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Using The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook by Jennifer Graham again (Buy it here/official website), we decided to do a variation of their Sweetheart cakes minus the icing and shape…. and probably the whole intention of making it actually!

Without any of the decorations and grandeur, these cupcakes are basically Vanilla/Almond flavoured cupcakes.  Don’t they look all rustic and homely?! Check out the recipe below with how to make the decorations/icing as well for those that want to try it.

Almond and Vanilla Cakes

Makes 18 min-heart cakes/24 cupcakes

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 cups almond meal
250g softened unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups castor sugar (Used 3/4 cups)
6 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup natural yoghurt

Method
1. Preheat oven to 160C. Lightly grease three six-hole mini heart cake trays (Or just use cupcake pans with paper cups)

2. Sift together flour and baking powder. Add almond meal and combine

3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter for 1-2minutes. Add half the sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the sugar and beat for a further 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs two at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition or until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.

4. Add a third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add half of the yoghurt and beat until combined. Repeat this process. Add the remaining third of the flour and beat until thoroughly combined; do not over-beat as this will toughen the mixture.

5. Spoon mixture into the cake trays, filling each heart just over half full. Bake for 15 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool for about 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool for a further 30 minutes before icing.

To make regular cupcakes
5. If using regular cupcake papers instead of mini-heart trays, this recipe makes 24 cupcakes. Bake at 160 C for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Decoration
2 quantities Quick Royal Icing
Rose Essence
Food Colouring: Rose Pink
1 quantity Sugared Rose Petals

1. Prepare the icing to pouring consistency. Add 2-3 drops rose essence and 3-4 drops pink food colouring during preparation.

2. Place the sweetheart cakes onto a fine wire rack with feet. Pour over most of the icing, so that each cake is completely covered. Add a few more drops of the pink food colouring to the remaining icing to create a mid-pink colour.

3. Using a teaspoon, drizzle the icing over so that it runs down the sides a little. Use an offset palette knife to life the cakes onto a serving plate, then sprinkle with the sugared rose petals.

Variation
If you’re making these cakes for a man, ice the cakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache  and top with chocolate truffles.

Quick Royal Icing
Ingredients
Water
500 g bag premix royal icing

Makes 3/4 cup icing – enough for 12 cupcakes

1. Simply add a little water at a time to the sifted icing sugar, until you have the required consistency. If you want to use a flavouring essence, add a couple drops to the icing sugar before you add the water. If you want to use colouring, add it before you reach the desired consistency (if you add it at the end it will thin the icing). Use fruit juice or coconut milk instead of water for a flavoured icing.

Sugared Rose Petals
2 Fresh Pink Rose Heads (Not chemically sprayed)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Castor Sugar

1. Rinse rose heads under cold water. Gently pat dry. Dip each rose petal into the egg white until just covered. Dip the wet petals into a bowl of fine castor sugar and shake off any excess. Place them on a wire rack to dry for about 1 hour.

Dark Chocolate Ganache
1 1/2 cups cream
400 g dark cooking chocolate (chopped)

Makes: 3 cups frosting
1. In a heavy based saucepan, bring the cream to the boil. Place the chocolate into a bowl and pour the boiling cream over. Leave for 1 minute to soften. Use a small spatula to carefully stir the ganache, being careful not to incorporate any air, until you achieve a silky frosting.

2. To use: If you want to achieve a smooth surface, dip cupcakes into the frosting immediately. If you want to achieve a fluffy frosting, let the ganache cool to room temperature and then apply to the cupcake with a small spatula. Do not stir the set ganache too much as it will become dull.

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Impressions

We didn’t go through all that shebang as I’m not a big fan of icing as I find it usually sickly sweet. Crazy I know. So what you get here is cupcakes dressed down to look like muffins. They have this rough texture mostly because of the almond meal that isn’t a fine powder. The process of making this is quite simple, it’s like baking any other cupcake.

As the cupcake itself it’s quite pleasant, it’s light and has a predominant almond flavour. Which isn’t a bad thing by all means. The texture of the cupcake is more grainy because of the almond meal, the yoghurt helps to make it lighter against the richness of the butter so it doesn’t feel like you’re just having a vanilla butter cake. Overall, I think it makes a nice treat that jumps between muffin and cupcake.

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