Wednesday, November 14, 2012

almond clementine cupcakes with cream cheese icing

Lately the KitchenAid mixer has been making me feel guilty. Just sitting, unused, in the corner of the counter it's practically giving me puppy eyes. Everytime I enter the kitchen there's a little twinge of "I should bake something" and last weekend I finally got around to it.

I've been promising Bunny some sort of cake for weeks now and I still hadn't gotten around to it. Cupcakes seemed the easiest since I wanted to make icing as well. Me being me I wanted to do something a little bit unusual though. Something needed to be different. Nosing around the pantry I came up with a bag of almonds and a box of clementines and naturally I figured that almonds and clementines would make a good cupcake combination.

Then I pulled out my favourite cookbook of all time, the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook and looked at a couple of recipes. I kind of mashed the recipes for yellow cake and chocolate cupcakes, with some modifications, together into these beauties. Using the almond flour here gave them a rather dense, crumbly texture rather than traditional airy cakeness, but I liked the end result. I may have eaten three last night. Luckily with the in laws next door I was able to unload half the batch without too much trouble.

Almond and Clementine Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing
makes about 18 regular cupcakes

For the CupCakes:
  • 3/4 cups butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • juice of 2 clemetines (if you're better with a microplane than I am, add the zest too! My clementines just wouldn't zest)
  • 2/3 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup almond flour (which, if all you have are whole or partial almonds you can make by zipping it up in a food processor. About 2/3 cups whole almonds worked into 1 cup almond flour for me)
For the cream cheese frosting
  • 250 grams of plain or light cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • juice of 2 clementines
  1. Preheat the oven to 375*F.
  2. Prepare muffin pans for baking. Either lightly grease the cups or use cupcake liners.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved into the butter and it's nice and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, vanilla and clementine juice and beat until eggs are well incorporated and there are no obvious chunks of butter.
  5. Add the milk and mix until incorporated.
  6. Add the almond flour, baking powder and salt and mix until evenly distributed. Once the almond flour is fully incorporated, add the all purpose flour and mix in.
  7. Full the muffin tins about 3/4 of the way full. These cupcakes don't rise a whole ton so they can fill most of the cup.
  8. Bake approximately 20-25 minutes. You're looking for golden edges to the cupcakes and for a toothpick inserted in the centre to come out clean.
  9. Let cook in muffin tin for 10 minutes, transfer to cooking rack to finish cooling before frosting.

Make your Icing
Note: this makes about twice as much icing as you need. Unless you really like icing.
  1. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese together with the clementine juice. You want the juice fully distributed through the cream cheese and the texture will get just a touch watery.
  2. Add the icing sugar 1 cup at a time to the cream cheese mixture. Stir until fully mixed in and the sugar has completely been absorbed into the cream cheese. Taste throughout the process. With all four cups of icing sugar the icing should be much thicker, in fact almost as thick as the cream cheese was before adding the clementine juice.
  3. If it's not sweet enough, add more sugar. Alternatively, because you've been tasting throughout the process, you can always stop when you get to the sweetness level you prefer.
Once your icing is made and your cupcakes are fully cooled go ahead and frost them. Then watch them disappear.

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