Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cherry Marzipan Cupcakes

One flavor I am crazy about is almond. It's a perfect blend of sweet and savory nutty goodness without being over powerful. When I first discovered marzipan (which is almond paste) it was in one of my favorite bakeries in St. Augustine, FL (DeNoel, check it out under the life category). When you hear the name almond paste it sounds pretty freaky. Is it almond butter? Tooth Paste? NO! It is a wonderful and VERY underestimated ingredient that can transform any dessert. It pairs very well with chocolate and fresh fruit. I've seen it baked into cookies and cakes, piped on top of tarts and wrapped around chocolate desserts. I would recommend buying baking marzipan, you can usually pick this up at Publix or World Market.

These cupcakes are moist, refreshing and not too sweet. I really love the unity of the cherry, almond and orange flavors. If you are an almond fanatic, such as myself, you could add a little almond extract in the whipped topping for an extra almond kick! hope you enjoy!

Makes 24 cupcakes

1 cup (two sticks)butter , softened, plus
extra for greasing
3/4 cups sugar
5 eggs , beaten
1 cup self-raising flour , plus an
extra 2 tbsp
1 tsp baking powder
zest 1 orange , plus 2 tbsp of the
1 cup natural marzipan , coarsely
grated (easiest if chilled
½ tsp almond extract, optional
3/4 cup maraschino cherries , halved

Whipped Topping:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
confectioners sugar to taste
1/8 tsp almond extract (optional)


1.Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and place 24 cupcake cases into cupcake tins.

2.Beat the butter and sugar together with electric beaters or a tabletop mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 250g flour, baking powder, orange zest and juice and beat well till thick, creamy and evenly mixed.

3.Toss cherries in the extra 2 tbsp flour and fold into the batter along with grated marzipan and almond essence (if using).

4.Spoon into the cupcake cases and bake for 20-25 mins, or until well risen and golden. Leave to cool in tin for 10 mins, then place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

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