Happy almost 4th of July and welcome to this week’s Chocolate Monday! What better way to celebrate our country’s birthday than with these Macadamia Nut White Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. It is so much fun sharing these recipes with you.
These cupcakes began as a cake recipe from the incomparable Nancie McDermott’s “Southern Cakes” cookbook. If you haven’t seen it, you need to pop over online or head to your local bookstore and buy a copy today! These are some of the most incredible cake recipes you will ever find and they will change your life. And this is no exaggeration. I promise you will be amazed.
When you read the recipe, you will wonder if there are typos when it tells you how long to cream the butter and sugar together. Nope, that’s correct. It’s one of the secrets to the heavenly texture. Nancie knows her stuff and I would never question her methods, LOL.
I strongly recommend you use a stand mixer for this recipe. With the extended beating times on both the cupcake batter and frosting, stand mixers have large motors designed to handle big tasks like these and won’t overheat.
When I converted the recipe to cupcakes, I didn’t anticipate the volume of the batter. When you beat the ingredients as long as told, it develops a tremendous amount of air. I had prepped two 12-cup muffin pans but I wound up with enough batter left over for a small cake – bonus!!
You’ll wind up with 30 or more cupcakes … it is better to have too many muffin pans ready to go than not enough! I finished with 33 cupcakes. If you don’t use all the cups, remove the empty paper liners before putting the pans in the oven.
I prefer using disposable piping bags when I am working with frosting. The disposables let me easily clean up. Just cut the tip of the bag off, slip in your preferred piping tip, and push through until it is tightly seated. Then you can fill the bags with the frosting.
The real trick to beautifully piped cupcakes, besides the consistency of the frosting and practice, is the tip that you use. Most tip sets include very small tips for detail work, but if you’re frosting cupcakes, you want large/jumbo tips! If you are looking for a rose topping, use an M1 tip from Wilton. It is almost foolproof. Even beginners will get good results with the right tip.
If you’re like me and not as skilled at piping as you would like, take a look at the YouTube videos from Cakes By Lynz. She walks you through each step to create a wide variety of designs and which piping tip to use to get a specific design. She is the queen of buttercream and I’m grateful to have her videos to guide me!
I kept the color and design simple and decorated with patriotic cupcake liners, sprinkles, and little flags. Very fun and colorful with very little work! You can find sprinkles for every occasion at the Fancy Sprinkles website. They are so fun to add sparkle and pizzaz to your desserts. Be careful, you can easily get carried away with all their beautiful and fun decorations!
I hope you love today’s Macadamia Nut White Chocolate Cupcakes for your 4th of July celebrations or any special occasion. You really don’t need an excuse, just make them whenever the spirit moves you and change up the decorations for a wonderful treat all year long.
Did you enjoy this recipe? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!
Key Ingredients for Macadamia Nut White Chocolate Cupcakes:
- Cupcakes: Gluten-free flour blend or cake flour, baking powder
- Xanthan gum, salt, baking soda, unsalted butter, sugar
- Eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, macadamia nuts, white chocolate chips
- Frosting: butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, cream
PRO Tip: How to Fill a Piping Bag
There are a couple of tricks to filling a piping bag that will save you time and cleanup. Set the bag with the tip in place into a heavy-bottomed glass and fold over a large cuff at the top of the bag. This will protect your hands from getting covered with frosting as you fill the bag. And don’t fill the bag too full, you need plenty of headroom to close the top and twist it to keep the frosting firmly in the end of the bag. After loading the frosting in the bag, press it from the top of the bag, forcing the frosting down into the bottom of the bag. With one hand holding the twisted top of the piping bag, press the frosting down into the tip.
How to make Macadamia Nut White Chocolate Cupcakes:
- Make the Cupcakes: Mix together the dry ingredients, including xanthan if your GF flour blend doesn’t already contain it; cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 6 to 8 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping the bowl and beater occasionally
- Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated, then half the buttermilk, another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, remaining buttermilk, and finally the remaining dry ingredients, beat in the vanilla, then scrape the bowl and beater again
- Use an ice cream scoop to get the batter into the lined muffin tins, filling each one no more than 2/3 full; bake at 350°F for about 12 minutes, then spin and swap the trays for more even baking and continue baking another 8 minutes or until the tops are golden and the center springs back when pressed gently and a toothpick comes out clean; transfer to a wire rack to cool
- Make the Frosting: Beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 4 minutes, scrape down the bowl and beater; add the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time, beating for 2 minutes between each addition, stop when you’re halfway through the sugar
- When you are halfway through the sugar, beat in the vanilla and about 2 tbsp of the cream, beating until creamy and smooth; finish adding the remaining sugar and add more cream if needed, 1 tbsp at a time, until it reaches the right consistency
- If you are piping the frosting, you should be able to hold a spoonful of the frosting upside down and not have it fall out of the spoon, it should take a vigorous shake to get it to fall into the bowl – when this happens, it is perfect for piping
- Spread or pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes, decorate as desired, and serve to rave reviews
If you want a purer white frosting, you can buy and use a clear vanilla extract. The flavor isn’t as strong, but it doesn’t tint your frosting. Not a bad trade-off.
When you are adding more than one egg to a recipe, break them into a small bowl (so you can fish out any bits of shell if needed) and then transfer to a measuring cup with a spout. Repeat with remaining eggs, breaking one at a time. Using the bowl lets you determine if the egg is fresh before contaminating the other eggs and ruining your batter – better safe than sorry! Adding one egg at a time to the batter is easy with the spout on the cup, just pour them in, one yolk with accompanying whites at a time.
Recommended Tools (affiliate links; no extra cost to you):
- Kitchen scale
- Dry measuring cups and liquid measuring cups
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Cupcake pans
- Stand mixer
- Spring-loaded scoop
- Piping bags
- Large piping tips
Be sure to use a neutral-flavored gluten-free flour blend. This is a delicate cake and you don’t want to overpower the flavors with more dominant flours (like quinoa, teff, or bean flours). If you want to use a commercial blend, I really like Bob’s Red Mill’s 1-to-1 baking flour blend (in the blue bag).
You can adjust any recipe to gluten-free by using 120 grams per cup of my favorite gluten-free flour blend. If you are using another brand of gluten-free flour, whisk the mix, spoon it lightly into a measuring cup until mounded, level off the top with a straight edge, and weigh the flour left in the cup. Use that weight as your standard per cup of that specific flour. Do this for each flour blend you use. Commercial blends such as Pamela’s, Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1, or King Arthur Measure for Measure are all good choices.
- 3 cups (360g) cake flour or gluten-free flour blend (see Note)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp xanthan gum (only if using a gluten-free flour blend that doesn't already contain xanthan)
- 1/2 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup (8 oz / 2 sticks / 227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract*
- 2 cups (300 g) whole macadamia nuts, finely chopped
- 1 cup (177 g) mini white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate
- 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks; 12 oz; 339 g) butter, at room temperature
- 6 cups (681 g) powdered sugar, sifted or whisked
- 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract*
- About 1/3 cup or about 5 to 7 tbsp heavy cream or half and half
- *You can buy a clear/white vanilla to keep your frosting whiter. The more you beat the butter, the white and lighter it becomes.
- Make the Cupcakes: Line 30 cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add xanthan if using gluten-free flour. Whisk until well blended. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your standing mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until combined, then increase the speed to high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 6 to 8 minutes, scraping the bowl and beater(s) occasionally. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the bowl and beater(s).
- Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, alternately add the buttermilk to the butter, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat it in. Scrape the bowl and beater(s) and mix for another 30 seconds. Mix in the nuts and white chocolate.
- Using a scoop with a lever that empties the contents, divide the batter evenly between all the muffin cups, no more than about 2/3 full. Depending on how full you fill your cupcake liners, you should wind up with about 30+ cupcakes.
- Transfer to the hot oven and bake for 12 minutes, then spin the pans front to back and swap the pan on the top rack with the pan on the bottom rack. Bake for another 8 minutes or until the tops are golden and the center springs back when lightly touched. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool thoroughly.
- Prepare the Frosting: In the bowl of your standing mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 4 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beater paddle. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time, beating 2 minutes between each addition. Stop when you are about halfway through the sugar. Scrape the bowl and beater. Add the vanilla and 2 tbsp of the cream. Beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Mix in remaining sugar. If it starts to get too dry, add a little more cream, 1 tbsp at a time, beating until creamy. Add remaining sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Adjust the thickness with additional cream.
- If you are piping the frosting, you want it thick enough to hold the piping design. To tell if it is at the right consistency, take a spoonful and hold it upside down. It should stay on the spoon. Try to shake it off, and if it hangs on and needs a vigorous shaking to get it to fall, it is perfect!
- If you want, you can mix in food coloring (preferably gel or powder form). For more than one color, separate the frosting into individual bowls and color each bowl of frosting independently.
- Decorate the Cupcakes: You can spread the
frosting with a knife if you want to add sprinkles or other decorations, or use a piping bag for a fancier presentation. A round or closed star tip will create beautiful decorations. For fantastic videos on how to use different piping techniques tune into CakesbyLynz’s YouTube channel.
She will walk you through four different ways to decorate your cupcakes like a pro!
- Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or two; refrigerate for longer storage.
Recipe found at www.theheritagecook.com
Cupcakes adapted from a recipe in Nancie McDermott’s Southern Cakes Cookbook.
Frosting adapted from Ashlyn of Belle of the Kitchen
You can adjust any recipe to gluten-free by using 120 grams per cup of my favorite gluten-free flour blend. If you are using another brand of gluten-free flour, whisk the mix, spoon it lightly into a measuring cup until mounded, level off the top with a straight edge, and weigh the flour left in the cup. Use that weight as your standard per cup of that specific flour. Do this for each flour blend you use. Commercial blends such as Pamela's, Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1, or King Arthur Measure for Measure are all good choices.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 170Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 155mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 3g
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is calculated by online tools and is merely an estimate.
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