Love and Olive Oil

Vanilla Almond Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream

Vanilla Almond Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream

I was feeling fruity the other day. Feeling fruity and vanilla-y and almond-y. Normally I’d either do vanilla cupcakes or almond cupcakes, but not this time. No, I wanted both. And this light and delicate cake provided just that. Flecks of almond meal and vanilla bean, spiked with almond extract, and topped with a bright blackberry buttercream, well, I don’t have to tell you that these were delicious.

A perfect choice for a dinner with friends – perfect because, well, our friend’s daughter joined us for dinner, and her favorite color just happens to be purple. Let’s just say that she wouldn’t give in until she got her purple cupcake BEFORE dinner, where she proceeded to dive in and lick every bit of the purple frosting off of the cupcake before she was satisfied.

And unlike some cupcakes I’ve made, these beauties are naturally purple… or purply-pink, to be precise.

Vanilla Almond Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream

They almost became a post for the failed-cupcake-hall-of-fame. See, I first added a bit of tofutti cream cheese to the frosting as I didn’t want it too sweet. I’ve done it before with chocolate buttercream, and the other flavors in the frosting always overpowered any weirdness lingering from the tofutti (I admit, it is not a substitute for the real thing). But in this case, I took a lick and realized something was horribly wrong. Took a finger-full to Taylor too just to confirm my suspicions. He nailed it – the frosting tasted like berry flavored yogurt, a few too many days past it’s sell-by date. Funny how non-dairy cream cheese can give an overpoweringly dairy-like taste to an otherwise good frosting. In to the trash it went.

Take 2: much better. No cream cheese. Fresh blackberries, pureed and strained. Half a vanilla bean, scraped off the pod and beautifully speckling the violet fluff. Just a hint of fragrant almond. And to top it all off – proof that my spiffy new flower molds DO work with marzipan (not quite as well, marzipan is extremely fragile and doesn’t hold the delicate shape as well), but it was the perfect topping on the perfect cupcake.

I don’t think I am the only one to think that the timing of these couldn’t be any better – can you say, perfect mothers’ day treat? I know my mom in particular would swoon over these (or anything almond for that matter – like mother like daughter!). If only I could figure out how to ship cupcakes to her, I would send her a box of these in an instant.

Vanilla Almond Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream

Makes 12 cupcakes.

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1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 vanilla bean (seeds only)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Blackberry Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons fresh blackberry puree, strained
1/2 vanilla bean (seeds only)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add sugar and mix. Whisk together oil, coconut milk, vanilla bean, and almond extract. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until relatively smooth. Fill cupcake liners with a scant 1/4 cup of batter (should be just under 2/3 of the way full). Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

For frosting, cream butter in electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Slowly add 1 cup sugar and beat until smooth. Add blackberry puree and mix until combined. Add remaining confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and beat until well incorporated. Add vanilla bean and extract and mix at medium-high speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes. Top with a marzipan flower, if desired.

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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  1. I decided to follow this recipe for my cupcakes as i do not like eggs and i must say i was not disappointed. My milk (i used dairy milk) didn’t curdle even after adding a few drops of lemon but it turned out just perfect. I was happy being  a novice it worked for me.

  2. Yum, I just made these but there is way more almond flavor than vanilla. maybe cause its my first time ever splitting a real vanilla bean and I didn’t scrape it enough?

  3. These cupcakes look so pretty, the frosting swirls are amazing. I’m sure that these are very tasty, too. I’ve featured this recipe on my blog, hoping that you don’t mind, but if you do, please contact me and I’ll remove it. All the best.

  4. Hi there! I tried these cupcakes yesterday and they turned out so moist and beautiful I almost cried! jk! – but seriously – they were delightful!

  5. Just made these and they turned out amazing!!!

  6. These look amazing! My dad loves blackberries, but I had never thought to make a blackberry frosting before.

  7. Those looks so good.

  8. My husband is obsessed with marzipan so I made these without the blackberry puree so that they would just have the almond flavor. They came out great except that the cupcakes were really crumbly and fell apart when we took them out of the wrappers and kind of became a cake and frosting crumble that would be best eaten with a spoon! Any idea what I did wrong? I would assume they weren’t cooked long enough, but I left them in probably five minutes longer than the recipe instructed. Great recipe, thanks!

  9. amazing! beautiful cupcakes!

  10. Oh my gosh, these look so wonderful… I have been venturing into the world of baking the past couple of weeks, but so far, no more than tweaking some box mixes. I think this is worthy of being my first delve into the homemade world!! Mmmmmm…thanks so much!

  11. yeah… i’m a bit shy to eat, dont wanna eat this good looking cupcakes… if i’ll get any closer to this, definitely gonna munch them all… thanks for sharing…

  12. Gorgeous gorgeous! almost too pretty to eat, but then again too good looking NOT to eat.

  13. These sound wonderful, Lindsay. We have wild blackberries growing at the edge of our yard and I’m going to print and save this recipe for when they get ripe later this summer. Actually, I may not be able to wait that long :)

  14. Thanks for the reply Lindsay. I went ahead and took them to the BBQ. Know one knew the fell. I just put a large, fresh blackberry in the sink hole and topped it off with the buttercream. Everyone loved the flavor! Sorry, I didn’t know they were vegan. Not to worry, I will try again.

  15. Hi Andrea –

    Sorry to hear that. This is based on a vegan cupcake recipe, it’s meant to be eggless. If they fell, it could be any number of things, including altitude, oven temperature, overbeating, taking them out of the oven too early… but not the lack of eggs. Hopefully your next batch will turn out better. :)

  16. I was so excited to make these for a picnic on Memorial Day. They all fell. I have made hundreds of cupcakes but don’t know what happened here. I did notice that they didn’t call for eggs. Were they left out on purpose.

  17. these are great! however i wasnt sure what confectioners sugar was so i used castor…. big mistake.. im making them again now but with ICING sugar… lol thanks for the recipe

  18. Lindsay, try these sites if you want to try shipping the cupcakes to people like your Mom….(or your fans lol)

    Of course, you can always ask at your local post office. I’m sure they have guidelines available :)

    Keep up the awesome work. I’m not Vegan but I love your recipes and your cupcakes always look pretty AND delicious :-D


  19. I tried these out today and they are yummy! My frosting did not get as purple or dense as yours. I couldn’t get fresh blackberries so I strained some blackberry pastry filling. I am sure that is why the color and texture varied. I also did the first batch with only 1/4 cup per cake. They got really small so I filled the other ones up to 3/4 full. That batch got much prettier.

    Thanks :)

  20. You have a beautiful web site. Your photos are stunning and your recipes are mouthwatering. And of course I like the olive oil aspect of your blog’s name. I produce two blogs for California Olive Ranch, North America’s largest producer of extra virgin olive oil. One blog is for consumers and the other for chefs

    I’ll be keeping an eye on your blog. Please feel free to check on ours any time. We feature lots of recipes, tips, etc.

  21. I know I would swoon if I was given these. They are breathtakingly beautiful!

  22. You never cease to amaze me :)

  23. Hello, I just love your pretty cupcakes! Can you tell me more about almond meal?

  24. Your marzipan flowers are really cute! I love the way you’ve used the berries for colour and flavour.

  25. Just found your blog from Cupcakes Take The Cake. These are beautiful!
    My favorite berry is a black raspberry. I’m thinking YUM!

  26. Just use vegan margarine in the frosting, and yup! Vegan all the way. ;)

  27. I’m making them today…these are vegan right? I didn’t even realize until I started getting the ingredients out. Thanks for the beautiful recipe and photographs!

  28. These are beautiful!

  29. These are beautiful! I am waiting for the answer to Abby’s question! Where did you get the cups and which size tip did you use? Yum for the eyes as well as the appetite!

  30. What a lovely combination – vanilla, almond and blackberry! Shall be trying this out this autumn, diet or no diet! Beautiful pictures, too. Thank you.

  31. Oh my gosh- these are just so lovely and tasty looking – I will be visiting here again and definitely bookmarking this recipe – thank you for sharing. And the photos – delicious!

  32. They’re beautiful! Two things: where did you get the cups and what size tip did you use?

  33. Absolutely stunning! I can “taste” them just by looking at them. I’m bookmarking this recipe and hope to give it a try very soon.

    Thanks for the gorgeous photography and great recipe.


  34. Zahra –

    The flowers are made with a silicone mold, called a flower veiner. This one here:

    You just roll out your fondant (or gumpaste or marzipan), cut it with the flower cutter, and then press it between the two sides of the mold. Pretty simple and the results are impressive!

  35. These cupcakes look amazing! I want one! I love all your recipes, and this one in particular is going on my baking list!

  36. OMG Almond, vanilla, berries, yes like mother like daughter!
    I too wish you could mail these to me for Mother’s Day.
    Or deliver them in person….
    Guess I will just have to wait until you are here in June to savor these beauties.

  37. mmmm looks SO good. especially the frosting! so pretty :)

    and I have a question, how did you make those lovely white flowers on top?:)

  38. What adorable cupcakes! I love those flavors, and you are right… a perfect treat for Mother’s Day!

  39. Oh my word! I WISH I could make my cupcakes look like this. Gorgeous!

  40. I would love to make cupcakes like this for Mother’s Day but they wouldn’t look half as good as yours!

  41. wow, that frosting is really that color just from the berries?

    these are totally beautiful.

    whenever i make my own frosting without a recipe it never holds up quite the way i want it to, so i’ll have to try it your way.

  42. Great pictures! I bet those cupcakes tasted as delicious as they look!

  43. Whoops – my mistake – there is no brown sugar in this recipe. It’s the same basic cupcake base as the strawberry lemon cupcakes, so I copied the recipe. Took it out of the ingredients but forgot about the directions.

    As for the flower mold, it’s this one here:

  44. These are lovely! I’d like to know about the brown sugar, but I’m also wondering if you can tell me about the flower molds. I love the look of that little flower! Can you tell me the name of the mold, who makes it or where you bought it? Thanks so much!

  45. I love the butter cream flavor!

  46. Those look amazing!

  47. These are beautiful, and sound fantastic! One question – I started to make these and realized that you call for brown sugar in the instructions but not in the ingredients…. Did you use brown sugar?

  48. The cupcakes are just lovely! :)

  49. The icing is a beautiful color.

  50. Gorgeous work, as always!

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