Light, airy and rich vanilla buttermilk and almond cupcakes blended with sweetened coconut and pecans. Topped with the ultimate cream cheese and buttercream frosting with cherries and pecans. These cupcakes will quickly become a family favorite. Serve for the holidays or during summer months when fresh cherries are readily available.
These cupcakes have been on my mind for some time now and I just knew I wanted to make them at the start of cherry season in June. I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to share these Italian Cream Cupcakes as they are such a delight to enjoy with fresh cherries during the summer.
What are Italian Cream Cupcakes?
Italian Cream Cupcakes are a mini version of the classic Italian Cream Cake. These delightful treats blend flavors like butter, buttermilk, and vanilla in a soft batter, adorned with cream cheese frosting, chopped pecans, and flake coconut for a luxurious taste.
What truly makes these cupcakes special is the buttermilk. I find that buttermilk helps to make cupcakes moist and rich. It’s not often I bring this ingredient on in baking, but you’ll want to splurge and give this a try!
How to Make Italian Cream Cupcakes
Step 1: Preparing the Batter
Begin by mixing dry ingredients like flour, baking powder, and soda in a separate bowl. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar, then fold in egg yolks and buttermilk for a golden-brown batter.
Step 2: Baking to Perfection
Spoon the batter into lined muffin cups and bake in a preheated oven. Once they’re golden brown, let them cool on a rack. Whip egg whites to stiff peaks and gently fold into the batter for an airy texture.
Ingredients Used in Italian Cream Cupcakes
Key ingredients include purpose flour, baking powder, soda, salt, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, buttermilk, chopped pecans, and flake coconut. These combine to create the distinctive layers of flavors and textures in these cupcakes.
Variations for Italian Cream Cupcakes
Experiment with different garnishes like sprinkles or nuts. For a twist, try adding a teaspoon of citrus zest to the batter or swap pecans with walnuts. You can also adjust the sweetness by altering the amount of powdered sugar in the frosting.
Tips for the Perfect Cupcake
Choosing the Right Tools
When baking Italian Cream Cupcakes, using the correct tools is crucial for perfect texture and consistency. A spatula is indispensable for gently folding ingredients like egg whites and coconut, ensuring the batter remains airy and light. Cupcake liners are a must-have for hassle-free removal from the muffin pan and make for an attractive presentation. A stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment is ideal for combining your batter. It evenly mixes the ingredients without overworking the batter, which is critical for tender, moist cupcakes. Additionally, consider using a scoop to distribute the batter evenly into the liners, ensuring uniform size and baking.
The Art of Mixing
Mastering the art of mixing is essential in creating the perfect Italian Cream Cupcake. Start by whisking together your dry ingredients — purpose flour, baking powder, soda, and a pinch of salt — in a separate bowl. This step not only combines them evenly but also aerates the flour, contributing to a lighter cupcake. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy before adding the wet ingredients. This process incorporates air into the mixture, adding volume to the cupcakes. When it comes to the frosting, using an electric mixer on medium speed is key to achieving that smooth, creamy consistency. Be patient and mix until the frosting is free of lumps. Remember, the quality of your frosting can elevate your cupcakes from good to extraordinary. For an added touch, you can gently stir in flavors or colors to your frosting to match the occasion.
What makes Italian Cream Cupcakes unique?
Italian Cream Cupcakes are known for their rich combination of flavors, including butter, buttermilk, vanilla, and the nutty crunch of chopped pecans and flake coconut. They are distinguished by their moist, airy texture and are often topped with a smooth cream cheese frosting.
Can I make Italian Cream Cupcakes without a stand mixer?
Yes, you can make these cupcakes without a stand mixer. You can use a hand-held electric mixer or even mix by hand, although this may require more effort to achieve the same light and fluffy texture, especially when whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks.
How can I tell when the cupcakes are done baking?
The best way to check for doneness is to insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake. If it comes out clean or with a few crumbs (but no wet batter), the cupcakes are done. They should also have a golden brown appearance.
Are there any variations I can try for a different flavor?
Absolutely! You can try adding citrus zest, such as lemon or orange, to the batter for a fresh twist. Swapping out the pecans for walnuts or almonds offers a different nutty flavor. For the frosting, you can add a bit of cocoa powder to turn it into a chocolate cream cheese frosting.
Can these cupcakes be made in advance?
Yes, you can bake the cupcakes a day in advance. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature. If you’ve already applied the frosting, it’s best to store them in the refrigerator. Just be sure to bring them to room temperature before serving for the best flavor and texture.
Italian Cream Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar packed
- 2½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 5 large eggs
- 1 cup whole buttermilk
- 7 ounces sweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup chopped pecans
For the Frosting
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 12 tablespoons shortening
- 6 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 16 ounces cream cheese
- fresh cherries garnish
- chopped pecans garnish
- heat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a muffin tin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder then whisk well to combine.In a bowl fit with a mixer, cream together softened butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and both extracts. Beat mixture until light and creamy, about 4 minutes.Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.Alternately add buttermilk and dry flour mixture beating on medium-low until done. Once done, increase mixer speed and beat until fully combined. Stir in coconut and chopped pecans. Fill each cupcake 3/5 full of batter. Bake in oven for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.Repeat with remaining batter, then completely cool cupcakes before frosting.
For the Frosting
- I’ve used Russian Ball Tips to frost each cupcake. Using this type of tip requires a lot of frosting. If not using a Russian Ball Tip to frost and simply just applying icing with spatula or knife, frosting recipe can be halved. Beat softened butter, shortening and confectioners’ sugar for 3-5 minutes. Beat in 1/4 softened cream cheese at a time. Beat in vanilla extract, almond extract and a pinch of salt. Beat for an additional 3 minutes. Fill a cupcake liner bag with frosting.Refrigerate frosting for about 30 minutes. Use a cupcake tip (such as a Russian Cake Tip) to frost cupcakes. Once frosted, fill the center hole with frosting by filling a pipping bag with softened frosting. Top with a cherry and chopped pecans.
Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.
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