almond & apricot cupcakes

© Lydia,

Apricots are one of my unsung fruit favourites - I forget how much I like them until I have them again, which is rare. It seems to be the season for them at the moment, and while we're not growing any ourselves, they're relatively cheaply available, and make a nice summery addition to any baking repertoire. Apricots pair very well with almonds, but then almonds work with almost anything! Here's an incredibly satisfying recipe for the furry orange soft fruits we so rarely enjoy over here, and while it has several stages which may seem fiddly, it's worth it. If you have plenty of peaches then those will work just as well with the almond cupcakes, and be equally summery :)

© Lydia,
As usual, this recipe is for a batch of 6 cupcakes. It scales up nicely according to your wishes. If you want to make a cake, tripling the recipe and baking in 2 or 3 8inch diameter sandwich tins lined with baking paper (or greased and floured if they are springform) for an equal amount of time as the cupcakes, should do the trick.

Almond & Apricot Cupcakes
© Lydia,
Almond Cupcake batter (6)
40g caster sugar (slightly less than 1/4 cup, which would be 50g)
50g (2oz, 1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1 large egg
55g (generous 1/2 cup) self raising flour
40g (1/4 cup) ground almonds
1 tsp almond essence
pinch of salt

Apricot buttercream
2 apricots (approx 80g of flesh), chopped
100g (4 oz, 1 stick) unsalted butter
180g icing (1 cup confectioner's) sugar

© Lydia,
Preheat the oven to 160°C (electric/fan, 180°C gas, gas mark 4, 320-350°F)

Line a muffin tin with 6 muffin cases

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg
fold in the remaining ingredients
Divide among the cases (approx 35g / 3tbsp per case)
Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen, slightly golden and firm to the touch. A toothpick will come out clean and you'll hear a fizzing sound.
Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, fry the apricots in 1tsp of the butter till soft and slightly caramelised, about 5 minutes. Mash with a fork/spatula to loosen any remaining lumps.
Beat the remaining butter with the icing sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the softened, cooled apricots and pipe onto your cupcakes, before devouring in a satisfyingly gluttinous frenzy.

© Lydia,

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