I love a good cupcake, and these strawberry almond ones are beauties. The idea for these came from my wanting to create a cupcake that tastes like summer but that you can easily make during a Michigan winter. And with the help of strawberry preserves, I think I did it! The cakes here are light and airy, with nutty almond flavor thanks to homemade almond flour and a sweet surprise of strawberry preserves in the center. And the frosting! I added more strawberry preserves to one of my very favorite whipped cream frostings, and it ended up tasting like strawberry shortcake. Of all the frostings I unapologetically eat with a spoon, this might be my new favorite. Put together, these cupcakes are one sweet and faux-summery package.
Has everyone been watching the Olympics? I’ve rediscovered my love of watching figure skating, thanks to my two kids who will ask me to put it on and then twirl and leap their way to imaginary gold medals. We have plans to bedazzle our headphones, thanks to Johnny and Tara. During a week that felt really dark, being able to watch this athletic pageant (and in particular see Adam Rippon be so joyful in being himself) was a real balm for the soul. And since baking often has that same soothing effect for me, let’s get back to these cupcakes.
To get a nutty almond flavor into the cupcakes, I ground up some whole almonds in my blender until they reached the texture of cornmeal, then added a half cup of this homemade almond flour to the cupcake batter. I also added a little almond extract, and used milk rather than sour cream or yogurt to make sure that the batter was light and the almond flavor really stood out.
Once the cupcakes baked up and then cooled, I used a toothpick to poke a hole into each cupcake. I wiggled the toothpick around to create some space, then I used a pastry bag like this one and the medium circle tip from this set to squeeze strawberry preserves into the center, gently moving the pastry bag out of the cupcake as I squeezed until I reached the edge. I ended up with a little bit of preserves spilling out the side, which I happen to like, but you could stop squeezing the pastry bag earlier and avoid that.
To frost the cupcakes, I used a new pastry bag fitted with a star tip and piped a big swirl onto each one, starting at the outside of the cupcake and working my way in. I love how the strawberry preserves give the frosting a beautiful pink color and little ribbons of red. If the preserves you use are quite thick, you may want to use a pastry tip with a larger opening (or put the frosting on with a spatula or the back of a spoon) to avoid getting the preserves stuck. These cupcakes are so light and refreshing, they are the perfect way to bring a little summer into your life, no matter the time of year.
- 1 ½ sticks butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup almonds
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk
- ⅓ cup strawberry preserves (or jam)
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 8 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 6-8 tablespoons strawberry preserves (or jam)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously butter a muffin tin.
- Place the almonds in a blender or food processor and blend for 5-10 seconds, until the almonds are the texture of cornmeal. In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour with the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
- In a large bowl and using a hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the sugar and beat until combined and light, another minute or two.
- Add in the vanilla and almond extracts, followed by the eggs one at a time, beating well to combine the ingredients before adding the next one.
- Add half of the flour mixer and mix on low speed until combined, followed by the milk and then the rest of the flour. Mix only until all of the ingredients are combined.
- Use a spoon to place the batter in the prepared muffin tin, filling each about ¾ of the way full. You will likely have enough batter to make 15 or 16 cupcakes, so you can use a second muffin tin if you have it, or make a second small batch. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then move the cupcakes onto a cooling rack and let them cool completely.
- To fill the cupcakes, add the strawberry preserves to a pastry bag fitted with a medium plain tip. Use a toothpick to poke a hole into the center of each cupcake from the side, wiggling the toothpick around to make a space in the middle of the cupcake. Insert the pastry tip and squeeze preserves into the cupcake, pulling it gently out as you squeeze.
- Add the heavy cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or to a large bowl and using a handheld mixer. Beat the cream on medium low speed until it becomes frothy, then increase the speed to high and whip it until it forms medium stiff peaks.
- Add the powdered sugar and strawberry preserves and whip until the frosting is light and holds stiff peaks.
- To mimic the recipe photo, put the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe swirls onto each cupcake, starting at the outside and working your way in.