Amaretto Easter Cupcakes and Crystallised Flowers

4 Star, Cupcakes, Easter | 28th April 2011 | By

There were so many influences here, I’ve rather lost track of them all. Kath started me off with her crystallised violets. It all came flooding back, how I used to crystallise primroses every Easter when I was young. I haven’t done it for many years, but with Easter fast approaching, some holiday, a bit of nostalgia and with enthusiasm renewed, I wanted to try these again.

Then I saw the recipe for Paul A Young’s Simnel Brownies and I knew I would be making those in the not too distant future. But, having set my mind on using flowers, brownies didn’t seem quite the thing. They would, in fact, have been an ideal entry for the April We Should Cocoa, but I already had the Battenberg in mind for that. However, the simnel idea stuck – hummm, cupcakes would make a good show for crystallised flowers. I could add marzipan in the middle and maybe use some raisins. OK, what to soak the raisins in? Well, that was a no brainer, with the almond marzipan theme, it had to be amaretto. I then saw Carl’s lovely hidden hearts, which made me think, rather than just adding chunks of marzipan, I could roll it out and use a smallish cutter to fit the cupcakes exactly. Dan Lepard also played his part, by piping crosses onto some of his Easter cupcakes. Peggy of Fake It ‘Til You Make It very kindly sent me a wadge of disposable piping bags after I broke the reusable one I got for Christmas on the very first attempt – making macaroons. So thanks to Peggy, I thought I’d try Dan’s crosses.

So, this is what I actually did:

  • Went to the local art shop to buy myself a paintbrush.
  • Beat a duck egg white (leftover from making marzipan) briefly in a small bowl.
  • Put a couple of spoonfuls of caster sugar in another small bowl.
  • Gathered some primroses, a violet and a pansy from my garden (not many violets or pansy’s and didn’t want to denude the plants) – it’s important that if using flowers they are clean, ie have not been sprayed or been where dogs or motorised vehicles could have polluted them.
  • Held the flowers by the stem and painted the tops and undersides with egg white.
  • As soon as flower had been painted, dipped it in the sugar and sprinkled more over as needed with a teaspoon. Shook off the access then laid them down on a tray lined with baking paper to dry, cutting off the stem as I did so.
  • Left to dry over night, then put into an airtight tin until ready to use.
  • Soaked 60g raisins in 2 tbsp amaretto overnight.
  • Melted 100g 85% dark chocolate
  • Creamed 125g unsalted butter with 125g molasses sugar until pale and fluffy (the weather being so warm, I had no problems with hard butter for a change).
  • Beat in 2 duck eggs.
  • Sieved in 125g flour (1/2 wholemeal spelt, 1/2 white), 1 heaped tbsp cocoa, a pinch of Himalayan pink salt and 1 tsp baking powder.
  • Stirred in about 1/3 of the melted chocolate and 1 tbsp Greek yogurt (0% fat).
  • Mixed in the raisins and ameretto.
  • Spooned half the mixture into 12 cupcake cases.
  • Rolled out about 150g marzipan and used a 5cm circular cutter to stamp out rounds.
  • Placed circles over the cupcake mixture, then covered with the remaining mixture.
  • Baked at 180C for 17 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.
  • Added about 50g unsalted butter to the remaining melted chocolate.
  • Beat in 50g icing sugar until all smooth and incorporated.
  • Stirred in 2 tbsp amaretto.
  • Attempted to pipe crosses onto the cakes, but only managed one before my nozzle fell out of the bag.
  • Gave up on that idea and spread on with a palate knife.
  • Placed a crystallised flower in the top of each cake.

These featured at another Easter tea eaten in a Cornish garden as well as on the Easter platters. The primroses were delicious, they had a very subtle but distinctive floral taste as well as a rather unexpected crunch. As a flavour combination, these ingredients worked really well together. The amaretto just enhanced the marzipan flavour and the alcohol soaked raisins added another level of richness with the chocolate bringing it all together very nicely. The cakes were moist and truffle like and rather filling – nothing wrong with that of course. The chocolate topping gave yet another dimension and unusually for me, was just the right consistency. The piping I have yet to master.


I am entering these for Julia Parsons annual Easter Cake Bake – a mouth watering feast for the eye, if ever there was one. You can see all the entries there from previous years, although this year’s round up has yet to be posted. In fact you still have three days left to enter if you feel so inspired. 


  1. Leave a Reply

    Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane
    28th April 2011

    These crosses are very beautiful! Like the sound of soaking the raisins in amaretto. It looks like quite a complicated process but it looks worth it 🙂

  2. Leave a Reply

    28th April 2011

    OMG amaretto and chocolate plus flowers, gorgeous! My mum has a thing about eating flowers and since I was quite young was always dotting her salads with nasturtiums and other assorted edible flowers. Crystalised flowers are so pretty. Great job there.

  3. Leave a Reply

    28th April 2011

    Choc, these are soooo pretty! You’ve certainly been busy this Easter – I love seeing three posts filled with luscious looking chocolate and candy coloured goodies! The nests look particularly yummy – must see if I can find some of those cute eggs next year…

  4. Leave a Reply

    Mostly About Chocolate Blog
    29th April 2011

    These look stunningly gorgeous and now I wish I had flowers growing but I really don’t know if it’d work as well for me. Yours look more beautiful than anything I bake ever turns out 🙂

  5. Leave a Reply

    Johanna GGG
    30th April 2011

    how clever – just the sort of piping I want to do and I love your flowers and the marzipan hearts – after trying some marzipan in choc chip cookies I am sure I would love these

  6. Leave a Reply

    30th April 2011

    So delicate! Perfect looking cupcakes Choclette ;0)

  7. Leave a Reply

    1st May 2011

    Choclette I think these muffins look beauty and perfect, x gloria

  8. Leave a Reply

    1st May 2011

    Suelle – thank you. I’m pleased to say they did get a few accolades.

    Maria – thank you.

    Joanna – it’s really not that difficult. As you know, I’m not into faffy, but I would quite happily do the flowers again.

    Xinmei – the amaretto soaked raisins were rather scrummy and these weren’t nearly as complicated to make as the Battenberg.

    Janice – thank you. If there are any to be had, we also use flowers on our salads – it makes them so pretty.

    Celia – Thank you. I would have said Easter is a good time for chocolate, but as you know pretty much any time is a good time for chocolate on my blog and yours 😉

    Suman – thank you.

    MCB – thank you, I don’t always manage pretty, so it’s particularly good when I do.

    Mostly About Choc – Thank you for the compliment, but I’m sure that’s not in the least bit true. The flowers aren’t at all difficult to do, just take a bit of time.

    Johannaa – I’m sure you would like them, they were rather good, though I say so myself :-S As for the piping, I only managed the one!

    Chele – that is a complement indeed coming from you. Thank you.

    Gloria – thank you, you’re very kind.

  9. Leave a Reply

    2nd May 2011

    Finally Blogger will allow me to comment on your site again, I seem to have been having some issue with Google. I absolutely adore the flowers and the cupcakes have my favourite things in them with chocolate, marzipan and Amaretto. I have said it before and I will say it again – lucky old CT. x

  10. Leave a Reply

    3rd May 2011

    CityHippy – thank you. Both flowers and raisins are a winner.

    Kath – glad you saw the flowers. You were the inspiration after all. And CT gets tubbier by the week 😉

  11. Leave a Reply

    James B
    17th May 2011

    Thanks for putting how to crystalize flowers.

  12. Leave a Reply

    17th May 2011

    Ananda – hope you give these a try – the flowers are well worth it.

    Mostly About Choc – OK point taken, but I’ve still seen some nice looking baking on your blog.

    James B – you’re welcome. Are you going to give them a try?

  13. Leave a Reply

    17th May 2011

    these sound so yummy. I will try them soon.
    From one Polish girl to another..dobrze zjeść

    • Leave a Reply

      9th February 2013

      Thank you Jayne. I think I might have to try them again – just to make sure 😉

    • Leave a Reply

      9th February 2013

      Thanks Maya. Art and I generally don’t get on, so I’m pleased you like them 🙂

  14. Leave a Reply

    Dee Johnson
    11th March 2013

    They look totally delish. I would love to have a try at these. I would love to be able to bake good but for some reason nothing ever turns out as it is meant to. Will give it a good go though. Thanks.

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