CHOCOLATE + SUGARED ALMOND CUPCAKES

MAKES 12 cupcakes
PREPARATION 10mins
COOKS 30mins

INGREDIENTS

For the sponge

  • 110g soft butter
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 110g self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 1-2tbsp milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1tsp almond extract

 For the icing

  • 170g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 220g icing sugar
  • 45g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk, if needed

For the sugared toasted almonds

  • 40g sliced almonds
  • 2 tbsps brown sugar

PREPARATION METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases (use cupcake cases not muffin cases).
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until well combined, fluffy and pale (for about 5 minutes). You can either use a whisk, hand mixer or kitchen machine for this. 
  3. Add the eggs a little at a time and mix until you have a smooth batter. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts.
  4. Fold in the flour. Once combined add the milk a little at a time until your batter is of a thick, dripping consistency.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, making sure it is distributed equally.
  6. Place into the pre-heated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Once done check whether your cakes are cooked by piercing with a cocktail stick. If it comes out clean the cakes are done. If the batter sticks to it, bake for a couple more minutes. Leave to cool completely.
  7. Heat a small pan over a medium heat and add almonds. Toss and stir constantly and toast for 1-2 minutes, just until almonds start to brown. 
  8. Reduce the heat to low and toss in sugar, stirring to coat. Stir constantly and cook for another minute, then remove and place almonds in a bowl. After a few minutes of cooling they will harden and you can break them apart.
  9. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add in sugar and cocoa powder with the mixer on low, speeding up once combined. Add the vanilla extract and beat on medium, scraping down the sides if necessary, for 2-3 minutes. If your frosting is too thick, add one tablespoon of milk at a time, beating for another minute or two to smooth it out. Repeat if necessary. If frosting isn't thick enough to be spreadable, add a few spoonfuls of powdered sugar while beating until it thickens. Frost and top with sugared almonds below.