Thursday, September 10, 2009

Any excuse to bake

So I have a work meeting tomorrow, so I figured it's a good excuse to make another batch of cupcakes :) I wasn't sure whether people would be in the mood for vanilla or chocolate so I found a recipe for vanilla almond cupcakes. I love me some almond flavoring! What's a bit different about this recipe is there are no eggs, it uses coconut milk, and almond meal. Just a little warning about the almond meal - its friggin expensive!! But the cupcakes came out great. As for the icing I made the blackberry buttercream that was listed with the recipe. It comes out to a beautiful purple/pink color. I also made a batch of white chocolate cream cheese buttercream. Both taste great with the cake. For decor, I'm not experience in fondant yet, but for now I sprinkled a bit of pearl dust to add a beautiful shimmer to the icing. I Hope they like them tomorrow!

Vanilla Almond Cupcakes
(From Love and Olive Oil)

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 vanilla bean (seeds only)

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, sift together flour, almond
meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add sugar and mix. Whisk together oil, coconut milk, vanilla bean, and almond extract. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until relatively smooth. Fill cupcake liners with a scant 1/4 cup of batter (should be just under 2/3 of the way full). Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely. *Notes: I doubled the recipe to make about 18 regular size cupcakes and 12 mini cupcakes.

Blackberry Buttercream
(From Love and Olive Oil)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons fresh blackberry puree, strained

1/2 vanilla bean (seeds only)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

For frosting, cream butter in electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Slowly add 1 cup sugar and beat until smooth. Add blackberry puree and mix until combined. Add remaining confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and beat until well incorporated. Add vanilla bean and extract and mix at medium-high speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.
*Notes: When making fresh blackberry puree - use a cheesecloth to strain the seeds. White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Baking Bites)

4-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1-oz white chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp milk or cream
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar

In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese, butter and melted white chocolate. Beat in vanilla and milk, then add in the confectioners’ sugar gradually until the frosting reaches your desired consistency (make it a bit stiffer if you wish to pipe it onto the cupcakes instead of spreading it with a knife).
Spread frosting onto cupcakes with a knife, or transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a wide tip and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. *Notes: I used 1/3 of a fresh vanilla bean in place of the vanilla extract. I also used about 2-3oz white chocolate.

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