Things are getting a little nutty… and very delicious

In my last post I talked about my sister’s production company hiring me to make their premiere party cake for their new show United Stuff of America. As it turns out, her getting this job has worked out to my advantage more so than one would have originally thought. Not only does she get home from work later than I do, meaning I get first dibs on the microwave for dinner, which is HUGE, but I’m lucky enough that they keep asking me to make desserts for them for one celebration or another. (Which, unless it’s 7pm on a weeknight and I’m “hangrily” rushing to heat up my dinner, is the much bigger perk). This time, it was for someone’s going away party, and they wanted something a little smaller-scale than the big production the last cake was. So in the most literal sense- what’s something a little smaller than a cake? A cake, in cup-form, naturally.

I decided to do 2 dozen cupcakes and wanted two different but complimentary flavors. I guess I was feeling a little nutty (sorry for the Dad joke), because I decided to do my famous almond cupcakes and then peanut butter cupcakes (a new recipe).

Now when I say these almond cupcakes are famous, I mean they’re famous among my original key target audience- my family. My brother Ryan and my sister are obsessed with them to the point where they argue over who likes them more or claimed them as their favorite first (Ryan says they’re “his” almond cupcakes and Krista argues they’re “hers.”) So here you have it-

Ryan and/or Krista’s Famous Almond Cupcakes

From the Crazy for Cupcakes cookbook by Krystina Castella

**Be careful- the recipe below makes 3 dozen so you may want to halve it depending on how many you want.

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter,
at room temperature
1/2 cup walnut or vegetable oil
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup almonds ground and toasted
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line a medium cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In a bowl cream 1 cup sour cream, the butter, and the oil.
  3. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the sugar and almonds.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture in three additions. Mix thoroughly after each addition.
  5. In another bowl mix the eggs, 3/4 cup sour cream, almond extract, and vanilla extract.
  6. Add the egg mixture to the batter in three additions, beating for 1 minute after each addition.
  7. Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

I then topped them with original buttercream icing, but not before I gutted them out and filled them with white chocolate ganache using one of my favorite tools ever- the cupcake corer. Just plunge inside, twist around, and pull it out (yep, went there).

Almond cupcake with corer

Use the corer to gut out the inside of the cupcake

White Chocolate Ganache Recipe

Ingredients

1 heavy cream
8 ounces white chocolate chips

Instructions

1. Put the chocolate chips in a bowl and set aside.

2. In a separate saucepan, place the heavy cream on medium high heat until you achieve a constant, rolling boil.

3. Remove the mixture from heat and add it to the bowl of chocolate chips. Immediately cover the bowl of chips and cream with a layer of plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes.

4. Remove the plastic wrap and whisk the mixture so all ingredients blend and you get a fully blended and smooth. Let cool, then cover and keep at room temperature until ready to use.

Almond cupcakes filled with ganache

Fill the cupcakes with the ganache using a pastry bag

The second recipe I did- the peanut butter cupcakes- is from the same cookbook, and was one I hadn’t made before. Now I love this cookbook to pieces (or should I say crumbs?) but one big thing to note is that it doesn’t tell you how many cupcakes each recipe makes. The almond cupcakes above make 3 dozen so I decided to preemptively halve the peanut butter cupcakes assuming it would make a lot more, and it made 1 dozen perfectly. So the recipe below makes 2 dozen- just know that going in:

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Ingredients

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter (I used smooth but I bet crunchy would be better!)

1 1/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Insert liners into a cupcake pan
  2. In a large bowl cream together the butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Then mix in the vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternating with the milk. Mix well.
  5. Fill the cupcake liners one-half to three-quarters full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

These, I filled with regular chocolate ganache (the same as the white chocolate ganache but with semisweet chocolate chips) and topped them with the best buttercream I think I’ve ever made in my life- Hazelnutella. Nutella. Powdered Sugar. Butter. Yes. Yes. Yes. And YES.

Hazelnutella Buttercream Icing (aka the best thing I’ve ever eaten)

Ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

6 ounces Nutella

4 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon meringue powder

45 grams heavy cream

Instructions

1. Cream the butter, shortening, vanilla and salt until completely smooth.

2. Slowly add the cocoa powder and mix until completely blended.

3. Gradually add the Nutella and mix until completely blended.

4. Gradually add the powdered sugar and meringue powder.  Icing will appear dry and lumpy.

5. Add the cream and beat until the icing is light and fluffy.

 

Peanut Butter cupcakes with hazelnutella icing

Finished peanut butter cupcakes with the best Hazelnutella icing in the world.

Inside peanut butter cupcake

An inside look at the peanut butter with chocolate ganache

Almond cupcakes with buttercream icing

Almond cupcakes with buttercream icing, filled with white chocolate ganache

Now when I say they were a hit, that doesn’t say much about me- it really speaks more to the recipes. I have to change the name of the Almond cupcakes to “Ryan and/or Krista’s and/or EVERY PERSON ON THE PLANET’s famous almond cupcakes,” and did I mention the Nutella? Whatever didn’t go on the cupcakes immediately went right onto a spoon and into my mouth. So now that it’s all said and done, consider this post a big thank you to the company for giving me an excuse to go to town on that little brown jar. Hope you enjoy them too!

 

 

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