Sometimes you want a tasty treat, but you want to feel like it’s healthy… I had such an occasion when I was expected to bring dessert but on the good-for-you side…
I wanted to try using fresh almonds (hooray for vitamin E and “good” fat) instead of almond paste. I figured between the almonds, the berries, the eggs, the ricotta, and the cream cheese, I ended up with a fairly balanced treat. Fruits, healthy fats, protein, etc. to counter the heavy dose of sugar (yum, sugar). But to keep myself honest, I used my copy of Accuchef software to calculate the nutritional value. Scroll to the very end if you are curious, but perhaps some things are better left unknown…
~15 cupcakes / 350 degree oven
4 ounces almonds, slivered/peeled
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 stick butter, unsalted/room temp
4 eggs, large/room temp
2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1. Grind almonds with 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor until very fine. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer.
2. Gradually add the remaining 1 cup of sugar to the ground almonds while beating at low speed.
3. Add the ricotta and beat to combine.
4. While beating at low speed, add a tablespoon of butter at a time, waiting for the butter to incorporate until adding the next pat. The butter must be at room temperature or it will not incorporate well.
5. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, then beat at medium for about 2 minutes.
6. Crack eggs into a bowl and break up with a fork. At low speed gradually add eggs about a tablespoon at a time, waiting for the eggs to incorporate until adding the next bit.
7. Beat again at medium speed for about 2 minutes.
8. Measure out flour, salt, and baking powder into a bowl and whisk to combine.
9. With a rubber spatula, fold flour mixture into the cake batter until combined.
10. Wash and dry the berries. Toss with a small amount of flour. This will help keep the berries from sinking.
11. Fold berries into the batter.
12. Scoop batter into cupcake liners, about 2/3s full.
13. Bake at 350 for about ~25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean
Note: I wanted “pink” and “blue” cupcakes so I divided the batter in two and added blueberries to one and raspberries to the other. You could do this, mix the berries, or even use different fruit.
Cream Cheese Frosting
12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4-5 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Bring butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours.
2. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment.
3. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.
4. Add 4 cups of the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until combined.
5. Add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.
1. Frost cupcakes.
2. Top with a candy decoration, berries, or slivered almonds.
Note: I kneaded store-bought white fondant with gel food coloring, rolled out with a little corn starch to prevent sticking, and stamped out small shapes to top the cupcakes.
Approximate Nutritional Value per Serving
Per Serving: 216 Cal (50% from Fat, 9% from Protein, 41% from Carb); 5 g Protein; 12 g Tot Fat; 5 g Sat Fat; 5 g Mono Fat; 23 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 16 g Sugar; 51 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 78 mg Sodium; 84 mg Cholesterol
Per Serving: 478 Cal (43% from Fat, 6% from Protein, 52% from Carb); 7 g Protein; 23 g Tot Fat; 12 g Sat Fat; 8 g Mono Fat; 63 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 56 g Sugar; 70 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 167 mg Sodium; 117 mg Cholesterol