A few months ago, a friend was in town visiting Calcutta on her birthday weekend. I didn’t have time to bake that day so ordered some cupcakes from a local bakery. Now, I’m seriously trying to complain less – whether it is about the pollution, heat, lack of good cupcakes, etc. but I was very disappointed. Just a simple quintessential cupcake was all I wanted – a moist vanilla cake with chocolatey buttercream frosting. I decided to make my own and came up with these dark chocolate sea salt almond cupcakes.
This recipe is very easy – you’ll learn that good old buttercream frosting is really not that hard to put together. I lightened the cupcakes by making the base with almond flour and let the buttercream be the center of attention. I experiment with almond flour in place of white flour pretty often (see my healthy almond crepes for inspiration) and don’t miss using flour in this gluten-free recipe. The eggs and a pinch of baking soda do a good job holding the cake together and keeping it from becoming too dry or tough. P.S. – you can make almond flour at home by pulsing dry almonds in a mixer just until the texture is powdery.
The almond flour adds a marzipan flavor that goes perfectly with dark chocolate. And sea salt – it makes everything better, right? Let me know what you think in the comments section below!
- 140g almond flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 100g granulated sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract or powder
- 120g dark chocolate
- 60g butter (softened at room temperature)
- 60g icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder (optional)
- 1-2 tbsp milk, as needed
- 1-2 tsp sea salt
- Beat eggs and sugar until fluffy, adding one egg at a time. Whisk in the almond flour and baking powder until just incorporated. Do not over-mix.
- Bake for 35 mins at 160C or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Melt the dark chocolate on a double boiler until it is smooth and creamy, about 5-7 minutes. Be careful to not let the chocolate touch the water surface directly to avoid burning the chocolate. If you do burn the chocolate, start over because the texture of the chocolate changes and your buttercream will not have a consistent texture and taste.
- Allow the melted chocolate to cool for a few minutes. In a bowl, beat the (softened at room temperature) butter and sugar together for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the chocolate into the butter-sugar mix and beat until combined. If the mix is too thick, add 1-2 tbsp of milk as needed. If you like a super dark chocolatey frosting, add in one tbsp cocoa powder and beat the mixture. If not, skip this step.
- Frost the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with sea salt.