When searching for cupcakes to make for my friend Marianne’s engagement party, I called upon a memory of one of my favorite cupcakes from Zilly Rosen, from the now-closed, Zillycakes. I naturally gravitated to the delicious almond cupcake the first time I saw it because I love all things almond. Almond croissants. Bostock. Italian almond cookies. Marzipan.
After much research, I grabbed a few recipes I wanted to test and got to work, with a clear front-runner emerging–a recipe from Martha Stewart using orange and marmalade, which featured buttermilk. I am bias toward dessert recipes featuring buttermilk because I think it’s magic. It transforms ordinary ingredients to extraordinary desserts. The result for the party was heavily adapted from Martha’s recipe, with raspberries and jam in place of the orange and marmalade. Since this is a denser cake, I sensed my fluffy mascarpone frosting would be a decadent accompaniment, and indeed, everyone remarked on the frosting’s wonderful consistency. Best of all, the bride and groom-to-be loved them. Here’s the recipe for these scrumptious cupcakes:
- 4 ounces almond paste
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Raspberries for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Line 18 muffin-pan cups with paper liners.
- Using a teaspoon or melon baller and your hands, roll almond paste into tiny balls; set aside.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and jam until pale pink and fluffy, about 4 minutes. In a food processor, process almonds until finely ground. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and process until almonds are completely incorporated into flour mixture.
- With mixer on low, beat eggs, one at a time, into butter mixture, scraping down bowl after each addition. Add buttermilk and flour mixture each in three additions, scraping down bowl each time. Beat in vanilla.
- Add half of almond paste balls to batter and stir with a spoon. Place remaining almond paste on top of each cupcake. (This is to allow some to sink in and some to remain close to the top of the cupcake.)
- Fill each muffin cup with batter. Bake until golden, about 22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Let cupcakes cool in pans on wire racks. Top each with mascarpone frosting and garnish with a raspberry.
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Chill bowl and beaters for 20 minutes.
- With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to over-beat).
- In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add extract.
- Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.
You’ll see the last line of the frosting’s directions is “Use immediately.” You can keep this frosting in the refrigator for a very short period, but it loses its thick and fluffy body with time. For best results, hold off on making this until you’re about to frost and serve these treats.