turned out beautifully. I was so thrilled & now I have a buttercream that I can make again & again.
Apricot Almond Cupcakes
(adapted from Just Plain Good Cupcakes in Small-Batch Baking )
2 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 c yogurt
1/8 t baking soda
1/8 t baking powder
yolk of 1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 cup + 2 T sugar
4 t apricot jam
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place paper liners in four muffin cups. Combine yogurt, baking soda & baking powder in a small bowl & stir to mix. Gently whisk in egg & vanilla.
In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar & salt. Add the butter & half of the yogurt mixture. Beat on low speed until moistened. Increase to medium & beat until light & fluffy. Add remaining yogurt mixture & beat on medium until well blended.
Fill each muffin tin 1/3 full with batter. Spoon 1 t of jam on top of the batter in each cup and then top with remaining batter. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until golden.
Remove from the pan & place on a rack to cool. Brush a little almond liquor on the top of each cupcake.
Makes 4 cupcakes
Almond Italian Buttercream Frosting
1 1/4 oz egg whites
1/4 c + 1 T sugar
1 T + 1 t water
1/4 lb butter, cut into pieces
2 1/2 t almond liquor
Beat the egg whites until almost a the stiff peak stage. Heat the sugar & water in a small sauce pan until it reaches 240 F. With a mixer on low slowly pour the sugar into the egg whites, then turn to high & whip until cool. Slowly add the butter & continue beating until you reach the desired consistency & smoothness. (I read that part of the trick is to have you butter at the same temperature as the egg whites, so I let the butter get to room temp) Beat in almond liquor.
Frost cooled cupcakes & top with toasted almond slivers.
Makes enough frosting for 4 cupcakes
You can refrigerate this frosting but bring it back to room temperature & beat a little before using.