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Monday, May 14, 2012

aunt sassy cupcakes.

Aunt Sassy cupcakes were originally supposed to be one loud and proud Aunt Sassy cake, which is basically a pistachio cake with vanilla honey buttercream. I thought it would be a nice to take a breather from the chocolate and vanilla cakes I've been making. So.

Overall, I thought that the cupcakes were okay- not extraordinary, not a turn-off, but just okay. Perhaps it was because my expectations of a pistachio-flavoured cake were different. I was ping-pong-ing back and forth on whether I liked this cake or not.

Certain parts of the cupcake, the outer parts, were a tad drier and hence had a very crumbly texture. Coupled with the fact that the batter contained part ground pistachios, there was some seriously messy eating going on and the pistachio flavour didn't transmit very well.

However, delving into the center of the cupcake, it was significantly moister and not only was it less likely to crumble, the pistachio flavour came through more strongly too. This was when I started to appreciate the cupcake a little more.

The buttercream was a little problematic. The honey in there caused it to curdle and I had to whisk quite madly to get it to emulsify back together. I didn't occur to me that this would happen- I thought all the curdling business were meant to be left to that somewhat finicky swiss meringue buttercream! But I guess with the acidic nature of honey and the fact that this is a milk-based buttercream, the curdling of the buttercream is to be expected of.

These cupcakes are a welcome change from my recent spate of chocolate and vanilla posts, but these are not a must-bake.

Aunt Sassy Cupcakes
recipe adapted from Baked Explorations via here
makes 24

I toasted the pistachios and added a dash of almond extract. I also cut down on the sugar slightly.

1 cup shelled pistachios
2 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 325F. Line two 12-hole muffin tins with paper liners.

Using a food processor, pulse the pistachios until they are coarsely chopped. Remove about 2 tbsp worth of the pistachios to a large bowl and process the rest until they are very fine. Add the finely ground pistachios to the roughly chopped pistachios.

Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pistachios together.

Cream the butter, shortening, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the whole egg and mix until blended.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and ice water alternately, starting and ending with the flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter.

Divide the batter amongst the muffin liners and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out with moist crumbs attached. Let cool before frosting.

Vanilla Honey Buttercream

My buttercream curdled due to the honey as it is acidic. If that happens to you too, don't panic! Just keep beating it until it becomes smooth again. Just like swiss meringue buttercream.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk (I used low fat)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, soft but cool, diced
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp honey

In a saucepan, whisk the flour and sugar together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking regularly, until the mixture comes to a boil and is thickened, about 12 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and beat on high speed until cool, about 10 minutes. (Just to be safe, I made the milk mixture the night before and refrigerated it.)

Turn the mixer down to low and add the butter bit by bit. When all the butter has been incorporated, turn the mixer speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the honey and vanilla and beat to incorporate.


  1. They look pretty delicious, towering high with the frosting. A must try!

  2. Well, they certainly do look delicious in the photos! :)

  3. I can only agree with what's stated above. I love the presentation and the combination of flavors! Pretty photos! Well done!

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