Sweet, fragrant almond cupcakes filled with a decadent chocolate ganache and topped with a delicious fresh strawberry buttercream. The strawberry and almond flavour pairing complement each other perfectly and the addition of that surprise chocolate elevates these cupcakes to the next level of deliciousness.
We are big strawberry fans in my household and I have been wanting to incorporate a strawbery buttercream with a cupcake for a while. Then the other day I topped my porridge with strawberry compote and flaked oats and bang, right there was my flavour inspiration for these cupcakes.
Sweet nutty almond flavour in a soft light sponge topped with fresh and light strawberry buttercream. And then with the added surprise of a chocolate ganache filling … I tell you, these flavours are SO delicious.
What is almond meal?
Almond meal, almond flour or ground almonds are made out of sweet almonds and ground to a fine consistency.
In case this is the first time using this ingredient let me first explain what almond meal is.
What’s the difference between Almond Meal and Almond Flour ?
Traditionally almond meal is made out of whole almonds. The skin of the almond has been left on and you can see the dark brown pieces in the meal (this is the almond skin). Almond meal, however can be made from unblanched alomnds too.
Almond flour is made out of blanched almonds where the skin has been removed and is much whiter in colour
For most recipes using either almond meal or almond flour will result in the same end product. There are a few recipes where it’ll make a difference, for example French Macarons require almond flour for its finer consistency allowing for a smoother shell to the macaron.
Why does almond meal work so well in these cupcakes?
Most cupcake recipes don’t call for almond meal but I specifically wanted to create one that embodied the deliciousness of almonds.
Adding in the ground almonds adds a moistness to the finished cupcake that you just can’t beat. Plus the sweet, nutty flavour that you get is amazing.
I intensified the almond flavour by adding a small amount of almond extract and this gives you the most divine tasting almond cupcakes.
When should you make your chocolate ganache?
Whilst your almond cupcakes are baking I would set about making your chocolate ganache as once made you need to leave it cool and set.
If you tried pouring hot ganache into the centre of your cupcakes you’d have a disaster on your hands. The heat of the chocolate would slowly but surely melt your beautifully whipped buttercream. You’d then be left with a sticky and ugly mess- eek – we don’t want that.
Chocolate ganache is one of the easiest things to make as its literally just three ingredients : chocolate, cream and butter.
All you have to do is heat the cream in a small saucepan over a low heat until it’s gently simmering. Then pour the cream over your chocolate and butter in a separate bowl. Put a plate over the bowl and leave for a minute. The hot cream will gradually start the melting process for you. Then you can remove the plate and start stirring the cream, chocolate and butter until it is fully smooth and combined.
The addition of the buttter adds a richness to the ganache but also a beautiful shine to to your ganache.
Next you’ll need to set the bowl to one side to allow the ganache to fully cool. Remember at the start of this section … we really need the ganache to be room temp before filling our almond cupcakes with it.
This recipe makes more ganache than you need to fill your cupcake with, so you can store the extra in a sealed container in the fridge. Truth be told I deliberately made the quantity more than necessary. In my book there’s always a need and a use for extra ganache!
You can use the extra to drizzle on your ice-cream, serve with your breakfast pancakes, spoon onto your porridge oats. This list is endless of ways to use extra ganache!
How to make strawberry buttercream
When baking I am always looking to pair various flavours that work together in harmony.
Strawberry and almonds are one of those flavour pairings that work together beautifully.
I love using fresh fruit wherever I can and making strawberry buttercream is no exception. It’s packed full of flavour and you will seriously want to lick it off the cupcake first!
To add the strawberries into the buttercream you firstly need to make a strawberry puree.
You simply add a cup full of strawberries and blend it into a puree. If you aren’t a fan of the strawberry seeds then at this point run the puree through a sieve to remove them but I personally like them. It adds to the ‘real’ fruit factor in my eyes.
After this you we need to make the butter cream. In the large bowl of a stand mixer you need to add the butter and beat for at least two minutes until it’s soft and fluffy. Then add the icing sugar a half cup at a time on low speed.
Now it’s time to add three tablespoons of the strawberry puree and then beat on medium speed for ten minutes. You’ll be left with a light as air fluffy butter cream in the prettiest shade of pink and with the most divine fruity flavour.
For more strawberry goodness, checkout the Strawberry Chamomile Naked Cake by Half Baked Harvest. It’s divine to look at but I have no doubt would also taste delicious.
Or head to my Raspberry Chocolate Crumble Bars for your fix raspberry and chocolate deliciousness! Recipe found here.Print
Sweet nutty almond cupcakes filled with chocolate ganache and topped with fresh, strawberry buttercream.
For the almond cupcakes
115g (1/2 cup) butter, softened
120g (1/2 cup), caster sugar
1 tsp almond extract
2 eggs, beaten
35g (1/4 cup) flour, sifted
120g (1 cup) ground almonds
1½ tbsp, whole milk
For the ganache
150g (1 cup) dark chocolate, chopped
60ml (1/4 cup) whipping cream
3 tbsp, salted butter (or unsalted and a pinch of sea-salt)
For the frosting
115g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
320g (2 cups), icing sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp, vanilla extract
3 tbsp strawberry puree (In a blender, whizz up 1 cup of strawberries until smooth)
4 strawberries, sliced (or whole), optional
1 tbsp flaked almonds, chopped, optional
For the almond cupcake
1. Pre-heat your oven to 190C. Place 10 paper cupcake cases into your cupcake pan.
2. Beat the butter and sugar, in a large bowl, until combined.
3. Add the almond extract and half the eggs into the bowl and beat in. Then add the flour and beat, followed by the remaining egg and beat until combined. Now stir in the almond meal and milk and mix until fully combined.
6. Evenly divide the mixture between the cupcake cases and bake for 18 minutes until golden brown or when a toothpick comes out clean.
7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack
For the chocolate ganache
In a small saucepan, pour the cream and heat gently until simmering.
Add the chocolate and butter and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl and set aside to cool.
For the strawberry frosting
1. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter for two minutes. 1/2 a cup at a time, add the icing sugar and beat on low speed until all the sugar is combined.
2. Add the puree and beat on medium speed for ten minutes until light and fluffy. (Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl every so often to ensure that the frosting is beaten evenly).
1. Cut out a hole in the centre of the cooled cupcake (don’t cut right the way through though!) Bonus: you can munch on the cut out bit as you go along!) Spoon a dollop of chocolate ganache into the hole.
2. Using a piping bag, frost the cupcakes. Add a slice of strawberry and sprinkle the flaked almond, then serve and enjoy!
Ganache: This recipe makes double the amount needed but store the remainder in a jar in the fridge to pour on ice-cream, dessert or porridge at a later date. Bonus!
Keywords: Cupcakes, Almond Cupcakes, Strawberry Buttercream