Vanilla Almond Cupcakes

I am very blessed to have two of my best friends expecting babies next month. And I have also had the pleasure of attending multiple showers and “sprinkles” over the past few weeks.  It’s such a fun experience to share the joy of a new baby with my friends.

My friend, Kelli, is due at the end of April, and this is her first baby.  She and Jason have decided not to know the gender of the little baby-to-be, so this new addition will be even more exciting for them.  She asked me to provide cupcakes for one of her showers, and I was delighted to make them.  I sent her a list of about 25 cupcake flavors about a month ago to choose from (I have to say I was also very excited about the opportunity to try out a new recipe for such a special occasion), and she chose Vanilla Almond cupcakes.

I knew I was going to go all out with these: real vanilla beans, European-style butter, pure almond extract, fresh organic eggs-I wanted to use the best ingredients I could find. I doubled the recipe for a yield of 48 cupcakes total-feel free to halve the recipe for your standard 24.

What can I say about these cupcakes?  Well, the fact that I am posting them as soon as I possibly can after making them is a sign.  They are dense, almost like a pound cake-with a distinct almond flavor.  The rose buttercream piping?  Simple.  Using a Wilton #2D flower piping tip, start your piping in the center of each cupcake, and then gradually pipe your way in concentric circles out to the periphery (clock-wise or counter-clock-wise, whatever you like).  The end result got a lot of compliments, and the cake part got just as many, too.

And, as a sidenote:  Today is my father’s (and his identical twin brother, Rob) 59th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Dad!  I love you!

Vanilla Almond Cupcakes

Servings: 48 cupcakes



For the cupcakes:

5 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

5 teaspoons baking powder

1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

2 teaspoons almond extract

2 whole vanilla beans, split length-wise and seeds reserved

8 large eggs

4 egg yolks

3 cups whole milk

For the Vanilla Almond Buttercream:

3 cups (6 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

8 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 vanilla bean, split length-wise and seeds reserved

2 teaspoons almond extract


1. For the cupcakes: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line cupcake pans with liners; set aside.

3.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, mixing well.

4. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes.

5. Slowly add in the granulated sugar, almond extract, and vanilla bean seeds and mix until well-combined, about 2 more minutes.

6. Add the egg yolks, and mix well.

7.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

8.  Add the flour and milk mixtures alternatively (start and end with the flour mixture) to the mixing bowl at low speed, mixing until the flour is just combined.

9. Evenly distribute the batter among the prepared baking pans.

10.  Bake for 20 minutes total, rotating the pans halfway during the baking time.

11.  When a cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, remove the cupcakes from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes.

12.  For the buttercream frosting: In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

13. Reduce your mixer speed to low, and gradually add the confectioners’ sugar slowly, making sure to frequently increase the speed of the mixer for about 10 seconds increments to aerate the frosting.

14. Add the vanilla bean seeds and almond extract, mixing well, until frosting is smooth and creamy.

Sources: Vanilla Almond Cupcakes adapted from How to Eat a Cupcake (originally from Favorite Brand Recipes) and Frosting adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes


March 20, 2011 - 8:02 am

notyet100 - luv the cupcake nd the frosting nd everythin

March 20, 2011 - 8:38 am

branny - That is one of the most beautiful frosting jobs I’ve ever seen.

March 20, 2011 - 9:02 am

Liz - Happy birthday to your dad!!!

Oh, do I have piping envy. I do own that tip, but fail miserably at making a decently piped cupcake…yours look fabulous! Just perfect…

March 20, 2011 - 1:50 pm

Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust - These look so good! I love almond flavor, so I will surely be making them soon!

March 20, 2011 - 3:45 pm

Victoria - You have to blog about your piping, it is incredible, you must have some top tips to share. I have the same piping tip, but mine always looks a total mess, I need help!

March 20, 2011 - 4:20 pm

srlacy - Hi Victoria-

I used a #2D Wilton tip. The instructions are in the post of how I did it. I’m really not the best piper-the technique is very straightforward. 🙂

March 20, 2011 - 6:30 pm

maggie - So yummy looking. I love butter cream. Vanila is a fav of mine.

March 20, 2011 - 10:46 pm

Jenn (Cookies Cupcakes Cardio) - Beautiful! The rose buttercream technique is one of my favourites.

March 21, 2011 - 1:13 am

sally - Beautiful! Love the rose shaped frosting!

March 21, 2011 - 11:09 am

Katy - So lovely and absolutely delicious!! You can see the tiny specks of real vanilla bean. What a treat!

March 21, 2011 - 12:19 pm

karolina - These are so beautiful that it would be a pity to eat them. I could just look at them forever 😉

Great blog, btw!

Greetings from Poland!

March 21, 2011 - 1:18 pm

Melissa - Those cupcakes look delicious and I’m amazed at the icing job…how lovely!!

March 21, 2011 - 3:20 pm

Kelli - Thanks so much, Shan! These were DELICIOUS and absolutely beautious! What a treat! Thank you for making my shower even more special! xoxo

March 21, 2011 - 4:12 pm

natalie (the sweets life) - vanilla almond sounds AMAZING! and the frosting is beautiful!

March 21, 2011 - 8:35 pm

Happy When Not Hungry - These cupcakes look and sound amazing! I love the way you piped the frosting. What a great friend you are!!

March 22, 2011 - 5:38 am

Junia @ Mis Pensamientos - this looks beautiful!

March 22, 2011 - 6:44 am

Moom - these cupcakes look really yummy! I am planning a cupcake decorating party for my daughters party. And i am still looking for the perfect cupcake recipes. Might have just found it! Is there any possibility to convert the measuerements into metric? I live in Switzerland and have no idea how much one stick of butter weighs! Thanks so much!

March 22, 2011 - 6:50 am

srlacy - Hi Moom-

I’m sure that there is an easy conversion table out there that you could use.
I hope try turn out for you-they would be great for a child’s party!

March 22, 2011 - 9:40 am

alyce - These look yummy. Congrats on top 9!

March 22, 2011 - 11:07 am

Shannon - So funny, I’m also looking for good cupcake recipes for my daughter’s 2nd birthday. I love vanilla almond. The flavor is such a classic! I love the piping. I’m definitely trying that technique!

March 22, 2011 - 12:02 pm

Lin Ann - Sounds heavenly! The frosting is beautiful! I love the name of your blog and congrats on top 9!

March 22, 2011 - 1:11 pm

Emily @ - Gorgeous! Congrats on the top 9!

March 22, 2011 - 2:01 pm

Sonia - Oh, real vanilla! I just love it when you can see specks of vanilla in anything vanilla. I find they make everything that much prettier, and they sure worked their magic on your lovely cupcakes. Bet they taste awesome too! Congrats on making the top 9.

March 22, 2011 - 4:33 pm

Erin A - Looks and sounds amazing! I’m all cupcaked out at the moment but when I recover…..I’ll try this recipe. Made/posted Double Chcocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream buttercream last week, and today I posted “easy” PINK Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream AND a recipe for Strawberry Cream Cheese frosting. You can see why I cant eat another cupcake…LOL

Thanks for sharing and Congrats!

March 23, 2011 - 12:07 am

Ali Grace - I agree with everyone and say… These cupcakes are beautiful!!! I’m going to have to practice this technique. I absolutely love it!

March 23, 2011 - 11:18 am

Bites from other Blogs | Sponge Cake Recipe - […] though Vanilla Almond Cupcakes did sound good enough on their own, The Curvy Carrot topped these little cakes off with beautiful […]

March 23, 2011 - 11:32 am

Bites from other Blogs | - […] though Vanilla Almond Cupcakes did sound good enough on their own, The Curvy Carrot topped these little cakes off with beautiful […]

March 25, 2011 - 5:31 pm

Amy - Beautiful! Those cupcakes are gorgeous and your frosting looks phenomenal. Yum! I can’t wait to make some.

April 2, 2011 - 11:46 pm

blogbytina! - these sound heavenly!

April 21, 2011 - 5:03 am

The Curvy Carrot » Pesto Tuna Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes - […] than 10 days (well, if the mystery-gendered little one decides to come on time).  I posted the cupcakes from her shower last month, but now I thought I would share something that I fell in love with at […]

May 24, 2011 - 3:59 pm

Elyse - LOVELY! I want to try these. What would you suggest if I wanted to omit the vanilla beans and use just much vanilla extract would you use? (I know, the vanilla beans are amazing, but I want to make the cupcakes for kids and they won’t appreciate the expense 🙂 )

May 24, 2011 - 6:13 pm

srlacy - Hi Elyse-

Well, this is a controversial subject. I have seen substitution equivalents ranging from 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract per vanilla bean.

Here’s what I would do. If you have pure vanilla extract (you know, that expensive stuff from specialty stores…which I rarely can afford either) try one teaspoon per vanilla bean and go by taste. If you have the regular store-bought vanilla extract, try measuring out a generous teaspoon, mix, and then taste the batter to see if you can truly taste the vanilla flavor.

When I made these cupcakes, I contemplated substituting the extract and found myself in a very similar dilemma. I did a lot of internet searches and hunted through various cookbooks without finding a definitive answer. Maybe someone out there will be able to help both of us out with this one!

Thanks for stopping by!

January 29, 2013 - 10:18 pm

TMoore - How beautifully fabulous these are and look!
Thank you for this recipe along with your amazing peanut butter cupcakes.
I modified this last recipe slightly and WOW, I could have gone crazy eating these
Babies. 🙂

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