The other day I decided to make these Almond Praline cupcakes, another great recipe from my favourite 200 Cupcakes cookbook. I loved how simple they sounded and the lovely addition of the Almond Brittle to the top so, I thought I'd give them a go as I already had most of the ingredients in the cupboard anyway and I am also a big fan of nutty flavoured things and absoloutely love buttercream frosting so I thought nothing could really go wrong with these lovely little cupcakes.
Now, I can honestly say, despite having to have two attempts at making the caramel :/, the almond brittle is actually very simple to make and it kind of makes you feel like you are working in a sweet shop too which, is a nice feeling you don't get to experience everyday. My mistake though was assuming that nothing could go wrong with using golden caster sugar to make caramel... ofcourse when making caramel though, you are looking for a lovely golden brown colour to know when your caramel is done but, my caramel was golden from the very begginning so I had no idea when it was actually ready. Anyway, my poor first attempt at making the caramel left me with a sticky, soggy mess, and after a stint in the fridge, a crumbly, grainy praline which, tasted a bit odd and sort of irony :/, I'm not sure how I managed that either. However, on my far more successful second attempt at making caramel I made sure I used white caster sugar and managed to make a much more appealing glossy praline which, had a really yummy candyfloss type flavour to it. Much nicer!
As my first attempt at making praline went... well, very... very wrong, I wasn't able to include any in my actual cupcakes as I had already made the mixture so I didn't really want to leave it for too long before baking the cupcakes so, I just made them and they are so yummy. They are the perfect vanilla cupcake for me and together with, the delicious buttercream frosting create a gorgeous, simple, tasty little cupcake. Add in the almond praline and you have cupcake perfection.
They look rather sweet too I think with their fluffy frosting and shiny praline topping. I hope you enjoy them too if you decide to try them!
sunflower oil, for brushing
250g (8oz) caster sugar
100 ml water
75g (3 oz) flaked almonds
125g lightly salted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g (5 oz) self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
75g (3 oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4 oz) icing sugar
1 teaspoon hot water
Line a 12-section bun tray with paper cake cases. Brush a baking sheet lightly with oil. Put 150g (5 oz) of the caster sugar in a small saucepan with the water and heat gently until it has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until the syrup has turned to a pale golden caramel. Immediately stir in the flaked almonds. When coated, turn out on to the prepared baking sheet, spread in a thin layer and leave until cold and brittle.
Snap half the praline into jagged pieces and reserve. Process the remainder in a food processor until ground.
Put the butter, remaining caster sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, flour and baking powder in a bowl and beat with a hand-held electric whisk for about a minute until light and creamy. Stir in the ground praline. Divide the cake mixture between the paper cases.
Bake in a preheated oven, at 180C, Gas Mark 4, for 18-20 minutes or until risen and just firm to touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Beat together the butter and icing sugar with the hot water in a bowl until pale and creamy. Spread over the cakes using a small palette knife. Decorate with the praline pieces and enjoy!
Thankyou for reading!
Love Courts x