You can rarely go wrong with cupcakes (and even if you do icing can cover a multitude of sins.) These autumnal, almond flavoured versions of plain vanilla cupcakes are a little bit more grown up, especially if you add a fair amount of amaretto to the icing…
For The Cupcakes
110g/4oz butter or margarine (softened at room temperature)
110g/4oz caster sugar
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp almond butter (optional)
110g/4oz self-raising flour
1-2 tbsp milk
White Chocolate Buttercream Icing
110g unsalted butter, room temperature
250g icing sugar
150g white chocolate
1 tbsp semi-skimmed milk (possibly)
Almond Buttercream icing
This icing is optional, I did a couple with white chocolate icing and a couple that were flavoured with almond butter and almond liquor. If you want to get really fancy you can do a two toned effect by filling a piping bag with half of each.
140g/5oz butter, softened
280g/10oz icing sugar
5 tsp almond butter
1-2 tbsp milk
Before you start, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale. Beat in the eggs a little at a time and stir in the almond extract. If you have the time, whisk the eggs whites until fluffy before adding to the butter sugar mix, this will just make the mixture extra light! Add in the almond butter now if you wish. Gradually fold in the flour and add a touch of milk if the mixture looks a bit sticky.
Using two spoons fill twelve cupcake cases, 3/4 full seems to rise to just over the brim of the case which is perfect. Bake for 10-15 minutes, but keep an eye on them as they may need a little longer.
Be patient when waiting to decorate these things if they are still even slightly warm the icing will melt. I won’t patronise by telling you how to make icing, mix it all together in a bowl and then get creative. I toasted some almonds to sprinkle on top, along with some white chocolate stars, then drizzled over some maple syrup and they were delicious even if I do say so myself…