Sunday, July 17, 2011

Almond Cupcakes with Boozy Almond Frosting

Each month, I typically obsess for a few days about what kind of cupcakes I'm going to make.  This month was no different.  First, I thought amaretto cupcakes.  Then I realized that I don't drink amaretto.  And there's already too much odd liquor around this apartment without me adding more.  

Next, my roommate and I brainstormed some Independence Day themes.  And I promptly realized that I had already executed our top two picks: some sort of apple-flavored cupcakes or berry cupcakes.

Determined not to give up, we next thought that I could make a fruity daiquiri cupcake (think strawberry daiquiri).  I confess that I don't really like fresh fruit.  I think the fruit knows this because each time I try to incorporate it into a cupcake, things don't turn out exactly as planned.  You know how some people have a "black thumb" instead of a "green thumb" when it comes to gardening?  Well, I have a "black thumb" when it comes to fruity cupcakes.  I can't seem to make them both look AND taste great.  If I'm lucky, I'll get them to look OR taste great.  But that's as far as I've gotten. So after a few more days of thought, I nixed the daiquiri cupcake idea.

I looked at a few more recipes, but in the end this month's cupcake flavor was determined by several key factors: 1) my lack of free time to make cupcakes; 2) trying to adapt to the lack of time by using ingredients I already had on hand; 3) my constant desire to make almond cupcakes.  Note how my desire to make these cupcakes comes after the convenience of making these cupcakes.  Don't get me wrong.  I actually have been wanting to make almond cupcakes for a really long time, but I kept getting caught up in more elaborate cupcake ideas.  There's something to be said about making a simple(ish) cupcake.

So almond cupcakes it was.  And of course, what would a TBK cupcake be if it didn't have alcohol in the frosting?  As I stated above, my roommate and I seem to have a large supply of alcohol that we never drink.  We get these odd liquors and liqueurs at one of the two parties we have each year.  These beverages tend to just hang around until the next party, when someone may finish a bottle or two.  But that doesn't matter because by the end of the night, more bottles of alcohol that we won't drink will show up.  It's a vicious, never-ending cycle.

Almond Cupcakes
slightly adapted from Smithalicious
yields ~24 cupcakes

Print Recipe
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups + 5 tablespoons cake flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Fill cupcake tins with liners.

2) Sift (or whisk!) the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

3) In another bowl, cream the butter at medium speed for several minutes until smooth and almost white in color.

4) Mix in the sugar and beat until combined.

5) Add the eggs and beat until the batter is smooth.

6) Slowly add the dry ingredients which were mixed together earlier.  Beat the batter until smooth.

7) Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.  I recommend rotating the cupcakes halfway through so they'll bake more evenly.

Boozy Almond Frosting
slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Bailey's frosting
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 - 5 cups confections sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons Godiva liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 24 drops blue food coloring (optional)
  • 8 drops green food coloring (optional)

1) Whip the butter using an electric or hand mixer for several minutes. You want the butter to look almost white and be very light and fluffy.

2) Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. Slowly.

3) When the frosting is thick, add the almond extract, Godiva, and Bailey's. Whip until combined. If the frosting is too thin at this point, add another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.

4) Add food coloring, if desired.

5) Pipe or spread on the cupcakes.

For the frosting, I first decided to make an almond and Godiva-flavored frosting.  Almond and chocolate flavors go great together, right?  Well, in actuality I really didn't care for it.  So how do you fix this?  Bailey's.  Bailey's fixes everything.  It's like duct tape for frosting.  Yum!

The cake turned out light and slightly crumbly, but still moist.  The frosting was a smooth mix of the almond and Bailey's flavors.  I don't think I really needed the Godiva in there, but the flavor wasn't prominent at all.  If I were to make the frosting again, I would just leave out the Godiva.  I made the frosting a bright Tiffany blue because I liked the color, but also because the un-tinted frosting was an unattractive tan color.  Obviously you can make the frosting whichever color you like.  Overall, this was a cupcake success!

Irrelevant side note: Interestingly enough, when I took these cupcakes to work, no one picked up on the boozy frosting.  Am I working with drunks?

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