Saturday, 31 March 2012

Almond and Chocolate Cupcakes

It was another friend's birthday last week. I kid you not.

That picture is really starting to get on my nerves.

But, true to my word I decided to bake her something, so I subtly researched her dessert tastes (by asking her what she wanted me to make for her), and settled on these almond and chocolate cupcakes.

They're just simple sponge cake (as per this explanation), made using an equal weight of ground almonds in the place of flour - just like for the sponge in a Bakewell tart. I added dark chocolate chips to the batter too.

And then I iced them! I was so pleased with myself. It may not be very complicated decorating, but it's definitely more than I've ever bothered with before, so I was pretty proud.

The chocolate icing is just icing sugar, cocoa and water (I believe they call that glace icing?), and then a blob of marzipan on top and some slices of almond. It took me a few tries to decide how exactly to do the topping, but luckily my batch made about twice as many as I needed to give her, so my friend got all of the successes and none of the deformed failures.

I was really pleasantly surprised by how good they were. The dark chocolate chips were quite bitter, but the super-sweet icing and marzipan made up for it - without the topping they probably wouldn't have been so nice. And the cake was deliciously almondy without being overpowering... all in all, a great venture.

I do apologise for my lack of original baking this week, but I hope these will at least inspire you to make something up for yourself instead!

Or even make these, if you must be so unoriginal! I used chocolate chips equivalent to half the weight of the other ingredients, and my batch with 200g of ground almond, butter, sugar and eggs made about twenty-four cupcakes.  I made the icing as I went along, topping up with random spoonfuls of cocoa, sugar and water when I needed more, and the marzipan was just a small chunk in total, nowhere near a whole block.

This almond cake batter would be nice with different toppings too, or in different forms. You could made it as a full-size round or loaf cake, or as a two-layered sandwich, maybe filling it with Nutella or whipped cream. Bakewell tarts are of course evidence that almond sponge is perfect with raspberry, so you could top it with whole raspberries, or fill it with jam. The possibilities are, of course, endless.

I hope to crack on with some serious cooking in the next couple of weeks because I'm on holiday from college, and so I have nothing better to do with my time. That is, apart from all the revision and exam preparation I should be doing, but I'm sure I don't need to spend long on that...


  1. Ground almonds? These must have been some expensive cupcakes to make!

    In any case, keep up the good work! This is easily one of my favorite food blogs. I'm a pretty decent cook but have always been a terrible baker. It's always been so frustrating (and perplexing) that any minor deviation from a recipe while baking would almost invariably result in an inedible catastrophe. I'm definitely going to purchase a scale soon and start trying out this whole weight ratio approach.

  2. I guess they're more expensive than if made with flour - but worth it as a birthday present!

    Glad to hear you like the blog - I'm the opposite. I can't cope with NOT having any rules and formulas to work from when cooking! But good luck with your baking escapades, I hope the ratio approach works well for you (and maybe one day I will pluck up the courage to venture into the savoury!).