Yummy, yummy! When I got the press release for DKNY’s new Sweet Delicious fragrances, it came with an Almond Cupcake recipe from master pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini, who collaborated with DKNY on these fragrances…
I decided to be
stupid brave and attempt this recipe, but here’s the thing… they didn’t come out quite right. Although they still tasted darn good, they didn’t look as they should have. I had some “issues” in the kitchen, but I guess that’s what happens when you attempt a professional chef’s recipe on your first cupcake attempt! Yes, first cupcake attempt!
My blog has always been about trying new things (trends, makeup looks etc) and sharing them, so even though my cupcakes did’t look like perfect little pastries, I decided to show you guys anyway instead of just giving you the recipie! Maybe on my second attempt they will look as good as they tasted, but that’s a very big maybe if I’ll try again! This recipe is very time consuming, requires lots of preparation and lots of washing up – so brace yourselves!
Almond cup cake, orange curd, rose water meringue, candied kumquat, crystallized rose petals, fresh pomegranate seeds
I started with the orange curd. This mixture needs to set overnight, which I wish I had read properly, instead of just reading the ingredients! If you’re baking early, then I definitely recommend you start with the Orange Curd or do it the night before.
- 3 eggs
- 8 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 1 cup sugar
- 2.5 TB butter, room temperature
- 1 orange, zest and juice
Mix the first section together in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Place over a water bath and whisk constantly until thick. Remove from the heat, strain through a fine mesh strainer, whisk in the butter ad orange zest. Place into a container and place plastic wrap directly on top. Chill overnight
Almond Cup Cake Mixture
- 142g butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 2/3 cup almond flour – You can get this at health stores, but it’s ridiculously expensive and far more than I needed! I used a pack of raw ground almonds instead, which I found in the health food isle at Spar.
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1 orange, zest and juice
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Set up in cupcake trays lined with paper cups. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the almond flour and mix, add the eggs one at a time and extract. Sift the dry together and add to the butter mixture. Fold in the sour cream and orange zest and juice. Fill cups ¾ of the way up. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, approx 20 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
- 2 cups water
- 1.5 cup sugar
- 1 Tb light corn syrup
- 12 kumqats
I know what you’re thinking – what the heck is a kamquat? I haven’t seen these around so asked my loyal Tweeps if they were in season – nobody knew, but thankfully the lovely Betty Bake Blog suggested I use normal, thick orange peel instead. She also suggested I make sure not to leave any white pith inside the skin as it would become bitter. Great tip! It worked!
Combine the water, sugar and corn syrup (I could’nt find any so I skipped this) in a pot and bring to a boil. Reserve. Cut the kumquats in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a melon baler or small spoon and discard them. Add the kumquats to a pot filled with cold water bring to a boil, and strain. Repeat the blanching process two more times. Add the kumquats to the pot of syrup and bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat and poach the kumquats gently until they’re slightly translucent, about 25 minutes. Cool in the syrup.
Crystallized rose petals
- 12 rose petals, organic, non sprayed – Again, something that’s not easily found – so I just used normal rose petals that I washed beforehand.
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tsp water
- 1 cup sugar, superfine – I used castor sugar
- Pomegranate seeds
Whisk together the egg whites and water until frothy. Gently dredge or brush the petals gently with the egg whites. Remove any excess whites and coat with the sugar, making sure to coat them completely. Lay flat on a tray or a wire rack and allow to dry over night in an oven that is off (only the pilot light).
Rose water meringue
- 1.5 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1.5 Tb light corn syrup
- 6 egg whites
- 2 Tb sugar
- 2Tb rosewater
Combine the water with the 1st sugar (1.5 cup) and corn syrup in a pot and mix well. Make sure the inside of the pot on the sides is clean. Bring to a boil and using a candy thermometer cook until 235 degrees. Meanwhile whip the egg whites with the 2nd sugar In an electric mixer with the whip attachment until full and foamy but not dry. Once the sugar reaches the correct temperature pour the sugar carefully down the inside of the bowl, close to the bowls wall, whip until almost cool. Add the rose water. Use immediately.
Being the armature chef I am, I thought this would be the easiest part! I mean, how difficult could it be to make a meringue? Well, mine flopped – twice! I couldn’t find corn syrup anywhere! So tried Johnny’s method first – just without the corn syrup. Then attempted another recipe I found online that didn’t need corn syrup and only caster sugar and egg whites, but again… Flop!
This is when I had the bright spark idea to stick my cupcakes in the oven to try harden the meringue a bit – as it wasn’t completely liquid. Let’s just say it probably would have worked, but I left them in the oven a little too long – hence the morbid looking brown colour they came out – sigh!
Cut a small hole out of the center of each cupcake all the way to the bottom. Fill with the orange curd. Pipe the meringue in a spiral fashion on top. Place a drained candied kumquat, a crystallized rose petal and some pomegranate seeds on top.
That’s it! Easy huh! lol
If you attempt this recipe, please comment below and let me know how your’s trend out!
Images collage of Johnny Iuzzini via his website