These fluffy almond cupcakes are light and soft, topped with a smooth almond buttercream frosting. They're flavored with almond extract and are reminiscent of a wedding cake. You can serve them at parties, showers, or any occasion you like.
I've loved almond my whole life, ever since I started making almond spritz cookies and cut out cookies for Christmas as a kid. These almond cupcakes do not disappoint! They have a light and airy texture and are the perfect elegant treats to serve at birthday parties, bridal and baby showers, or as wedding cake cupcakes.
These cupcakes are so fluffy and tender because of an extra egg white and the reverse creaming method! This when butter is creamed into the dry ingredients instead of by itself. The softened butter coats the flour, making it more difficult for gluten to overdevelop. As a result, cakes made this way are slightly more dense but ultra soft and tender. I used the same method to make these vanilla cupcakes, apple spice cupcakes, and lemon lavender cupcakes.
The almond buttercream is easy to make, silky smooth, creamy, and delicious. However, these cupcakes can be paired with other frostings like lavender buttercream, Swiss meringue buttercream, or whipped chocolate frosting.
Here are some notes about the ingredients used. For quantities and the full instructions, see the recipe card below.
Ingredients for the cupcakes.
Ingredients for the frosting.
- All purpose flour- While I usually make my white cakes with cake flour, I found that all purpose flour made these cupcakes perfectly light and fluffy.
- Baking powder- This ingredient helps to leaven the cupcakes, make them rise and get fluffy. Make sure it isn't expired and less than 6 months old.
- Granulated sugar- Sugar retains moisture adds the perfect amount of sweetness. Do not reduce the amount of sugar because it will impact the texture.
- Salt- A pinch of salt offsets the sweetness and gives the flavor more dimension.
- Unsalted butter- Instead of creaming the butter and sugar together before adding the flour and other dry ingredients, the butter is mixed in with them. This is called the reverse creaming method. The reverse creaming method is a common technique used for making cakes because it allows the ingredients to emulsify faster, creating a more even, tender texture. Make sure the butter is softened so it can mix in easily.
- Oil- Using oil adds more fat, making the cupcakes super moist and soft! Use a neutral tasting oil like vegetable oil, canola oil, or avocado oil.
- Egg and egg white- An egg binds the ingredients together while an extra egg white encourages the batter to rise and get even more fluffy. Make sure these are room temperature so they mix in well. Pull them, the butter, and the buttermilk out of the refrigerator about an hour before baking.
- Almond extract- This is one of my favorite ingredients! Almond extract adds a unique, sweet nutty flavor to the cupcake batter similar to amaretto. This is a very potent extract, so make sure to use the exact amount listed in the recipe card!
- Buttermilk- I love buttermilk because it adds fat and moisture while tenderizing the gluten. Fat is so important in the science of baking, so don't skimp on it! It adds a lovely tangy flavor as well.
- All purpose flour: To make these gluten free, substitute Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour for the all purpose flour.
- Almond extract: You can swap in vanilla extract for a vanilla cake version.
- Buttermilk: Plain kefir, plain Greek yogurt, or sour cream can all be used in place of buttermilk.
This recipe hasn't been tested with any of the substitutions listed. If you try any of them, let me know how it goes in the comments!
Helpful Equipment and Tools
- You need an aluminum 12-well cupcake tin lined with cupcake liners. I don't recommend glass pans since they conducts heat differently than metal. Don't use a black pan or silicone pan because the cupcakes will overbake or burn.
- You need a whisk and rubber spatula for combining the ingredients.
- I recommend an electric hand mixer or a 5-quart stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for the reverse creaming process and making buttercream.
- To decorate, you'll need a piping bag and tip. I used a large French star tip for these!
Step by Step Instructions
Here's how to make almond cupcakes! Before you start, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and fill a cupcake pan with liners.
STEP 1: Add the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low, spinning about 5 times. Then, add the softened butter and beat on low for 3-5 minutes until it resembles wet sand.
STEP 2: Next, add the oil, egg, egg white, and almond extract. Mix on low until a batter forms.
STEP 3: Pour in the buttermilk and stir until well combined, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The batter will be thin.
STEP 4: Divide the batter evenly between 12 cupcake wells, filling each ⅔ full. Bake at 350°F/180°C until the tops bounce back when lightly touched or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (18-20 minutes). Let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
STEP 5: While the cupcakes cool, make the almond buttercream frosting. Beat room temperature butter, vanilla and almond extract, and salt on medium-high speed in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, mixing on medium-low speed until light and fluffy.
STEP 6: Frost each cupcake using a piping bag, butter knife, or the back of a spoon. Decorate them with toasted almonds or sprinkles and enjoy.
Fun fact, if you don't have a piping bag, you can fill a large Ziplock bag with buttercream, snip off one of the corners, and use it to frost your cupcakes!
Expert Baking Tips
- Use room temperature ingredients. Room temperature dairy ingredients blend together more easily than cold ones, creating a uniform batter.
- Use a kitchen scale. Weighing the ingredients in grams instead of using cup measurements will yield the best results. This is especially important for the flour! If you don't have a scale, fluff up the flour before gently scooping it into your measuring cup and swipe off the excess.
- Don't overbake. Check on the cupcakes a few minutes before the suggested baking time since oven temperatures can vary. They're done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or when the tops bounce back when lightly touched.
Additions and Variations
Here are some extra ingredients you can add to these cupcakes. These variations haven't been tested, so if you add anything extra, let me know how it turns out in the comments!
- Chopped almonds: Incorporate chopped almonds into the batter for a nice crunch and extra almond flavor.
- Amaretto liqueur: For an adult twist, you can add a splash of amaretto liqueur to the batter. It's an almond-flavored liqueur that pairs well with the cupcakes.
- Lemon zest: Adding some lemon zest brightens up the flavor profile.
- Jam filling: For a burst of fruity goodness, add a dollop of apricot or raspberry jam in the center of each cupcake after baking. You can also use strawberry cake filling or cherry filling.
- Cream cheese frosting: Top the cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for a tangy addition.
- Coconut flakes: If you like coconut, sprinkle some toasted coconut flakes over the cupcakes once they're frosted.
- Chopped chocolate: Add chopped dark chocolate to the batter for a nutty, chocolatey flavor.
Storage and Freezing
Room temperature: Frosted almond cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day. Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored this way for up to 3 days.
Refrigerator: Frosted and unfrosted cupcakes last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days stored in an airtight container. Let them warm up on the counter for about 30 minutes before serving.
While the cupcakes last longer in the refrigerator, the low-humidity environment can dry them out a bit. If you can finish them all within 3 days at room temperature, that's ideal!
Store cooled, unfrosted cupcakes in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. When you're ready to enjoy, bring them to room temperature, frost, and serve. You can also freeze frosted cupcakes for up to 2 months in an airtight container.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Almond flour is made by grinding up blanched almonds and is not a 1:1 replacement for all purpose flour. If you're looking for ways to use up almond flour, try these almond flour banana muffins and pumpkin muffins.
If your cupcakes turn out dry or dense, it's probably because you overmeasured the flour. This is why I highly recommend using a digital kitchen scale to measure it! Your oven could also be running at a higher temperature. I recommend purchasing an oven thermometer to check on this.
Absolutely! Feel free to try any frosting that you feel compliments the almond flavor.
More Cupcake Recipes to Try
Fluffy Almond Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Fill a cupcake pan with 12 liners and set aside.
- Add flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low, spinning about 5 times.190 grams all purpose flour, 2 teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, 200 grams granulated sugar
- Add the butter and beat on low for 3-5 minutes until the texture resembles wet sand.80 grams unsalted butter
- Add the oil, egg, egg white, and almond extract. Mix on low until a batter forms.72 grams neutral oil, 1 large egg, 1 egg white, 2 teaspoon almond extract
- Pour in the buttermilk and stir until well combined. The batter will be thin.160 grams buttermilk
- Portion the batter evenly between 12 cupcake liners, filling each ⅔ full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops bounce back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Allow them to cool completely before frosting.
- Add softened butter, vanilla and almond extract, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes or until it's lightened in color and become fluffy.226 grams unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon almond extract, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon salt
- Mix in half of the powdered sugar on low until creamy and well combined. Repeat with the second half, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.360 grams powdered sugar
- Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag prepared with a piping tip. Frost each cupcake, top with sliced almonds or other garnishes, and enjoy!