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Almond Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Almond Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Almond Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Kelsey Hilts celebrates her blog’s two year birthday with some lovely cupcakes.
By Kelsey Hilts

Almond Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Itsy Bitsy Foodies turned two last week.  We celebrated with these almond poppy seed cupcakes, inspired by princess torte, a Swedish layer cake that is covered with marzipan.  My take on the cake incorporates the rich almond flavor {which happens to be one of my favorites!} into the cake and the frosting.  I used my family’s pound cake as the base, adding almond extract and poppy seeds.  I made an assortment of fillings, mixing and matching layers of almond buttercream frosting, raspberry filling and chocolate ganache.  Though I loved the cupcakes, this dessert could easily be transformed into a beautiful layer cake.

This 2nd year of itsy bitsy foodies was a big one.  Most notably, our itsy bitsy foodies family grew as we welcomed our second son into the family.  Though much of the past year has whizzed by in a sleepless blur, I have continued to tend to my other baby {itsy bitsy foodies}, cooking, playing with the camera and capturing our adventures in the kitchen.

Reflecting on the past year, maybe I didn’t post recipes as regularly as I would have hoped, or have as much to time to devote to mastering the technicalities of photography.  I have long lists of things I’ve cooked and photographed {just waiting to be featured on my blog}, other long lists for updates and improvements to the website, and a {never-ending} list of things I’d like to cook.   I gave all that I could give but there just wasn’t enough time in each day to check everything off my list.  My real babies and my family life took precedence.

But it hit me that I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Having too much to do in too little time signifies to me that my life is overflowing with joy.  I love the itsy bitsy hands reaching for the food as I try to photo it, the whir of blond hair running circles around the house and the kitchen, helping mash, stir, crack, whisk, beat, measure {and dump!}.  I love the new set of even littler hands that are now curiously getting into everything, forcing me to run in two directions.  I love the fact that my three-year old loves to cook and has a discerning taste, having developed this past year a love for sushi, specifically raw salmon {or orange fish, as he calls it} but currently suspicious of anything green.  I love all of the time we are able to spend together, both in and out of the kitchen.  For all of the above and more, I count my blessings every day.

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Before I get swept up into another year, I wanted to pause and give thanks.  Thank you to my amazing family: my husband has given me unconditional support through all of this and he’s the best co-chef and co-taster I could possibly imagine having; my two sons, though they are not even aware, give me inspiration, make me laugh, give honest feedback on everything that I cook, and are the reason that I get up in the morning {even if it’s earlier than I’d like to!}; and, my parents, sister, nieces, sister-in-law, mother-in-law and the rest of my extended family, you have given me so much encouragement and hands-on help with many of my projects.  I cannot thank you enough.

Most of all, thank you, all of my dear readers, for your support.  During the moments when I felt like I was being pulled in all sorts of directions and the demands of mommyhood and having two little ones in tow made me step back and take a breather from the blogging world, you motivated me to hang in there.  Just when I didn’t think I could stay awake for another late-night blog editing session, your encouragement, comments and overall support inspired me to stick with it.  So I sincerely thank you.  And I look forward to seeing what this next year has in store for us.  And I guess it goes without saying that if you don’t hear from me for a while, I’m tending to my real babies and my family.  But you can bet that we’ll be in the kitchen, cooking up something new to share with you when the time is right.

Almond Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Almond Poppy Seed Cupcakes
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
These almond poppy seed cupcakes combine almond cake, almond buttercream frosting, raspberry filling, chocolate ganache and marzipan.
Recipe Type: Dessert
Serves: 20+
Almond Poppy Seed Cake
  • 2¼ cups (223g) flour
  • 2 cups (383g) sugar
  • ½ tsp (2,5g) salt
  • ½ tsp (2,1g) baking soda
  • 1 tsp (5mL) almond extract
  • 1 cup (220g) shortening or butter
  • 1 cup (120g) sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp (8g) poppy seeds
Chocolate Ganache
  • ½ cup (118mL) heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup (90g) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp (21g) corn syrup, optional
Raspberry Filling
  • 1 cup (150g) raspberries
  • 1 tsp (2g) flour
  • 1 Tbsp (12g) sugar
  • 1½ tsp (7mL) water
Almond Buttercream Frosting
  • ½ cup (115g) butter, softened
  • 3¾ cups (488g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp (5mL) almond extract
  • 3 Tbsp (44mL) milk
  • Marzipan
  • Raspberries
  • Chocolate chips
Almond Poppy Seed Cake
  1. Cream the sugar and the shortening.
  2. Add the sour cream, eggs, almond extract and dry ingredients.
  3. Stir in the poppy seeds.
  4. Pour the smooth batter into lined cupcake pans {or a greased and floured bundt or tube pan.}
  5. Bake the cupcakes for 40 minutes at 325 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean. {A bundt cake will cook for about 60 minutes.}
  6. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then let them cool completely on a wire rack. {Let the bundt cake cool for fifteen minutes before removing it from the pan. To remove the cake, gently slide a sharp knife around all of the edges to loosen it from the pan. Then place a plate over the top of the pan and flip it over to allow the cake to slide out of the pan. Let it cool completely.}
Chocolate Ganache
  1. Bring the cream {and corn syrup if desired} to a simmer over low heat.
  2. Place the chocolate chips or shavings in a heat-proof bowl.
  3. Pour the steamed cream mixture over the chocolate and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Gently stir the chocolate until a smooth, creamy mixture forms.
  5. Place it in the refrigerator for 5 minute intervals, stirring it in between, to allow the ganache to thicken.
Raspberry Filling
  1. Dissolve the flour and sugar into the water in a small saucepan over low heat.
  2. Stir in the raspberries and let the berries simmer, stirring constantly for 5-10 minutes until the raspberries break down and the mixture thickens.
  3. Remove the raspberry filling from the heat and let it cool.
Almond Buttercream Frosting
  1. Mix the ingredients and beat them for several minutes until a smooth, creamy frosting forms.
  2. Adjust the consistency by adding more milk or powdered sugar.
  1. Working with cooled cupcakes, remove the paper liners and slice the cupcakes in half.
  2. Spread a thin layer of almond buttercream on the bottom half of the cupcake, top with a small amount of raspberry filling and then chocolate ganache.
  3. Spread a thin layer of almond buttercream on the underside of the top half of the cupcake and sandwich the to halves together.
  4. If necessary, freeze for 5 minutes to allow the filling to set and not run out the sides.
  5. Spread a thin layer of buttercream frosting on top of the cupcake.
  6. Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and microwave them in 30 second intervals, stirring them after each interval, until they are melted {being careful not to over-heat them}.
  7. Dip the raspberries in the chocolate to almost completely coat them.
  8. Place the dipped raspberries on a pan lined with waxed paper and allow the chocolate to harden. {If using frozen raspberries, place the raspberries back in the freezer so that the berries don't thaw and melt.}
  9. Roll out the marzipan as thinly as possible on a clean, smooth surface that has been dusted with powdered sugar.
  10. Cut circles from the marzipan and either cover just the top of each cupcake or the entire cupcake.
  11. Smooth the marzipan gently with a rolling pin.
  12. Sprinkle the cupcakes with powdered sugar and garnish with a chocolate-dipped raspberry.
  13. Serve the cupcakes immediately. The chocolate ganache and buttercream frosting should be fine left unrefrigerated in a cool environment for a couple of days but to be on the safe side, I store leftovers in the refrigerator and then bring them to room temperature for 10-15 minutes prior to serving them.

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