Posts Tagged second looks

Almond Cupcakes With Amaretto Frosting

Almond Cupcakes with Amaretto Frosting

Almond cupcakes with amaretto frosting.

I’ve never had a thing for almonds. Oh sure, an almond shortbread cookie is a welcome change from chocolate chip from time to time, but ask me what kind of sweets I love the most and almond desserts never make the list. I think this may be because too many almond cookies and candies are so heavy on the almond that it tastes like I’m eating a bottle of almond extract. Bakers be warned – some flavors are best served with a dash of subtlety.

But one of my coworkers is a huge fan of almonds, and I wanted to make her very favorite dessert to thank her for some recent help she gave me. And besides, I love a challenge, and I was very excited to see if I could make an almond dessert that everyone could love. After all, I loved the amaretto flavoring in Michelle Obama’s shortbread, so perhaps my poor opinion of almonds was unjustly founded on too many lousy almond danishes?

I decided on cupcakes because, well, I just can’t resist the opportunity to make them. I went back to my old standby – The Cake Bible – because I remembered making Rose Levy Beranbaum’s almond cake many years ago (possibly when I was still in high school) and being surprised how much I loved it (unrelated side note: sometimes I wonder if I sound too much like a Rose Levy Beranbaum groupie. Although, considering how much I love her books and recipes, I guess I kind of am).

Grinding the Almonds

I ground the almonds for the cake by hand after roasting them. It was suprisingly easy.

For the frosting, I decided that there could be no better use for that huge bottle of amaretto I had sitting in my cupboard that was left over from making Michelle Obama’s shortbread. I modified the Magnolia Bakery’s vanilla frosting recipe, making a half batch and adding amaretto along with the vanilla extract.

You should note that Beranbaum’s recipe didn’t perfectly translate to cupcakes – I probably had enough batter left over to make two more cupcakes, if I was so inclined, but I didn’t want the bother. I also had frosting left over . . . although is that ever really a bad thing?

The almond cake was better than I remembered – roasting the almonds before adding them to the batter really brings out the flavor, and the almond extract is light enough that it gently enhances, but doesn’t overpower, the natural flavor of the nuts themselves. The frosting was sweet, and the amaretto adds an almond note that’s subtle and understated, which I just adored.

So almond haters take note – these lovely nuts may deserve a second look. Just keep a light hand with the almond extract.

Almond Cupcakes with Amaretto Frosting

I think I may have to make these again.

Recipe for Almond Cupcakes with Amaretto Frosting


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A Peek Inside The Lavender Moon Cupcakery

Lavender Moon Cupcakery 1

Cupcakes at the Lavender Moon Cupcakery.

Two weekends ago Nonna and I braved the weekend Metro service and headed out for a relaxing day at the Armenian Festival, which was held down in Old Town, Alexandria. While we were basking in the upscale picturesqueness of King Street, we happened upon the Lavender Moon Cupcakery, and decided to take a peek inside.

Lavender Moon Cupcakery 7

An inviting facade . . .

Devotees of this blog will know that I did a quick review of the Lavender Moon Cupcakery back in November, when one of my coworkers generously brought in their cupcakes to work. I liked some of what I had, but in general felt that their cupcakes were so heavy and rich that they were an overkill. Lavender Moon didn’t fare so well in the Washington Post Cupcake Wars either; Post testers thought that their cupcakes were overdone in the richness department.

Lavender Moon Cupcakery 5

Cupcake ornaments hang from the ceiling. Okay, so this was a little too cutesy for me, but to each their own.

I was curious to see their operation in person. The store itself was very cute, with colorful styling that matches the whimsy of the store’s name.

Lavender Moon Cupcakery 4

I liked the pink on pink stripes, very Alice-In-Wonderland-esque.

While I didn’t have the stomach to do a full review of the place, which would have required eating more than one cupcake, I was much more impressed with the triple chocolate cupcake I sampled than I thought I would be. The cake was moist and chocolatey, and the fudgy frosting was thick and satisfying.

Overkill? Maybe a little. But I was in the mood for decadence, and enjoyed the cupcake just fine.

Lavender Moon Cupcakery 2

Mmm, cupcakes.

While I don’t know the next time I’ll get back down to Old Town, I feel that Lavender Moon deserves a second ModernDomestic look. Maybe that can be a project for after I get my new place together, which is taking just about every ounce of my energy these days.

Lavender Moon Cupcakery 6

Speaking of decorating, where can I get this chandelier for my new apartment?

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