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+ servings
Almond cupcake with the wrapper removed.

High Altitude Almond Cupcakes

Heather Smoke
An easy, high altitude recipe for soft almond cupcakes, frosted with fluffy, brown butter almond buttercream and sprinkled with chopped almonds.

All recipes on Curly Girl Kitchen are developed for high altitude at 5,280 feet.

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings15 cupcakes

Equipment

  • Standard-Sized Muffin Pan
  • Stand Mixer with Paddle Attachment

Ingredients
 

Cupcakes

  • 1 ½ cups + 2 tbsp cake flour, fluffed, spooned and leveled
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup melted butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tsp almond extract

Buttercream

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, browned and cooled to a room temperature solid
  • ½ cup almonds, lightly toasted and very finely chopped
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp meringue powder (optional)
  • ¼ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tsp almond extract
  • 2-3 tbsp milk or cream, only if needed

Instructions
 

Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F, and position a rack in the center of the oven. Line your muffin pan/s with 15 paper liners.
  • In a bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder, then whisk until everything is well distributed.
  • Separately, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter, vanilla and almond extracts. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and whisk just until combined.
  • Divide the batter between the paper liners, filling them no more than 2/3 - 3/4 full.
  • Bake the cupcakes on the center oven rack for about 18 minutes, until the centers of the cupcakes spring back when gently touched, or a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool the cupcakes in the pans for several minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Buttercream

  • In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter, swirling the pan occasionally. It will hiss and spatter a bit, as the water evaporates, and the milk solids settle onto the bottom of the pan. When it's nearly ready, a layer of foam will form on top of the butter, and if you nudge the foam aside, you'll see nutty, golden brown milk solids on the bottom of the pan (if they turn dark brown or black, you've gone too far and burned the butter). The browning process might take about 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and use a spatula to scrape all the browned milk solids off the bottom of the pan. Pour the browned butter and all the browned bits into a bowl.
  • Let cool until the butter returns to a spreadable solid consistency. To speed this up, put the bowl in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours and stir the butter every 20 minutes or so until it's firmed up but still spreadable. You can also make the browned butter the night before, and let it sit at room temperature overnight to firm back up.
  • Meanwhile, toast the almonds. Preheat the oven to 300 F, and spread the almonds into a baking pan or baking sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until hot and fragrant. Cool completely, then finely chop, either with a knife or a small food processor.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder and salt. With the mixer running on low, add the powdered sugar mixture by spoonfuls to the butter, mixing just until combined. The buttercream will be clumpy at this point.
  • Add the vanilla and almond extracts, and increase the speed to medium. Whip the buttercream for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl several times, until very light and fluffy, adding the milk only as needed for desired consistency.
  • Spread or pipe the buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes, then sprinkle with the chopped almonds.

Notes

These can be baked and frosted one day in advance, stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.  Bring to room temperature before serving.
Keyword Almond, Cupcakes, High Altitude
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