Everyone that knows me knows that when I’m stressed, I cook or bake (or both). I rarely eat what I bake, just bake it, feed it to the guys in my house, and move on to baking something else. How much time I spend in the kitchen is directly proportional to my stress levels and at the moment, they’re approaching Defcon 1. That being said, yesterday I decided to make a test batch of cupcakes to try out a new recipe I concocted while up at 2 am feeding an angry 2 month old. I know, I know *sigh* everyone and their mother is attempting cupcakes right now while it’s still the “in thing”. I feel like it’s on its way out, though, and I love cupcakes for the simple fact that my oldest son’s daycare acts as a built-in testing ground for all of my baking.
I prefer vanilla or white cupcakes as they’re lighter tasting and don’t dry out as quickly as a chocolate based cupcake, but my recent dieting has made me crave chocolate (oh yes, I’m on a dairy free-gluten free Paleo diet while taking care of the afore-mentioned 2 month old, an almost-3-year old, and my husband. I assure you I am not, in fact, crazy although I know it appears that way), so I decided to attempt a chocolate almond cupcake. I modified the chocolate cupcake recipe I have in my head and on the very first attempt, I made the following:
Chocolate Biscotti Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting (makes 15 cupcakes)
Chocolate Biscotti Cupcakes
1 cup almond milk or milk (I used almond milk)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup + 2 tbsp cake flour (I always use Swan’s Down)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp hot chocolate powder
1/2 tsp instant coffee powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees; line 2 muffin pans with liners.
Combine the apple cider vinegar and almond milk; set aside until it curdles (about 5-10 min). While you’re waiting for it to curdle, sift together (in a separate bowl) the flour, baking soda, cocoa, hot chocolate, instant coffee powder, cinnamon, and salt.
Next add the vanilla, almond extract, sugar, and oil to the curdled milk (which is now basically homemade buttermilk). Beat together until foamy.
Add the dry mixture into the wet in two batches; stir well in between mixing. Stir until all large clumps are gone (small ones remaining are ok). Don’t overmix.
Bake for 15-18 minutes (depending on oven) and when done, cool on a wire rack. While cupcakes are cooling, prepare frosting.
Almond Buttercream Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (or you can put in the microwave for 15 seconds at 50% power, but do NOT let it melt!)
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp. heavy cream (preferred) or almond milk/milk
pinch of salt
Dump both sticks of butter in mixing; cream until fluffy looking.
Add in confectioners sugar, one cup at a time. Mix well between cups and scrape sides of bowl.
Add in vanilla and almond extracts plus salt. Mixture will be stiff- add in cream or milk, 1 tbsp. at a time until desired consistency is reached. If using a piping bag, you want it thicker so it holds its shape. 2 tbsp. should be plenty, 3 tbsp. is better for filling in between layers.
Now either using a hand mixture or stand mixer, continue to beat the frosting until it becomes fluffy as air is added in, and keep beating until your arm gives out or it looks fluffy enough for you.
There will be frosting left over, but it can be used in a few different things. I usually put it on pancakes for the guys, or make crepes and stuff it into those. Also, it makes a killer latte if you put it on top of coffee. Better yet, enjoy one or two cupcakes WITH coffee 😉