Makes 18 cupcakes
200g shelled pistachios (pulsed in a food processor until ground into fine crumbs)
200g plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/4 teaspoon salt
115g unsalted butter
200g granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
120ml full-fat sour cream
green food colouring
150g unsalted butter
190g cream cheese
470g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F and line your cupcake tin with cases. You will need the cases again unless you have a tin that can fit 18 cases in!
Beat the butter until smooth and creamy (usually takes a minute or two on high speed). Add the sugar and beat until creamed together.
Add the egg whites, vanilla extract, almond extract and sour cream and beat on medium speed until combined. You don’t want to overmix the batter as this will mean they won’t rise.
To the wet mixture add your dry ingredients: Flour, baking powder, bicarb of soda, salt and the majority of the pistachio crumbs (save some for decoration).
If possible, carry on mixing while you slowly pour in the milk (or if you can’t just add it in bit by bit) and make sure there are no lumps or bits of flour stuck around the sides or at the bottom of the bowl. It should be the consistency of a normal cake batter. Now add the food colouring if you want to include any. Amounts differ on the type of colouring used but you want a very natural, pale green colour.
Spoon the mixture into your cupcake cases up to about 2/3 to avoid spilling over the sides! Bake for around 19 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Then bake the remainder of your batter, however many extra cupcakes that may be. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting start off by beating the butter until it’s creamy and much lighter in colour than what you started with. Then add the cream cheese and mix together. Slowly add the icing sugar in stages (not all at once or it will go EVERYWHERE) while mixing and you should come out with a very thick icing. Add vanilla extract to your taste (in my eyes the more the better!) and mix.
Pipe about one and a half circles of icing on top of each cupcake – I used a nice big star nozzle from Lakeland as I think the bigger piping looks more professional. Then sprinkle with pistachio crumbs and voila!
Something I’ve always loved, for as long as I can remember, is baking. I might not be the best at it but I will always give it my best shot and the results are usually edible – they just don’t tend to look that great! Obviously, as I’ve got older my skills have got a little better and, after my baking last weekend, I can safely say that I’m pretty proud of how much I’ve learnt and how far I’ve come!
I found this recipe on Pinterest (isn’t it the best invention ever?). The recipe actually uses strawberry icing, but after looking at the ingredients the icing required freeze dried strawberries…. Alright for those of you that live in London but I can only just get strawberries where I live, let alone freeze dried ones!! So I settled for plain old vanilla cream cheese frosting and they turned out alright. Something I really love about these cupcakes is the crunchiness of the nuts in the cake, a bit like a coffee and walnut cake. The pistachios give a great flavour too. The recipe actually says to use unsalted pistachios but I used salted ones and I really liked the taste of them in the cake, not sure how to describe it but it really added to the flavour! I actually didn’t have enough pistachios for the recipe (tut tut Hannah, maybe pay more attention to the recipe before you go shopping next time??!) so I substituted half for almonds and I don’t think it really made much difference. You include almond flavouring anyway so I think it just added to that! If you try these out please let me know how they turned out, I would love to know!