Chocolate Almond Cloudberry Cupcakes are made extra moist with almond flour, filled with tart cloudberry preserves, and topped with a whipped coconut milk ganache. Gluten and dairy-free!Jump to Recipe
I have made A LOT of chocolate cupcakes throughout my time as a pastry chef, but this recipe is truly a standout. I first created these for a family birthday celebration that called for a medley of dietary needs. No one would have guessed that these cupcakes did not contain gluten or dairy. They are just that good! The surprising addition of cloudberry preserves adds just the right amount of tartness to balance the dark chocolate.
Use fine almond flour rather than almond “meal”, which can be coarser in texture. My favorite is Anthony’s Goods Premium California Blanched Almond Flour.
A “dutched” cocoa powder is ideal for this recipe. Dutch process cocoa powder is washed with a potassium carbonate solution that neutralizes the cocoa’s acidity to a pH of 7. All cocoa powders can vary in color from light reddish brown to a richer dark brown, but the Dutch process gives the powder a deeper hue. Dutch process cocoa has a more mellow flavor due to the lower acidity. This also means that it does not react with alkaline leaveners like baking soda to produce carbon dioxide in the baking process. This recipe for Chocolate Almond Cupcakes uses baking powder as a leavener, which has a neutral pH.
For extra richness, I use a bit of espresso powder plus vanilla and almond extracts to play up the dark chocolate flavor.
Maple syrup adds sweetness to the cupcakes and the fat is virgin coconut oil. If you want to avoid any hint of coconut flavor, canola oil is a suitable and very Swedish substitute. Applesauce adds extra moisture and eggs bind and leaven the mixture.
The Process for making Chocolate Almond Cloudberry Cupcakes:
What I love about these cupcakes is the ease with which they are made. Dump all of the dry ingredients into a food processor to blend.
Next add the eggs, oil, maple syrup, and extracts.
Blend everything until perfectly smooth.
Fill cupcake papers using an ice cream scoop like the one below. This ensures an even amount of batter for each cupcake.
Each paper should be about 1/2 full.
Bake the cupcakes for about 15 minutes, taking care not to over bake as they can easily burn.
Adding a filling to these Chocolate Almond Cupcakes isn’t necessary, but it sure is delicious! I am a huge fan of cloudberry preserves. Cloudberries, or “Hjortron,” grow in mountainous bogs in northern Sweden and Norway. They are a lovely bright orange when ripe, with luscious tartness. In jam form, the chewy seeds are a perfect foil for the rich softness of the cupcakes. Cloudberry preserves can be found in specialty stores or online (like the Lars brand). If you have an IKEA nearby, pick up several jars like the one below!
The easiest way to fill the cupcakes is by using a pastry bag fitted with a star or round tip wide enough to allow the jam to pass through.
Fill your bag with some of the preserves and then use the tip to poke a hole into the top of each cupcake. Slowly and gently squeeze about a tablespoon of jam into the centers.
Here is a little bit of cloudberry beauty peeking out the tops.
Making the Whipped Coconut Milk Ganache:
Melt together the dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate, coconut oil, and coconut milk. Use canned, full-fat coconut milk and not a coconut milk beverage. The results will not be the same. I find it easiest to melt these ingredients together on medium power in a microwave, but a double boiler will also work.
Once melted, whisk the mixture until smooth, taking care not to overheat and scorch the chocolate.
Cool the melted ganache enough to allow it to be whipped, but not so much that it hardens. The easiest way to do this is by placing the bowl into a refrigerator, then removing it every 5 minutes to whisk the ganache until starting to thicken (this will take 15-20 minutes depending on how warm your mixture was). Whisk the thickened ganache by hand until a spreading consistency is achieved (you could also use a hand-held mixer).
Use a piping bag and tip of your choice to pipe a small amount of the ganache on top of each cupcake. The ganache is quite rich, so you don’t need much!
I like to finish the Chocolate Almond Cloudberry Cupcakes with a few chocolate shavings, sliced almonds or sprinkles for a decorative effect. Here you can see a gorgeous cross-section:
Store the Chocolate Almond Cloudberry Cupcakes under refrigeration in a tightly sealed container to keep them moist and fresh. Leave the cupcakes out at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before serving to allow the ganache to soften up and the flavors really come out.
Chocolate Almond Cloudberry Cupcakes
- Pastry bag and piping tip
- Ice cream scoop
For the Cupcakes:
- ¾ cup Dutched cocoa powder
- ¾ cup fine blanched almond flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- ⅔ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
For the filling:
- ½ cup Cloudberry, apricot or raspberry preserves
For the Whipped Ganache:
- 1 cup dark chocolate, chips or chopped (60-70% cacao)
- ¼ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup full-fat canned coconut milk
For the Cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350° and line a muffin tin with cupcake papers.
- Combine cocoa powder, almond flour, baking powder, espresso powder and sea salt in a food processor. Blend to combine.
- Add eggs, maple syrup, applesauce, coconut oil and extracts to the dry mixture in the processor. Blend until smooth, scraping down the bowl once or twice.
- Use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter between the 12 papers (you may have a little extra batter which can be baked in a separate pan).
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cupcakes have a "springy" texture.
- Cool on a rack and carefully remove from the tin to cool completely.
Filling the Cupcakes:
- Place the preserves in a pastry bag fitted with a large star or round tip. Use the tip to pierce a hole in the top of a cupcake and squeeze gently and slowly to fill with about 1 tablespoon of preserves. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.
For the Whipped Ganache:
- Melt together the chocolate, coconut oil and coconut milk in a heat-proof bowl that will allow room for whisking the mixture (use a microwave on medium heat or a double boiler).
- Whisk the ganache mixture until smooth.
- Place the bowl in a refrigerator and whisk every 5 minutes until starting to cool and thicken but not harden.
- Whisk the ganache to spreading/piping consistency by hand or with a hand-held mixer.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe rosettes of ganache on the top of each cupcake. Alternatively, spread a some of the ganache on top by hand.
- Finish the cupcakes with chocolate shavings, sliced almonds or sprinkles, if desired.
Tips for Success:
- Be sure to use a “dutched” cocoa powder in this recipe.
- If coconut isn’t your thing, canola oil is a nice substitution for coconut oil in the cupcakes, and a very Swedish ingredient! Butter and heavy cream may be substituted for the coconut oil and coconut milk in the ganache.
- Using a jam filling in these cupcakes is delicious, but not necessary. They are also delicious in straight chocolate form!
- If your ganache becomes hard before you are able to whisk it for piping/spreading then simply re-warm it a bit to melt and start again.
- Left-over cupcakes may be stored in the refrigerator in a container for several days or will also freeze well.