It used to be that when anyone asked me what I would like for dessert, the response almost always included something containing chocolate – not milk chocolate – and certainly not that wimpy white chocolate stuff that, in my opinion, is simply a waste of good calories – but deep, dark, decadent chocolate that pummels the taste buds. A cup of strong black coffee on the side and I was in heaven.
Over the last few years, though, I’ve learned to appreciate the flavors of sweets that don’t leave me feeling like I’ve been run over by a dessert steam roller. The delicate nuances of good vanilla, caramel and almond have become my go-to flavors for most sweet treats.
These cupcakes are a perfect match for my new preferences. As your teeth sink into the moist, delicate cake, the hint of natural almond flavor that wafts over the palate is soon followed by the essence of sweet orange. Light, airy, delicately sweet and beautifully flavored, these little gems are the perfect sweet end to any meal. Pair these with a floral or citrus tea and even the most dedicated chocolate lover may just learn to appreciate something new.
Warning! The original recipe was for an almond cake. Maybe it’s just me and my irresponsible sweet tooth; but I find that it’s far too easy to cut a piece of cake that isn’t exactly a responsible portion size. SO – cupcakes for me. However, remember…the mellow flavor and light texture belies the fact that the recipe still contains six eggs, almond paste, butter and sour cream, so enjoy with discretion :)
Ingredients – Cupcakes
- 1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup almond paste, cut into half-inch pieces
- 1 1/4 cups confectioner’s
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 2 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sour cream
Ingredients – Glaze
- 1 tablespoon Cara Cara orange zest
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 2 – 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed Cara Cara orange juice
Instructions – Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, cake flour and baking powder and set aside.
- Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and almond paste on high speed until smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce speed to low and slowly add confectioners’ sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined and light and fluffy.
- Raise speed to high and add the vanilla extract, whole eggs and egg yolks, 1 at a time. Mix until well combined.
- Reduce speed to medium and add the sour cream and dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins.
- Bake in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes cake are golden and spring back to the touch.
- Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool.
Instructions – Glaze
- Stir together zest and confectioner’s sugar.
- Add two tablespoons orange juice and stir well.
- Thin to glaze consistency with additional juice as needed.
- Be sure to add juice slowly and in small increments to avoid over-thinning.
- Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon over each cupcake.
- Allow glaze to set before storing cupcakes in an air-tight container.