Vanilla Almond Cupcakes

I don't really crave cupcakes or cake the way some people do.  My mom always made cookies and brownies growing up; it's what I got used to, and really love to eat and bake in turn.
So when I decided that Liz's Bridal Shower needed a gorgeous all white cupcake on a cake stand, I didn't have a go-to recipe.  Well, I have found it you guys.  Thank you Two Peas and Their Pod for posting these beauties at the exact right time; I immediately bought the necessary ingredients and made everything the night before the shower (but iced them the morning of).
I absolutely love the flavor of almond, and the one-two punch of almond extract and almond milk made these delicious.  The cake was tender and flavorful, and the icing was super creamy and full of almond flavor as well.  I'd love to have an excuse to make these again for something, because they were just superb.
I baked the cupcakes the night before the party, covered them loosely with foil and popped them in the fridge.  Even though the recipe said it would make 12 cupcakes, I stretched the batter a bit and was able to squeeze 18 cupcakes out of it.  I filled the tins about 1/2 to 2/3 full and still had good-sized cupcakes!
When I made the icing the night before, I loaded it all into a gallon-sized ziploc bag (there was a lot of icing!) and placed it in the fridge.  As soon as I woke up that morning, I took it out of the fridge to come to room temperature for a few hours, otherwise it would never have piped onto the cupcakes.  When pliable, snip a small corner of the bag and pipe directly onto the cupcakes!
I only used about half of the icing for all of these, so you could definitely be more liberal with your icing usage.  And if you want to add a bit of color or texture, add sprinkles or sparkling sugar to the tops of these!
I could not wait to try one, and finally got to during the "after-party" bachelorette party, and man... I am so glad I found this recipe!  So perfectly sweet and almondy, I should try more cupcake recipes!
And do you want to know my secret for dessert transport?  I save shoe boxes!  Line them in foil if transporting something like cookies, but this boot shoebox was big enough to hold all of these cupcakes as well as the mini cheesecakes, without having to stack them!  Cupcakes are a tough one to transport, and this was a perfect and cheap solution.  The best part?  I can leave the extra desserts behind without being worried about getting the box back.  Win win :-)
Vanilla Almond Cupcakes (from Two Peas and Their Pod)
serves 12-18, depending on cupcake fill

Cake Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose is fine)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
 2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup Almondmilk Unsweetened Vanilla

Icing Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons Almondmilk Unsweetened Vanilla
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
Sprinkles, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a cupcake pan (12-18 cups depending on how filled you want them) with paper liners. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together, then set aside.
 
In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and light yellow in color, scraping down the sides occasionally.

Add the eggs one at at time, mixing after each one.  Add the vanilla and almond extracts.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Mix until the flour is just incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake liners, filling 1/2 (18 cupcakes) to 2/3 (12 cupcakes) full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer pan to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the icing.  Using a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy.  With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until all 4 cups have been incorporated.  Mix in the milk, vanilla extract, and almond extract, and mix until smooth.

Place the frosting in a pastry bag and frost, or place in a large plastic bag and cut off the corner.  Decorate with sprinkles, if that's your thing.

**Frosting can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.  Remove and allow it to come to room temperature before using.  You can store the baked (and iced) cupcakes in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.  Let the cupcakes come to room temperature before serving.
Enjoy!

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