nothisdate

8

Marzipan-Filled Chocolate Almond Cupcakes with Marzipan Frosting

A few weeks ago, my friend Joyce bought me a cupcake pan specially for baking filled cupcakes! It has spines in the center of each cup to impale something that will then be secured in the middle of the cupcake (rather than sinking to the bottom during baking)! I’ve been dying to try it out, so this week I decided to do something filled.

Cupcakes:

1 cup blanched almonds (blanching removes the skin; you can blanch regular almonds yourself by pouring boiling water over them and letting them sit for a minute, then slipping off the skins)

1 ½ cups sugar

2 ¼ cups flour

½ cup cocoa powder

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

4 eggs

1 ½ cup buttermilk

2 tsp vanilla

4 oz marzipan (about 2/3 of a 7 oz stick)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

There are two methods you can use to prepare tins with spikes. The first dozen I did butter and flour, which is the best and most reliable method of getting cake to come out of the pan in one nice piece. Cooking sprays are never as good. The second dozen I didn’t have the patience to do this way, so I just poked holes in the bottom of cupcake liners and used those.

In a food processor, process the almonds and ½ cup of sugar until fine ground. Transfer to bowl and sift in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time. Add in chocolate. Alternate in milk and flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add vanilla and mix briefly.

Roll the marzipan into small, marble-sized balls.

I tried adding the batter to the cups in two different ways. The first time I made the marzipan balls first and poured the batter around them. The second time I poured the batter in first and poked the marzipan balls on top. I think the second method worked best; the first way caused the batter to weight to marzipan down to the bottom of the cupcake, even with the spike to sit on.

Bake for 12 minutes, turn tins, bake for 13 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Makes 24.

One more note: the original recipe I used called for coconut milk instead of buttermilk, but I didn’t want that extra flavor competing with the marzipan. However, coconut milk is more oily that buttermilk and I think the cupcakes came out a bit dry as a result. I would recommend substituting ½ cup of buttermilk with ½ cup oil, or using the original measure of coconut milk to get a more moist texture.

Frosting:

½ cup (1 stick) butter

4 oz. marzipan

2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

3-4 cups xxx sugar

2-3 tbsp cream

1 tsp almond extract

Beat butter until fluffy; add marzipan and xxx sugar. The result will resemble a thick, white paste. Add chocolate and cream and beat until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. Add the almond extract and beat until mixed.

I more or less invented this frosting for the recipe; I included the 2 oz of chocolate because nice chocolate like Ghirardelli typically comes in 4 oz bars, so this will use up the extra chocolate left over from making the cupcakes. However, if that’s a bit too much chocolate for you, you can definitely leave it out. The marzipan adds more texture and body to the icing, but the almond extract is where the flavor really comes from.

Frost your cupcakes generously.

Use any leftover marzipan to make decorations. Marzipan is easy to dye using regular food dyes, and you can roll and shape it like modeling clay. I used pie crust cutters to make colored leaves for decorations.

Cupcake recipe (considerably modified) from Epicurious.com

Frosting recipe by me.

6

Liz and Joyce and I got chicks over Easter break! 3 Blue Andalusians, and 2 Americaunas.

[First two are Gilgamesh, an Americauna, who is incredibly fabulous and feels we are all mongrels. She is brown and fluffy with dark brown marking on her head and around her eyes. In both pictures she is posing for the camera. Third and sixth are Kariya, a Blue Andalusians, mostly grey on the back and head with white tummy and face and wingtips; orange feet and beak. In the first picture she is falling over, and in the second she looks a little more composed. Fourth and fifth are pictures of all the chicks in their box, illuminated by a heat lamp, with a chick waterer and feeder. They are very fluffy.]

7

For Joyce! More progress on the chicks.

From top to bottom, going L-R: a Matou, photographed to display her piddling little tail. So embarrassing. Enkidu, from and back, to show off her much less pitiful tail and her gorgeous wingspan. Gilgamesh, flank and head-on, to show her extremely grumpy “goddamn paparazzi” face, and also her cheek puffs, which are starting to grow in. And finally Kariya, whose tail is also pathetic and who is definitely turning out to be a white morph of a Blue Andalusian, which is pretty cool! She’s also still the runt.