Why BEFORE Christmas?
Because my OTG is brand, friggin’, shiny new and I wanted to test it once, before diving into silky batters, fluffy dough beds, tiny yeast puddles or for that matter a velvety cheesecake bed with strawberries for cozy blankets.
A couple of friends might visit on Christmas Eve and they are expecting a fresh homemade cake. I want to really not disappoint them with a plate full of a half cooked gooey mess, that I would call a ‘cake’
I decided to begin with a cupcake because they are tiny and cute and so so handy. Plus I had also purchased a crisp set of cupcake liners that the child inside of me was dying to use.
Now what exactly is a cupcake? I’ve recently found out that a cupcake its the one that’s made by mixing the wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately and then folding them in together.
Turns out baking terms are not as easy as they sounded before I started baking. I might want to do a post about them soon. Until then here’s the recipe for the yummylicious vanilla cupcakes full of crunchy almonds and nutty fragrances. I’ve been getting too many pings for the recipe of this one, since I’ve posted the pictures on the page, so this comes on popular demand.
I happened to find the recipe on this amazing blog and I tweaked it a bit. Firstly I added less sugar than recommended as I wanted the flavor of the almonds to shine through. Secondly instead of slicing all the almonds, I sliced half of them and cut the remaining half into chunks. Believe me it tastes really good when these chunks land up under your teeth. And finally I completely ditched the frosting for a version of my own. Since I’m not a big fan of hard, sugary frosting on top of my cakes, I did a flowy version, the kind my mom used to make to go on my home-baked birthday cake when I was little.
The problem with typical frostings is they demand for too much sugar which makes them too sweet and granular to go with humble cakes with light, nutty flavors. These frostings are extremely concentrated and the size of it is as big as the base itself. Which means, when one bites into them, they take up a lot of space on your tongue for you to even slightly taste the base. In no way do they go hand in hand with the base.
Yep. Sugary (buttercream) frostings just got lawyered, people! I might try making sugary frostings with plain cakes, but not with the ones that are complete with nuts and flavors by themselves.
So my (or my mother’s) version of the frosting turned out to be a win win for me as the sweetness tingles on the tongue and the sugar granules cozily wrapped in the milk and butter crackle in the mouth right before the subtle flavors of the cupcake merrily dance around satisfying the taste buds.
Here’s the recipe for the cupcakes and frosting (my way):
What I gathered:
For the cupcakes
1 1/2 cup flour (maida)
A little more than 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 medium sized eggs
1/2 cup softened, unsalted butter
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup sliced almond, 1/4 chopped almond chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
A pinch of salt
For the frosting
2 tbsp softened, unsalted butter
1 tbsp milk
1/2 cup sugar
2-3 drops of vanilla extract
A drop of almond extract
How I put it together:
I set the oven to preheat at 200 degrees C with the top and bottom elements on while I gathered everything ‘white’ on to the counter top. Clockwise starting with the blender jar: buttermilk, almond and vanilla extracts, eggs, flour with baking powder, butter, powdered sugar and almonds in the center.
As I said, the dry and wet ingredients need to be mixed separately before being put together, while making cupcakes. I began with the wet ingredients.
In a mixing bowl, I whisked the butter and sugar until the mixture was light and fluffy. Added eggs one at a time beating them individually into the batter. Added the vanilla and almond extracts and mixed them well. Added half the buttermilk to this.
Took another bowl and and sifted the flour into it along with the baking powder. Topped it with almond slices and chunks, so they get somewhat evenly placed into the dry mixture.
Added the dry mixture in parts, into the the wet mixture along with the remaining buttermilk and blended it until it was smooth and had no lumps.
Lined the cupcake tin and filled each of the liners upto 3/4th full.
Baked at 170 degree C for 20 minutes.
The trick is to keep checking every now and then and get them out when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
And they’re ready.
Perfectly moist and spongy. Take a look at the texture. They disappear in seconds, mind you.
I beat the sugar and milk into the the butter and added the extracts. Dropped this runny frosting on the cupcake just enough so it didn’t spill over.
I made sure the cupcakes cooled down completely before I poured the frosting.
What I say:
Well they are easy to make and foolproof. Took me about hour to get them done, cooling and frosting excluded, which further took another 15-20 minutes.
There’s just one mistake I made. In the first batch I filled the liners too much.
As a result, the cupcake batter kind of spilled over and ended up having muffin tops. The tops then further became crunchy and burnt a little. It did not taste bad at all, but the perfectionist husband ended up picking the crunchy parts off and putting them away, which then I had to eat, in order to prevent wastage.
So the only thing to remember is to fill only 3/4th of the liners as it shows in the earlier pictures.
Otherwise making these cupcakes is a piece of cake. 😉 Perfect for your Christmas celebrations.
Give them try and let me know how they turned out.
Happy holidays you guuuuys. 🙂