Mini Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting

I realized that I never told you guys about my trip to see Martha Stewart’s show! It was a dream come true! We waited in line for 30 minutes or so on a day that was far too hot for April in New York, but we finally got inside the nice, cold holding room and even though we had to wait another 30 minutes or so, it was a welcome change from the heat and sun outside. The holding room was even pretty, all pastels and beautiful, clean photos from all of Martha’s magazines and advertisements. When we finally got into the studio, I was completely blown away. It’s smaller than you’d imagine, but the set itself is larger than life. It’s so PERFECT! I would give almost anything to have that kitchen. We had to wait for another 30 minutes for the show to begin, and the “warm up guy” was the most annoying person I’ve ever seen in my entire life. He was loud and obnoxious and kept plugging all of his stand-up stuff that was so clearly not funny. How funny can you be if you’re the warm-up guy for the Martha Stewart audience? Either way, when Martha came out, it was surreal. She was wearing 5-inch heels! I had no idea that she wore such serious shoes. I can barely wobble around on 3-inch heels, and the only 4-inch ones I own are wedges because they have more surface area to walk on; but back to Martha. She had a local Italian chef on the show (Joey Campanaro), and they made some delicious looking food (sadly, we didn’t get to taste anything). Martha made eggs benedict on her own before Chef Campanaro came out, and when a few of her appliances weren’t working on set, she was very easy-going about it and joked with the audience while her team fixed the issues. When Campanaro came out, they made this amazing looking chicken that is cured in the fridge for 24 hours, then lightly smoked over an indoor makeshift smoker, then cooked with fava beans until it falls off the bone. They also made a perfect summer salad with fried and fresh hearts of palm (Martha was munching on the fried hearts in between takes, which I thought was cute). Both dishes are on the menu at the new restaurant Kenmare. There was also a little girl there (she couldn’t have been older than 11) that was baking her way through Martha’s cupcake book. I think that the show flew her out to be with the audience, and Martha took pictures with her and her sister and seemed very interested in the girl’s story. All in all, I had a great time and I would definitely go again. If you want to get tickets, it’s really easy! Just go to Martha’s site and sign up! They mail you back in a week or two with your tickets (they’re free). I highly recommend it!

It was recently my sister-in-law’s 19th birthday, but we had to delay taking her out to dinner because she was busy with school. Last night (before LOST, of course), we took her to our favorite Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn, La Superior and then we came back home to enjoy these little cupcakes. The cake is a simple yellow cake recipe, but I colored the cakes red because Rachel’s (my sister-in-law) hair is red (as seen here during our picnic in Central Park last week – yes, that is my husband sunbathing next to her). The cake was moist, fluffy, and delicate, and it had the perfectly sweet, but not overwhelmingly sweet, yellow cake taste. I love yellow cake! It’s such a versatile flavor and goes well with just about everything. I also colored the frosting orange because there are bits of bright orange in her hair, as well. I wish I would have used a brighter orange or a different color entirely for the frosting, but what’s done is done. The frosting still tasted fabulous! It was a thick almond buttercream that I think complimented the simplicity of yellow cake, and the consistency was incredible. My mom is a big fan of frosting, and I think she would have very much approved of this particular batch that I made. As far as the decoration is concerned, I stepped a bit outside of my comfort zone to create the flowers. I found this helpful video the other day on how to make flowers out of buttercream frosting, and while mine came out looking pretty different than the ones depicted on the tutorial, it was my first try doing anything fancy with frosting and I liked the results! I think they turned out very pretty. I don’t have any expensive cake decorating equipment; I just used a disposable piping bag and a slanted plastic tip that didn’t really fit correctly into the disposable bag, but it still did the job. By the end of the batch, my wrist and hand were starting to really hurt from working so hard to make the flowers look halfway decent! I can’t wait to try it again, maybe even on full size cupcakes, although I imagine it will be much harder to do the larger flowers. Thank you so much to Sweet Savory Life for the inspiration and fantastic video tutorial!

Mini Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting
The ingredients for the cake – so boring looking!

Mini Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in your main mixing bowl (did I mention that this cake is a one-bowl recipe?).

Mini Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting
Add in the shortening (or butter), milk, vanilla extract, and egg.

Mini Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting
Beat well to combine, but don’t over mix. Add in food coloring, if you want, until you reach your desired color.

Mini Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting
Place about 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons in each mini-muffin cup (or just under 1/4 cup in reach regular size muffin cup). Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-14 minutes (or 20-22 minutes for regular size cupcakes).

Mini Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting
Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Mini Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting
For the frosting, beat the butter and shortening together for a few minutes before adding in anything else.

Mini Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting
Add in the powdered sugar and beat on the lowest speed until the shortening and butter are incorporated with the powdered sugar. Then add in the heavy cream, almond extract, and food coloring (if desired). Beat for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.

Mini Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting
These are pretty much how my flowers came out. I think they’re decent for my first attempt at “real” cake decorating!

Mini Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting

Mini Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 muffins
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup shortening (or unsalted butter), room temperature**
  • ½ cup 2% or whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
Almond Buttercream Frosting
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup shortening, room temperature**
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (plus 1 cup extra, if needed)
  • 2-3 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2-4 tablespoons heavy cream
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line and/or grease 30 mini-muffin cups or 10 regular size muffin cups.
  2. In your mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. In the same bowl, add in the shortening or butter, milk, vanilla, and egg. Beat together until thoroughly combined, but don't overmix, or else you'll have tough cupcakes.
  3. Fill the mini-cupcakes with 1½ to 2 teaspoons of batter (or fill regular sized pans with just under ¼ cup of batter). Bake for 12-14 minutes for the mini-cupcakes, or 20-22 minutes for the regular sized cupcakes, until they're set and spring back slightly when touched. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Almond Buttercream Frosting
  1. Beat together the butter and shortening for 3-5 minutes. Add in 3 cups of powdered sugar, and beat on the lowest setting until incorporated, then turn the speed up a bit.
  2. Add in 2 teaspoons of almond extract and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Beat for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. If you need a firmer buttercream (and you will for frosting these cupcakes), add in the extra 1 cup of powdered sugar and beat until combined. If you need a thinner frosting, add in a tablespoon of milk at a time until you've reached the desired consistency. Give the frosting a taste. Add another teaspoon of almond extract if needed, then add food coloring if desired to create a colored frosting.
  3. Note: This makes a lot of frosting, but I used almost all of it to frost my 30 mini-cupcakes with the flowers. If you're just spreading the frosting on with a knife or spatula, I highly recommend halving this recipe.
  4. **I would have preferred to use all unsalted butter, but I only had 1 stick left, so I had to conserve and use shortening instead where I could. It still tasted great, but a lot of people have an aversion to shortening, so feel free to substitute with butter wherever you see shortening listed.
Adapted From


34 Responses

  1. Mom says:

    You know how I Love decorating! They came out perfect! I have never done flowers like that yet! I am sure Rachel was delighted.

  2. Kirsten says:

    I am so so so jealous that you saw Martha! I am really happy that you liked her…because I was kinda holding me breath….hoping that she wasn’t a little turd. Lord, I love her. Thank you so much for the link…maybe I’ll try and see her during the summer! You rock!

    • Sydney says:

      Kirsten: I was a little worried about it, too, but I was pleasantly surprised! You should definitely go, it’s fun, especially just to see the REALLY crazy Martha fans!

  3. Memoria says:

    Your cupcakes look great!! You’re such a sweet sister. I saw that tutorial, too. You did a fantastic job!

  4. tigerfish says:

    So lucky of you to watch the Martha Stewart live show!

  5. baobabs says:

    these are beautiful!

  6. Katie says:

    They are just gorgeous! Love the flower desing piped on top. I have tried so many times to do this myself and it never looks right. Will have to give it another go

  7. Juliana says:

    Oh! This cupcake look so cute…must taste delicious…love the way you decorated :-)

  8. Jen says:

    Mmm, I love almond flavored anything

  9. Elizabeth B says:

    Your flowers are beautiful! And that cake sounds delicious!

  10. I LOVEEEEEE the frosting. It looks amazing and glad you enjoyed the show!

  11. Dimah says:

    Oh, those are adorable! Great pictures!

  12. Auntie Donna says:

    These are soooo adorable!! And you know how I love a one bowl recipe! I just got my first trifle bowl and I am making Paula Deen’s Strawberry Shortcake in it which is to die for if you have never made it. Could you do a recipe in a trifle bowl for your Auntie Donna? Love the new Logo!

  13. Alice says:

    Beautiful job! So jealous you get to see Martha!

  14. ingrid says:

    They did turn out lovely! I’m gonna check out the video…thanks!

  15. Monet says:

    Are you supposed to add one 1/2 teaspoon or baking power or 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder? I’m a little confused on that part.

  16. […] some colorful frosting in between two of them; just make your favorite frosting (may I suggest this almond buttercream that can easily be turned into hazelnut buttercream) and add a few drops of McCormick food coloring […]

  17. […] some colorful frosting in between two of them; just make your favorite frosting (may I suggest this almond buttercream that can easily be turned into hazelnut buttercream) and add a few drops of McCormick food coloring […]

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