05 March 2009

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

Do you remember this jingle from the 1970's for Almond Joy candy bars and its sister product Mounds (sometimes you don't)? Mars makes a candy bar here in France called Bounty (pronounced "boon-tee") which is its non-US version of Mounds and I find myself singing this little ditty any time I consume one. Of course, everyone thinks I am a nut when I do this as they never ran this particular ad campaign here.

Which also make me think of the "I'm a Pepper, he's a Pepper, she's a Pepper.....wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?" song for Dr. Pepper that dates back to the same era. My mom tells a story about how she was once offered a Dr. Pepper at a party and broke into song and everyone looked at her like, you guessed it, a nut! Guess it's a genetic thing.

Well, the challenge this month for Iron Cupcake: Earth is Nuts & Seeds. As soon as it was announced, I knew immediately what I wanted to make as an entry. But it's going to take some preparation work I still haven't had time to do yet. So here for your approval is an interim candidate, the Almond Joy cupcake. I made this as part of an order for a meeting I am going to this evening. The order was for 2 dozen cupcakes, the only stipulation being that some of them be Caramel Dolce. As for the others, it was up to me. Which is kind of a curse in disguise. You see the problem is when I am told "blue sky," I really do think blue sky in that there are SOOOOOOO many delicious cupcake flavors I could make and I spend hours debating the pluses and minuses of each. This is the one area of my life where I really do crave structure. It's shocking, I know.

So, what did I come up with? Six of each of the following flavors:
- After Eight : a mint chocolate cupcake with a mint chocolate buttercream topped with a slice of its namesake, an After Eight candy.

- A cupcake similar to one I made earlier this week for my friend whose son is sick so it probably looks familiar to those of you who follow my blog : a mixture of vanilla and chocolate cupcakes topped with a light strawberry buttercream, a slice of fresh strawberry and drizzled in milk chocolate.

- The requested Caramel Dolce : a mixture of vanilla and chocolate cupcakes topped with a caramel buttercream and gummy creme caramel candies.

- And last but not least, the Almond Joy, my second entry for this month's IC:E challenge : a coconut and almond cupcake topped with a rich milk chocolate buttercream, sprinkled with shredded coconut and a grilled almond.

You can see what's up for grabs in this month's ETSY prize pack here. Voting will begin no later than Sunday, March 29 at 8 p.m. at NO ONE PUTS CUPCAKE IN A CORNER, and will be open through Friday, April 3 at 12 noon.

Here is the recipe for those of you who may want to try this at home:

Almond Joy Cupcakes

For 16 cupcakes:
4 ozs. unsalted butter/beurre doux, softened
1 cup sugar/sucre en poudre
1 large egg
1 tsp. baking soda/bicarbonate alimentaire
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup buttermilk /lait fermente
¼ cup hot water

1) Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C. Grease or place cupcake liners into cupcake tins.
2) To make cupcakes, cream together sugar and butter until smooth. Add egg, vanilla, baking soda, salt and mix until well-combined. Add in coconut and almonds and mix again.
3) Alternate adding flour and buttermilk in 3 batches, mix well until smooth. Add hot water last and mix to combine.
4) Fill cupcake liners 2/3rds full.
5) Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from tin and let cool on wire rack.

Chocolate Buttercream:
1/4 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. cocoa/chocolat en poudre
1/4 c. plus 3 tbsp. warm milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (16 oz.) pkg. powdered sugar, sifted

Mash together softened butter and cocoa until well-combined. Add in vanilla and mix. Add the sugar and milk in batches until the consistency is not too liquidy but just thick enough to hold its shape or make peaks.

Garnish cupcakes with shredded coconut, toasted almonds, whole almonds, chocolate covered almonds, etc. Whatever tickles your fancy and enjoy!


  1. You had me at that first cupcake. Gosh those look good. Good luck, Little Miss Cupcake!

  2. Wow your cupcakes look way too elegant just to be a cupcake I love the drizzle you put on top of one-it's beautiful.

  3. Hi there! That strawberry cupcake looks so yummy and I know how good that frosting tastes ;). I was wondering if you'd divulge your secret for strawberry icing sometime as the season is approaching...I tried to make some myself recently but it came out runny (i guess due to the water content of strawberries) and lumpy. Thanks, Lauren

  4. Thanks all for your kind words!

    Lauren, I usually start with a simple buttercream recipe and add to this a home-made strawberry coulis (mix hulled, picked over strawberries with a little bit of lemon juice and sugar in a blender/processor for a few minutes - make sure there are no big chunks left) and then I mix into buttercream. You'll have to add extra icing sugar afterwards to combat the runniness you mention. I usually use just a little coulis as it goes a long way. You can do this for any berry. Let me know how it turns out if you make it!