Friday, April 19, 2013

Strawberry Almond Cupcakes

It is spring isn't it? As many upstate New Yorkers know,  even though the calendar says it's spring, doesn't mean that Mother Nature chooses to listen. With all this 30 degrees one day, then 70 degrees the next day nonsense, I am starting to get antsy. So since I have yet to be able to control the weather (unfortunately), I figured I'd try to send some good juju into the world by baking up something suited for the spring time- strawberry almond cupcakes. 
I saw a recipe a while ago for strawberry cheesecake mousse, which I have been dying to try to make and I figured why not put it in the middle of a cupcake? Why not an almond cupcake? With whipped cream and roasted almonds on top? This way, even if the weather doesn't cooperate, I'll have a delicious treat to distract me.
Here's to hoping this peace offering is enough to have Mother Nature bringing some sunshine very soon!


Strawberry Almond Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
{adapted from glorioustreats.com and allrecipes.com}

For the cupcakes:

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 24 raw almonds (for garnish)
Directions
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 12 cupcake cups with liners. In a bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder.
  2. Using a mixer, cream together sugar and butter until well blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Gradually beat in the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, in several additions. Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 full.
  3. Bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  4. To roast almonds: while the oven is still preheated to 350 degrees F, spread the almonds out onto a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant. Let cool before using for garnish.
For the filling:

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen whole strawberries
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1- 8 oz block of cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. In a food processor, or blender, chop/blend fresh or frozen (and slightly thawed) strawberries. Process until strawberries are chopped, juicy and no piece is larger than a pea. Set puree aside.
  2. Using a mixer, whip heavy cream until it begins to thicken. Add 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Move whipped cream to separate bowl.
  3. Beat cream cheese with mixer until smooth. Add 1/3 cup powdered sugar and continue to beat. Stir in vanilla, then add in strawberry puree (made in step 1) a little at a time. Beat until fully incorporated.
  4. Fold cream cheese mixture into the whipped cream until fully combined.
For the frosting:

Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
Directions
  1. Whip cream with powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Dissolve gelatin in water over low heat (or place in microwave for about 10 seconds). Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, then whip into cream until stiff peaks form.
Assembly

Make a hole in the cooled cupcakes using the cone method (cut a cone shape out of the top of the cupcake, then cut the pointed bottom off to leave you with a flat circular piece of cake to place back over the hole after filling). Then spoon or pipe in the strawberry filling. Replace the circular piece of cake over the hole. Then pipe whipped cream on top of cupcake for frosting. Garnish with 2 roasted almonds on each cupcake.

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