In the spirit of Pittsburgh’s famous burnt almond torte, I give you these toasted almond cupcakes. I have to admit: I like toasted, not burnt, almonds better, but you can certainly cook yours for longer if you prefer the burnt kind.
The next time I make these cupcakes, I’ll fill them with some almond pastry cream, but they’re absolutely delicious no matter what. While they may look fancy, they’re actually very easy to prepare; just put a simple white almond cupcake together with some almond buttercream, then add your toasted almonds on top. I recommend making your cupcakes first, then toasting your almonds, then making your frosting so the cupcakes and almonds are both cool enough to use.
Makes 16 cupcakes.
White Almond Cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two cupcake tins with paper liners.
In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream together sugar, shortening, and salt until fluffy.
Add egg, vanilla, and almond; beat until combined.
Add flour mixture and milk in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour and beating until just combined.
Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of batter into each cupcake well, filling about half full.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately place cupcakes on wire racks to cool before frosting.
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
In a medium bowl, combine almonds, sugar, and water; stir to combine.
Place mixture in a saute pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 5-7 minutes until almonds turn a light golden brown. Almonds will start out looking wet and will appear dry when they are almost done.
Remove from heat and pour onto a platter to cool completely before using.
Fluffy Almond Buttercream
- 10 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons almond extract
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
In a mixing bowl, beat butter for about 1 minute.
Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until all of the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter; this will take a few minutes.
Add vanilla extract and almond extract, beating well to combine.
Add heavy cream and beat for about 2 minutes until fluffy.
To frost and decorate the cupcakes: fit a 14-inch pastry bag with a Wilton 1M tip and pipe generous swirls of frosting onto each cupcake. Sprinkle toasted almonds onto each cupcake, gently pressing them into the frosting so they stick.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.