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Almond Joy Cupcakes with Malibu Rum Buttercream Frosting

3 Apr


Easter candy comes in all shapes, sizes and flavors, and everyone has his or her own favorite. I’m a huge Peeps fan myself, especially after they’re nice and stale. But the flavors I most associate with Easter are chocolate and coconut; chocolate bunnies (gotta eat the ears first) and chicks and eggs…coconut cake and cream eggs and macaroons. In fact, Easter seems to be the unofficial start of coconut season. Let’s face it, it’s not long after the last jelly bean is gone that we’re whipping up that first piña colada of the summer.

Chocolate and coconut are a classic combination, immortalized forever in the PeterPaul Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars. Although I’ve outgrown most popular candy bars as too sweet, I still love these two. Always chock full of scrumptious moist coconut and covered with just the right amount of milk or dark chocolate, one with the crunchy almonds, the other without, they never fail to satisfy the sweet tooth.


I’ve been pondering for a while now how to transfer this yummy candy combo into a cupcake. Pinterest has a ton of Almond Joy cupcakes, but none that are b.u.i. worthy. So I simply deconstructed the candy bar and created my own cupcake interpretation of the Almond Joy: a rich amaretto chocolate cupcake topped with a coconut rum buttercream, garnished with toasted almonds and coconut. The result is simply amazing. Why not whip up a batch this Easter? They’ll be gone faster than you can say Easter Bunny.



Makes one dozen cupcakes

1 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons amaretto

1 cup flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with paper liners.

In large mixing bowl, whisk together almond milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Add the sugar, oil and Amaretto to the almond milk mixture and beat until foamy.

Add the dry ingredients in 2 batches and beat until no,large lumps remain.

Fill cupcake tins about 3/4 full. Bake 18 – 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.


This frosting has a secret ingredient – marshmallow Fluff! – that makes it just a tad more like the candy bars.

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup marshmallow Fluff

3 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons Malibu coconut rum

pinch salt

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Cream together butter and Fluff until light and creamy. Add in powdered sugar, rum and salt and mix at low speed until combined, and then at high speed until light and fluffy.

Meanwhile, heat almonds and coconut in a small, non-stick frying pan over medium low heat until just lightly toasted. Remove from heat and combine together in a small bowl.

Frost cupcakes as desired, dipping the tops into the coconut almond mixture to garnish.



Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

12 Feb


There are many ways to say “I love you”.  One way I say it is through my baking. From the pretty-in-pink to the decadent chocolate/chocolate, here are some of my favorite I Love You’s for Valentine’s Day:

1. Pink Velvet Cupcakes with Sweet Revenge Liqueur

2. Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes with Sweet Revenge and Limoncello

3. Amaretto Sour Cupcakes

4. Goldschlager Red Hot! Cupcakes

Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Frosting

Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Frosting

5. Champagne Cupcakes

6. Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes with Grand Marnier Buttercream

7. Chocolate Wine Cupcakes


8.   Neapolitan Cupcakes with Chambord Raspberry Buttercream

9.   Chocolate Snoball Cupcakes with Coconut Rum

10. Godiva Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes

11. Frangelico Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting


Why not whip up a batch of something sweet for your special sweetie?

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
















Amaretto Sour Cupcakes

16 Feb


Girlie drinks. Back in the day, long before I knew there was a difference between Malbec and Merlot, way before I was aware of craft brews and microbrews, I and my friends were first initiated into the wonderful world of potent potables through girlie drinks. You know the ones –  those tropically colored, super sweet cocktails designed to taste as much like Hawaiian Punch as possible, with all kinds of fruit slices hanging off the side. I’m talking old school classics: Whiskey Sours, Tom Collins, Screwdrivers and Daiquiris. Of course the young gentlemen in our group would go for something more hard core….like a 7 & 7.


I personally cut my boozy teeth on that fabulous concoction known as a Sloe Gin Fizz. So, so sweet, it makes my teeth hurt now to even think of it. But in those days, I thought they were the bomb. A ruby-red cocktail consisting of sloe gin, regular gin, sugar syrup and soda, topped off with a bright maraschino cherry. I absolutely loved them.


Of course, every group has that one special friend, the one with just a tad more style and flair than the rest. In our group, that girl was Nancy (not the limoncello-making dad Nancy, this is another Nancy.) Nancy knew how to party – she was the one who introduced us to pre-gaming way before it was called pre-gaming. While the rest of us were ordering our Screwdrivers and 7 & 7s, it was Nancy, on one particular night, who had the audacity to order….an Amaretto Sour. Oooooooh! So exotic, so European, what was it really? How did she even know about it? Needless to say, we were all appropriately impressed. But that was Nancy, cutting edge, all the way.

February 16 is National Almond Day. Nowadays of course, almonds make me think of Amaretto and even to this day, Amaretto reminds me of Nancy and her Amaretto Sours. The following light, refreshing cupcakes are easy to pull together – they start with a mix – and make a cheery break from the winter doldrums.What better way to toast both the day and old friends than to whip up a batch of Amaretto Sour cupcakes.


Amaretto Sour Cupcakes

Makes approx. 18-20 cupcakes

1 box white cake mix

3 ounces amaretto

3 ounces orange juice

4 ounces sour mix

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 egg whites

1 tablespoon orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with paper liners.

Combine Amaretto, orange juice and sour mix in a large measuring cup.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cake mix, liquids, egg whites and oil, at low speed for 30 seconds, and then at medium speed for two minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed.

Fill each cupcake tin about 2/3 full.

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Amaretto Buttercream Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3-4 cups confectioners sugar

pinch salt

3 – 4 tablespoons Amaretto

orange zest

maraschino cherries

Cream butter in bowl of stand mixer. Add 3 cups of confectioners sugar, salt and 3 tablespoons of Amaretto and mix at low speed until combined, then at high speed, adding more sugar and Amaretto until desired consistency is reached.

Frost and decorate as desired.



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