Almond Cupcakes with Matcha Green Tea Frosting

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“Good friends make good food even better.”
– fortune cookie

I recently got a request from a friend for an afternoon of baking. Her younger sister was participating in her first triathlon and my friend wanted to greet her at the finish line with some congratulatory cupcakes. We decided on these delicate almond cupcakes with a buttery green tea frosting. These chic desserts taste just like the almond cookies you get from Chinese restaurants, without the dry and chalky texture you sometimes get from almond treats. No need for food colouring to achieve the serene shade of the frosting. The matcha powder does the trick naturally. The flavour combination is delicious, it’s such a nice pairing. Neither flavour overpowers the other, and there is subtlety to their boldness. To add some sophistication, top these cupcakes with a fortune cookie dipped in white chocolate.

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Bon appétit!

Recipe adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

Yields 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
•cupcakes
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 large egg
1 cup ice cold water
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
•frosting
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon unsweetened matcha powder
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
•decoration
4 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
24 fortune cookies

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Instructions:
•cupcakes
1) Preheat the oven to 325F and line cupcake pans with 24 wrappers.
2) Sift both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
3) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until creamy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
4) Add the sugar, vanilla, and almond extract to the bowl and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
5) Add the egg and beat until just incorporated.
6) Lower the speed and add the flour mixture, alternating with the ice cold water. Add it in 3 additions, begin and end with flour mixture. Make sure to scrape down the bowl.
7) Use a clean bowl to whip up the egg whites with the cream of tartar, until soft peaks form.
8) Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
9) Gently fold the almond powder into the batter.
10) Pour the batter into the cupcake pan, about three-quarters full.
11) Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
12) Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes.
13) Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let cool completely.
•frosting
1) Pour the sugar, flour, and matcha powder into a medium saucepan and whisk.
2) Pour the milk and heavy cream into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisk until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 20 minutes. The mixture will have an unappetising shade and look like a witch’s brew, but don’t worry! It will all come together in the following steps.
3) Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cooled.
4) Lower the speed and incorporate the butter.
5) Increase the speed and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
6) Add the vanilla.
7) My frosting wasn’t firm enough so I let it chill in the fridge before piping it onto the cupcakes.
•decoration
1) Melt the white chocolate.
2) Dip half of a fortune cookie into the white chocolate. Set on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
3) Place baking tray in the fridge for 10 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.
4) Top the frosted cupcakes with the fortune cookies.

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