Almond and cherry have long been regarded as something of a match made in heaven. A triumphant flavour combination, these two ingredients work wonderfully together in all manner of foods, from tart to cake. As a result, at a time of year at which your cupboards inevitably contain both marzipan and glacé cherries, there is nothing else to do but make Marzipan and Cherry Cupcakes.
My one complaint about cupcakes generally, which is why I make them only scarcely, is that they tend to be a little dry in texture as a result of their minuscule proportions. Understandable though this may be and forgiven though they are, it is nonetheless an undesirable characteristic. Happily, the addition of marzipan – especially when in greater quantity than flour – and syrup-infused cherries to the mix makes for a moister, more pleasant cupcake.
As many of you will undoubtedly know, I’m not usually a fan of fancy frills and plentiful icing. However, the simplicity of the nutmeg buttercream atop these marzipan and cherry cupcakes will knock your socks off. Added to that, it serves the magnificent dual-purpose of locking in that much needed moisture. Though its flavour is subtle, the added spiciness of the nutmeg complements the nutty notes of the marzipan perfectly. Ultimately though, these marzipan and cherry cupcakes serve as a fantastic and frugal way to make use of a few of those leftover Christmas ingredients.
Marzipan and Cherry Cupcakes
Makes 12 large cupcakes
For the cupcakes -
• 150g butter
• 50g golden caster sugar
• 3 eggs
• 160g self-raising flour
• 100g glacé cherries
• finely grated zest of 1 orange
• 200g marzipan, grated
For the buttercream -
• 140g butter
• 200g icing sugar
• a generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C(fan) and pop 12 large cupcake cases in muffin tins. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs one by one. Gently fold in the flour, cherries, zest and marzipan.
2. Spoon the batter into the prepare cases and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Set aside to cook fully.
3. To prepare the buttercream beat the butter in a bowl until soft, before whisking in the sugar and nutmeg bit by bit. Once cool, ice each cupcake generously. Store in an airtight container if not eating immediately.
Cost: Since my marzipan recipe yields over 1kg for less than £3.50, these cupcakes come in at a very reasonable price. Indeed, the entire batch should set you back no more than £3.20.