White Chocolate and Almond Cupcakes

This is the recipe for the cupcakes featured on Friday. I was far too caught up in the whole royal wedding debacle to do anything except upload the photos. We had a lovely time eating cucumber sandwiches and salmon vol au vents (heart-shaped!) whilst watching the affair. Now that I have recovered, I thought I would share this recipe with all of you. Originally these were white chocolate and macadamia cupcakes, designed for a friend’s wedding cake. Since then they’ve had various re-incarnations as white chocolate, white chocolate and pistachio and now white chocolate and almond. The icing is white chocolate too so you need to have a sweet tooth or a massive sweet craving to really enjoy them. I had little crowns to decorate them with for Friday but obviously you can do whatever takes your fancy. You can also try different icings, plain buttercream or perhaps a dark chocolate variation of the one given below.

160g butter, at room temperature
220g golden caster sugar*
4 eggs
150ml buttermilk
280g plain flour
10ml baking powder
pinch of salt
50g white chocolate (either chips or chopped from a bar)
50g almonds, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line 2 muffin trays. This recipe makes approximately 20 cupcakes, depending on how much batter you put into the tins.
Cream the butter and sugar until white and fluffy. Add in the eggs and beat until combined. Don’t stress if the mix is split, it’ll come back together with the flour. Add in half the flour followed by all the buttermilk and then the rest of the flour, beating well in-between. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips and almonds. Spoon into the trays and bake for 20-25mins. The cupcakes will be golden and should spring back from your touch when done. Allow to cool in the trays for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks and allowing to cool completely.

250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g icing sugar
100g double cream
200g white chocolate (good quality chips or finely chopped from a bar)**
Make a white chocolate ganache by heating the cream to scalding point and then pouring it over the white chocolate chips. If the chocolate does not fully melt, buzz it in the microwave in 30 second intervals until completely smooth. Allow to cool.
Beat the butter and icing sugar until white and fluffy. Add the ganache in large tablespoons until the icing in smooth and soft. I normally do this to taste so that the icing is not too sweet so you may not use all the ganache. (You can refrigerate it in a sealed container for a week and use on ice-cream.) If the icing is too runny allow it time in the fridge to recover. Fill a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe generously onto the cupcakes. If time or energy don’t allow you can use a spatula for a smooth icing effect.
Eat with tea.

*Golden caster sugar: Such things aren’t available in supermarkets here so blitz the required amount of light brown sugar (not caramel or treacle as that is too dark) in a food processor.
**Your icing will taste only as good as the quality of the chocolate. Buy the best you can afford!