These Maple Walnut Cupcakes are topped with maple cream cheese frosting and garnished with delicious toasted walnuts. They’re the perfect Spring dessert!
I have a confession to make. I didn’t like cream cheese frosting until probably about a year ago. I kept trying it, but I always preferred a classic buttercream frosting. However, I can be pretty stubborn at times, and I was determined to like cream cheese frosting. Then it happened. I remember the moment quite vividly actually. (Seriously, who actually remembers the moment when they began liking cream cheese frosting? #foodbloggerproblems) It was a cream cheese frosting blended with brown sugar and cinnamon…and it was magical! Since then, I’ve taken to blending all sorts of delicious flavors into my cream cheese frostings. My latest addiction is maple syrup, and this maple cream cheese frosting is incredible! Garnish these cupcakes with some delicious toasted walnuts, and you’ve got the perfect Spring dessert!
When I think of Spring flavors, my mind instantly jumps to maple syrup. After all, these warm days and cool nights are the exact combination that maple farmers need to collect maple sap…which soon becomes delicious maple syrup. One of my favorite breakfasts is fluffy, buttermilk pancakes loaded with toasted walnuts and maple syrup. I decided to use that same combination of flavors to create these amazing Maple Walnut Cupcakes. You should probably just go ahead and double this recipe when you make it…these cupcakes are that good!
I couldn’t be more excited to work with Diamond Nuts to create this tasty Spring dessert. If you like to bake, then you might want to sit down for this one. Diamond has just released pre-shelled, unsalted pistachios. I love baking with pistachios, but it’s such a pain to shell them. I was making baklava not too long ago, and I was determined to find pre-shelled, unsalted pistachios. I looked everywhere for them. No luck! No-one makes pre-shelled, unsalted pistachios! Until now. I ended up standing in my kitchen for about 45 minutes shelling unsalted pistachios. I guess it wasn’t that bad since I was jamming out to some classic 80’s rock at the time, but still…I wish I had known about Diamond’s new pre-shelled pistachios. Next time!
Since the Spring baking season is upon us, here are a couple of good tips for using nuts in your recipes. Did you know that you should freeze nuts if you aren’t planning on using them soon? Yup, the oils in nuts can go rancid over time, so you should store them in the freezer. If you are planning on using them sooner rather than later, then the fridge is perfectly acceptable. As a food blogger, I go through a lot of nuts (walnuts and pecans mostly), so I have a section in the back of my fridge dedicated to nuts. And here’s another good baking tip: if you plan on eating the nuts raw, then make sure to toast them first. Toasted nuts have such an incredible flavor and texture! For instance, I toasted the walnuts for these Maple Walnut Cupcakes since some of them get added as a garnish after the cupcakes are baked. But keep a close eye on those nuts while you are toasting them…they can burn quickly! My rule of thumb is the nuts are done once you begin to smell them.
Now that the weather is getting nicer, it’s time to enjoy the best that Spring has to offer! Get out there and plant some flowers (or herbs and veggies). Take the dog on an afternoon walk after work. Invite the neighbors over for an impromptu dinner on the back porch…but whatever you do, don’t forget the Maple Walnut Cupcakes!
Maple Walnut Cupcakes
For the Cake
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
- 2¼ cups cake flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 4 egg whites
- 1¼ cups milk
For the Maple Frosting
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 6 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ Tbsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place chopped walnuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet; bake for 6-7 minutes. Set walnuts aside to cool.
- In the bowl of a countertop mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes on medium speed).
- In a separate bowl, mix together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the maple syrup, egg whites, and half of the flour mixture to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed just until combined.
- Add the remaining flour mixture and mix on low until combined.
- Add milk and mix on low until batter is fully combined. (Note: Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure the batter is evenly mixed.)
- Fold in ½ cup of the chopped walnuts.
- Line a muffin tin with paper liners; fill each tin approximately 2/3 full.
- Bake at 350°F for 26-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, place the remaining ½ cup of walnuts in a food processor or mini-chopper. Pulse several times, or until walnuts are coarsely ground. Set aside to use as garnish once cupcakes have been frosted.
For the Maple Frosting
- In the bowl of a countertop mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes.
- Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time; mix on low speed for 30 seconds after each addition.
- Add maple syrup and vanilla extract, and mix on low speed until fully incorporated.
- Increase speed to medium-high and whip for 2-3 minutes, or until frosting is light and fluffy.
- Once cupcakes have cooled, frost as desired. (I used a piping bag fitted with a large round tip.)
- Garnish cupcakes with the remaining chopped walnuts.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Diamond of California.
The opinions and text are my own.