Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Almond Joy Cupcakes

I had another culinary surprise for my mom on her birthday.  My family usually gets ice cream cakes for birthdays, but I had the perfect cake in mind for my mom so I insisted on making something.  My mom's favorite candy has always been Almond Joys so for a few days I have been thinking of how I'd turn this candy bar into a cupcake.

To get uniformed size cupcakes,
use an ice cream scoop
If you remember from my post on mini blueberry tarts (which were such an unexpected hit - thanks for all of the comments!), what I envision in my mind is not always what turns up on the plate.  Almond joys, for those of you that never had one before, have a shredded coconut center, are topped with an almond, and are dunked in chocolate.  I would have loved for this cupcake to lend itself more towards that concept, but I still had about half of a jar of that Nutella toasted almond butter left over and I wanted to use that up.  My mom also preferred a cake that wasn't overloaded with chocolate, so I then worked around that and the almond butter and decided to make a white coconut cake with a coconut buttercream frosting.  Not exactly what I had in mind but with that much coconut I didn't think I could go wrong.

So how do you assemble these cupcakes?  Once the cupcakes have cooled, use a knife to cut a cylindrical-shaped hole in the middle of the cupcake.  The coconut milk gives the cupcakes this beautiful sheen on the top, but it also makes the cupcake crumble a little bit when you try to cut a hole in it.  Therefore, don't drag the knife through the cake when you make a hole but go in and out of the cake with the knife instead.

Take a spoonful of the Nutella almond butter and spoon it into the hole.  Finally, top with the coconut buttercream icing.  I used a Wilton #12 tip to pipe the frosting - hold the bag upright with the tip about just above the cake and squeeze until the frosting comes up over the tip.  Very simple and easy plus I love the light, airy feel it gives the cake - kind of like the coconut filling of an Almond Joy (well, that's what I was going for at least).

When I make these cupcakes again, I will definitely be tweaking with some technical things, like the texture of the frosting and the strength of the coconut flavor, but in all honesty these cupcakes were still delightful.  The coconut frosting was sweet, but not too sweet, and you could definitely taste a subtle hint of coconut milk.  The cake, however, did not have the coconut flavor I was hoping for, so I'll have to experiment with that a little further.  But honestly, that's the best part about experimenting in the kitchen, even if what you make doesn't turn out quite how you wanted it to, if it has butter, sugar, and flour in it, it will probably still come out delicious no matter what, like these cupcakes did.

Almond Joy Cupcakes
Makes about 20 cupcakes

For the cake:
- 2 ¼ c flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ c unsalted butter (room temperature)
- ¾ c sugar
- 1 lg egg
- 1 1/3 c coconut milk
For the Nutella almond butter:
- 2 c almonds, raw and unsalted
- 1¼ c Nutella
For the frosting:
- ½ c unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ c vegetable shortening
- 3 c + 1 ½ c confectioner's sugar, divided
- 1 tbsp merengue powder
- ¼  tsp salt
- 1/4 c coconut milk
- 1 c sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350F and line 2 12-count cupcake pans with liners.  Line a baking sheet with a non-stick mat or parchment paper.

To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.  In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar.  Add in the egg and combine.  Alternate adding half of the dry ingredients, combining, followed by half of the coconut milk and combining.  Repeat. 

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full and bake in oven for 23 - 28 minutes.  Allow to cool in pans for about 5 minutes, then remove and allow to cool on wire racks.

To make the Nutella almond butter, spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.  Remove and let cool.

Add the roasted almonds one cup at a time to a food processor and process until ground and creamy.  Add the Nutella ½ c at a time and process until creamy.

To make the frosting, combine the vegetable shortening and butter in a bowl and beat until creamy.  Add 3 c of the confectioner’s sugar 1 c at a time and combine completely after each addition.  Add the merengue powder, salt, and coconut milk and combine.  Add the remaining 1 ½ c of confectioner’s sugar and beat until the frosting becomes light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Fold in the shredded coconut.

To assemble the cupcakes, cut a cylindrical-shaped hole out of the middle of the cupcake and fill with a spoonful of the Nutella almond butter.  Top with the coconut frosting and sprinkle with shredded coconut.  


  1. Such a great name for these gorgeous cupcakes. I love the almond Nutella filling.

  2. What a great idea for a cupcake! These sound amazing!


Comments may take a little while to show up, but don't worry they'll be there. Thanks for taking the time to comment, I read and appreciate every one!