Sour Cherry Pistachio Cupcakes, Gluten Free

Ingredients
Pistachio Almond Paste Mixture
90 grams (1/2 cup plus one tablespoon) roasted pistachio kernels
93 grams (1/3 cup packed) GF Almond Paste, cut into small chunks
125 grams granulated sugar (1/2 cup plus one tablespoon)
Cupcake
175 grams GF AP flour (87 grams superfine brown rice flour, 44 grams each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour/starch) (1⅓ cups)
All the pistachio almond paste mixture (above)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
130 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (9 tablespoons)
2 extra-large eggs
120 grams whole milk (about ½ cup)
2 tablespoons Cherry Liqueur (like Luxardo)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
125 grams sour cherry spread or jam, stirred until somewhat liquified

Sour Cherry Buttercream
145 grams unsalted butter, room temperature (10 tablespoons)
130 grams sour cherry fruit spread or jam, strained (about ½ cup)
2-3 tablespoons Cherry Liqueur (Luxardo)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
550 grams powdered sugar, sifted (about 5 cups)

Topping
90 grams roasted pistachio kernels, coarsely hand chopped (heaping ½ cup)

Instructions
Pistachio Almond Paste Mixture
Place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is combined and finely ground. Set aside.

Cupcake
Preheat oven to 350. Place cupcake liners in a muffin pan (about 12-14). Set aside.
In a medium large mixing bowl combine flour, pistachio almond paste mixture, baking powder, salt, baking soda and whisk to combine. In a microwave safe glass container, melt butter and cool slightly. Add eggs, milk, cherry liqueur, vanilla and almond extract. Whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and using a hand-held mixer combine ingredients until smooth and well mixed. Add sour cherry spread and marble the batter just slightly. As the batter is scooped, it will marble more, so less is more when it comes to stirring the cherry spread into the batter.
Scoop into liners about ⅔ full. Bake 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Cool for a few minutes. Remove cupcakes to a rack and cool completely before frosting.

Sour Cherry Buttercream
In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whip attachment, mix the soft butter with the sour cherry fruit spread. Add the cherry liqueur, vanilla and almond extracts. Combine. Add the sifted powdered sugar and mix on low until almost combined and then turn the mixer to medium high-high to whip until light and fluffy. Check the texture of the buttercream. If it is too stiff, add one teaspoon of water at a time until it is just right. If it is too goopy, add two tablespoons of sifted powdered sugar as needed just until it seems the right piping consistency. It will get more stiff as it sits. Pipe or use a spatula to apply to cooled cupcakes.

Topping
Hand chop pistachios and sprinkle on freshly piped buttercream. If you wait too long the pistachios will not adhere because the buttercream starts to set almost immediately. I like to pipe a few at a time and apply the pistachios right away. Frost a few more and add the pistachios until all the cupcakes are decorated.

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