Friday, May 23, 2008

Apricot Almond Cupcakes

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.
Apricot Almond Cupcakes
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
1/2 flour
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
almond liquor

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.


Leslie said...

mmmm.these look delish..I just dont have any almond liquor around the house. DO you think almond extract would do, or would it give it that fake almondy taste?

kat said...

Leslie - I'm not sure how strong extract is since I've never used it but try adding a little at a time to the frosting until you like the flavor.

Jen said...

Hi Kat- I have just discovered Italian meringue buttercream too. I really thought that I didn't like buttercream frosting (because to the reasons you mentioned) but I do like the Italian kind- in limited amounts : )

Nikki @ NikSnacks said...

Making Italian merengue can be tricky. I'm so glad this buttercream turned out for you! My buttercreams usually turn out gritty too. It's all about the temperature!

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Measurement Abbreviations

T = Tablespoon
t = teaspoon
c = cup
lb = pound
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