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« Summer Berry Pavlova | Main | Thoughts on Going Vegan: Meal Ideas & Afterthoughts »
Tuesday
Jul172012

Almond Butter Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream

Almond Butter Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream

Growing up, I was a picky eater, especially when it came to tree nuts. I avoided them during my childhood and teenage years simply because they looked "gross" to me. Each Christmas, my father would get a jar of mixed nuts wrapped up in a bow. He'd offer them to me to give a try and I'd turn him down. Though nuts were frequently found in the cupboards and in desserts at family get-togethers, I was so frustratingly picky I wouldn't give them a chance.

Not a single one.

Almond Butter Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream Almond Butter Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream

I visited an allergist for the first time after my tongue swelled up like a balloon after eating fresh kiwi in a middle school Beginning Foods course. As long as we were there, my mother and I decided to test for a slew of random foods, animals, and plants. Most notable was my allergy for cats (already known) and, surprisingly, tree nuts. In fact, my arm grew so angry red and swollen, the allergist immediately wrote me out a prescription for adrenaline. I was severely allergic to most tree nuts and never knew it.

Since that day, I've landed myself in the emergency room ICU from a single, accidental bite of an "oatmeal raisin" (macadamia nut) cookie. I've developed the early symptoms of an allergic reaction when I'm in a room where other people are eating pecans just from breathing in the microscopic pieces hovering in the air. I've interrogated many bakers and cooks what exactly is in the food they make hoping that, unlike a particular lady and a "chocolate cake" incident (Oh, hazelnuts are a nut? Whoops.), they'll let me know what to avoid.

In a twisted piece of fate, the fact that I was such a frustratingly picky eater growing up may have saved my life.

Almond Butter Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream

Even so, I've always been inexplicably drawn to almonds. I remember moments of guilty pleasures when I'd sneak a few chocolate covered almonds from the cupboard before my parents came home from work. Though I am supposed to avoid all tree nuts as a precaution towards cross contamination, I am technically (and oddly) not allergic to almonds. If you pay attention to the sheer number of almond recipes on this website, you may think of me as either rebellious or an unnecessary risk taker.

However, if I wasn't a bit of a rebel, these cupcakes wouldn't exist and oh boy am I glad they exist.

Almond Butter Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream

Almond Butter Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream are dark, gorgeous, and unexpected. The cupcakes are made with almond butter, which lends a texture to the cupcake that is both light and dense, while just barely sticking to the roof of your mouth. Frosted with a rich mocha buttercream, the flavors compliment one another immensely, making it impossible to eat just one. The almond flavor in these cupcakes is very real (no almond extract involved), which sets them apart from other almond cupcake recipes.

One Year Ago: Cauldron Cakes
Two Years Ago: Blueberry Lime Panna Cotta

Almond Butter Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream

Yields 1 dozen cupcakes

Almond Butter Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white vinegar (or lemon juice)
1/2 cup smooth almond butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a cupcake tin with baking cups.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the milk, oil, vanilla extract, vinegar, and almond butter until smooth.

Divide batter evenly between baking cups, filling about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool to room temperature before frosting.

Mocha Buttercream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk

In a bowl, beat together the butter, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and salt until smooth and uniform. Beat in the powdered sugar and milk. If buttercream is too soft, add more powdered sugar until it reaches the spreadable consistency. Likewise, if the buttercream is too stiff, add more milk until it reaches the spreadable consistency.

Spread buttercream on top of cooled cupcakes and serve.

Reader Comments (25)

These look fantastic. Nice to see you back to baking with butter and dairy :)
07.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessica L.
ohhh man, I am SO glad these exist too!! They look GREAT!! I love the thick, rich Mocha Buttercream ... mmmm - - pure bliss.
Almond butter is so good. Wish it weren't well over double the price of peanut butter; I'd eat it every day. These look fantastic.
07.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterEvan Thomas
those look gorgeous! i could go for one right now! :)
I recently just had a little taste of real almond butter, and I sort of liked it. Yeah, it's no peanut butter (my favorite!) but it was still good. And then nature valley makes these sweet & salty granola bars. My favorite is the almond kind as opposed to the peanut butter, which is weird. So anyways, I'll stop rambling and say that I can't wait to try these cupcakes :)
They look so GOOD ! I' d like to try one !!! :) yummm
07.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChacha
Beautiful pictures!

I was the same way with nuts. And still am. The only nuts I like are peanuts and apparently they don't even count. I really dislike raw almonds, but I'll eat flavored almond butter and love baking with almond flour. It's weird. And the other day I made cookies with walnut butter instead of butter and walnuts are the nastiest of all nuts. To me. I'm happy that your pickiness was for a reason. :)

These cupcakes sound delicious. And I love that they use oil!
Absolutely lovely. I'm luckily not allergic to anything!...and I'm SO making these.
How strange! My MIL is allergic to all nuts except almonds as well. I wonder why that is... But anyways... Delicious cupcakes! I can just imagine that mocha and almond butter go amazing together :D
Wow. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to be allergic to nuts - I'm completely addicted to them. But awesome that you can eat almonds because they are insanely delicious, and one of the best nuts around :-)
07.18.2012 | Unregistered Commenterthelittleloaf
These cupcakes look delicious. I'm so luck I'm not allergic to anything!
07.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSheila
They look so tasty!

- Annika
07.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnnika
Almonds look like nuts, but they aren't (just like strawberries don't really count into the category "berries", biologically), they belong to the category "stone fruit".
07.19.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdorothee
Perfect! I love it so much! :)
07.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLucy Hill
I can say that I messed up on half this recipe! But in the end it still came out AMAZING. I can honestly say this is the best thing I've ever made! Genius!

1. Couldn't find cupcake pan, sub'd it with plain cake pan. Found cupcake pan half an hour later..
2. Misread sauce ingredients so the sauce came out gritty with hundreds of small chunks of butter. Microwaved to melt, added twice the amount of cocoa and espresso to bring it back to consistency.
3. Had to put led sugar for Moms diabetes.

Still came out DE-LISSSSHHH!
07.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
Kristin, this recipe is sheer genius. I tried it out and blogged about it here: http://hungryandexcited.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/almond-butter-cupcakes/
It was my first time EVER making cupcakes, and when I saw this recipe, I just knew it had to be the one I was going to use to inaugurate my muffin trays! The good thing is that Indian muffin trays seem to be smaller than most sizes Ive seen on foreign blogs, so I got 24 cupcakes, instead of 12 :D which is always a good thing! I couldnt believe how amazingly simple the recipe was, and particularly loved that it didnt need eggs. In my utter excitement of frosting these gorgeous plump fluffy smooth cupcakes,I messed up the frosting a bit, throwing in granulated sugar, instead of powdered sugar. So my frosting was crunchy and unspreadable, even though it tasted fantastic! Next time I'll remember to slow down :)
07.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRevati
Do you know if almond butter can be made the same way that homemade peanut butter is made?
I mean, if i process the almonds, will i get almond butter?

PS: I think i don't have almond butter in my country :S

Lovely recipe! :)
08.1.2012 | Unregistered CommenterValentina
Valentina-- Almond butter can be made the same way as peanut butter. You can use a food processor and process the almonds for upwards of ten minutes to get the right texture.
08.1.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I made these with Nuttella instead of almond butter and they are amazing.
10.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaiserin
Hello! Thank you for this recipe! I had lots of almond butter on hand and I really wanted to use some of it up! I also needed to bake something to take to a party and didn't want to go grocery shopping! This recipe was perfect! I had all the ingredients on hand and it came out delicious!
I did make some changes though. I did not have any kind of coffee on hand, so I decided to go the almond, chocolate, amaretto route....When the cupcakes came out the oven I let them cool a little then brushed the tops with a bit of slightly watered down amaretto to impart more moisture and flavour to them. I also did add almond extract to the batter just to heighten that flavour. Then, to the frosting instead of adding coffee, I added amaretto and almond extract. I sort of winged the frosting adding more cocoa, amaretto, sugar and milk until I got the flavour and consistency I wanted. So once the amaretto had sunk into the cupcakes and they had cooled I frosted them with the amaretto chocolate frosting...They were DELISH!!!!
I am sure the original version is just as delish but wanted to share my variation in case there are other Amaretto fans out there! :)
03.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnna
I'm allergic tree nuts too and the only one I know I can safely eat is also an almond! I use it in everything! I thought I was the only weirdo!
They looked yummy so decided to make them for my sister's birthday party. They were a hit. Thanks fof the recipe. Quick question, could this batter be used was a cake? If so, how long to bake it for?
07.27.2013 | Unregistered Commenteranns l
anns l-- Yes, it can! It should make one 9-inch cake. It'll bake for approximately 30-40 minutes.
07.27.2013 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Thanks so much for the great recipe! I made these for a birthday and they were delicious!
01.21.2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnna
Great recipe with great taste thanks for sharing..
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhilippines Food

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