Monday, April 23, 2007

Almond Cupcakes with Brandy and Vanilla Buttercream


1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, chopped
4 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon Mexican Vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 Tablespoon of Brandy
tiny pinch of cardamon

Preheat oven to 325° With an electric mixer with a paddle attachment,combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Mix on low speed until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl down with a spatula as it mixes. Add butter pieces, mixing until just coated with flour.

In a small bowl mix together the liquids, eggs, milk, vanilla and almond extract. Whisk together eggs, Set your mixer down to medium and add wet ingredients in 4 equal parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated.  But do NOT overbeat!.

Divide batter evenly among two cupcake pans, using the little paper liners if you like.  Fill each about 2/3 full,. Bake, rotating pan halfway 17-21 minutes, inserting a toothpick into one in the center at about 19 minutes.  If it comes out clean, it's done 

Unless you have a really big oven, you'll have to cook one pan at a time to do the turning, but it does make them cook nice and evenly.

Frosting

1 cup salted butter, softened
3 cups confectioner's sugar
2 Tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

In a bowl  with a mixer, combine butter and sugar. If you don't have salted butter add a couple of pinches of salt (just shy of 1/8 tsp).  Beat on high for an additional minute, then add whipping cream and continue beating for 4 minutes (you want 5 minutes total whipping time).  Add another 1/2 Tablespoon whipped cream if necessary to get the consistency you want to pipe or spread. (I use a Wilton 1M pipe tip).

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