Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Almond Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream and Lemon Glaze

Sweet Melissa Sundays is back! The group of online blogging bakers is almost done baking our way through the Sweet Melissa Baking Book...only 16 recipes left (15 after today). We've been on hiatus over the holidays. The new year is here and it's great to back baking with my SMS pals.

Even though I'm still winding down from the holiday sugar high...I was excited to make this recipe. Melissa Murphy's recipe is actually for Hazelnut Raspberry Layer cake. I changed things up a bit. I used almonds instead of hazelnuts....I burned my hazelnuts as I was trying to toast them. I halved the recipe and opted for cupcakes which are easy to take to the office and give away (the half recipe made 12 cupcakes).

The cake consists of nut flour (almond in my case), all purpose flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, browned butter and meringue. It is moist with a nice nutty flavor and comes together pretty easily with just a few steps.

The frosting on the other hand was not my friend today. The recipe calls for making a meringue and then streaming in hot sugar liquid (sugar and water that has reached 240 degrees on a candy thermometer). That step didn't happen for me. My sugar liquid did not stay in liquid form after 2 attempts. I couldn't bear the thought of dirtying yet another pan. I also didn't have raspberry liqueur on hand so I mixed (frozen) raspberries with a generous amount of sugar until they macerated and broke down into a liquidy state. Though I realized later that I should have cooked it down on the stove with the sugar to prevent the need for refrigerating the cupcakes. Melissa's original recipe calls for using raspberry preserves in between the layers of the cake. I thought about filling the cupcakes...but they were super tasty without it so I figured why not save a step. After my burned hazelnuts, and 2 pans of hardened sugar, I quite frankly didn't have the energy for another step.

Despite all my alterations, the frosting turned out pretty tasty. It had just the right amount of raspberry...which is a perfect compliment to the almond cake.

You know what else goes nicely with almond? Lemon. Mmmmm. I went a little more simple here and made a glaze to put on half the cupcakes.

It's just powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Simple. Easy. And most importantly, delicious!

Thanks to Candy Girl for choosing such a delicious recipe! You can find the recipe on her site. To see how other SMS bakers cakes turned out click here.


  1. I'm sorry you had trouble with this one! But, the end result is beautiful and looks delicious! I think I would prefer the ones with the lemon glaze - it looks fantastic.

  2. These look beautiful and the lemon glaze is a stroke of genius. Gorgeous photos too...these look food magazine worthy.

  3. Wow it sure looks great..I would have never guessed that you had any issues!!

  4. Talk about preseverance, Wow! Your cupcakes turned out adorable and I love how you used almonds, lemon, and changed the raspberry frosting up. All you variations sound amazing. Hope your holidays were fun; I have missed talking to you immensely!

  5. I so know where you're coming from - my kitchen looked like a tornado had passed through after I finished this cake :) The frosting was finicky, and while I didn't love it, I did think the raspberry flavor was nice. Your cupcakes look terrific - love the lemon variation!

  6. Both versions look great, Gloria! Sad about your hazelnuts, but almonds and raspberries are wonderful together. I'm totally with you on just calling it a day and moving on after a couple misteps in the kitchen.

  7. Beautiful cupcakes. They look almost too good to eat!