This Thanksgiving I was put in charge of desserts, and I wanted to try something new that I had never done before. Granted I had never made a pie before, so I could have just done a pumpkin or apple pie, but I also wanted to do something not so traditional, so for my first dessert item, I decided to try this recipe I found at http://crumbsandcookies.blogspot.com/ , the original recipe is from Baked.
Let me start off by giving a little backstory on why I was interested in this recipe. In June, my uncle got married and their wedding cake was almond. It was absolutely to die for, and ever since I have been obsessed with all things almond in an attempt to try and taste the deliciousness of that wedding cake again. These cupcakes would be the start of my search for the perfect almond cake recipe, with the green tea frosting being an interesting little twist.
These cupcakes gave me some trouble, though. While making the cake batter, I accidentally got too close to my hand mixer and it whacked my knuckle, cutting me a bit. I guess you could literally say I put my blood into them, but not really. Then, later when I was icing them, I was attempting to make a pretty design with my icing bag, and after about seven cupcakes instead of coming out the tip like it is supposed to, my icing started coming out of the top and spilling everywhere-literally backfiring. So, I had to ice the rest plainly with just a knife. Luckily it didn’t matter because the icing recipe makes a HUGE amount of icing. Seriously, even with all my spilling, I still had more than I needed for the cupcakes.
Also, these were the most expensive cupcakes I have ever made. Really, this was the most expensive icing I have ever made. It calls for matcha powder, which, let me tell you if you don’t already know, is pricey. I bought the smallest tin I could find and it still cost me around $20. Thats $20 for one ingredient alone! This was really a difficult purchase for me to make, as I’m on my college-student budget, but I had high hopes for this recipe and went for it.
Sadly, I was disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, they’re good cupcakes, moist and fluffy as cupcakes should be, but I felt they lacked flavor. I expected to really taste the almond and green tea, but instead they just tasted like a plain but yummy cupcake. Everyone gobbled them up but if I were to make them again, I would probably add more almond extract and matcha powder, and cut down the measurements for the icing recipe (except for the matcha powder) because I had no use for all that extra icing and it went to waste.
Okay, now that you’ve read through all of that- here is the recipe.
For the Almond Cupcake:
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. pure almond extract
1 large egg
1 cup ice cold water
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
For the Green Tea Frosting:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. unsweetened matcha powder
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1. Make the almond cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the almonds until they are a find powder. Put the powdered almonds in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in to a large bowl and set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, add the egg, and beat until just combined. Turn the mixer to low. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the ice water, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
5. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Fold in the powdered almonds.
6. Fill the cupcake liners about three quarters full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and place them on the rack to cool completely.
7. Make the green tea frosting: In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar, flour, and matcha powder together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 20 minutes.
8. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
9. Add the vanilla and continue beating until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put it in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then mix it again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and mix again.
10. Frost the cupcakes.