I love to cook, bake, and share my favorite recipes. Food brings our families together to talk, celebrate, and create memories.
If You Love Marzipan, These Are the Cupcakes for You!
My son hates cake. While that isn't much of a problem in the grand scheme of life, it does create a dilemma for me once a year when his birthday rolls around. After many years of experimenting with birthday pies, birthday banana splits, birthday parfaits, birthday brownies, and even birthday tiramisu, I've finally found the perfect tasty treats for his annual celebration. I've affectionately dubbed them Max's Amazing Marzipan and Cherry Cupcakes in honor of my son.
What Is Marzipan?
Marzipan is a delicious delicacy – a super sweet creamy paste of ground almonds and sugar – relished by people around the world. While not nearly as popular in the United States as in many other countries, it adds that extra something special to holiday celebrations and other significant events. Because it's pliable, marzipan is ideal for molding into whatever shape suits the occasion. Because it's white, it's perfect to dye in a wide variety of hues. Marzipan – in its charming shapes and dazzling colors – elevates any event, making it more extravagant and memorable.
In Norway they have marzipan-shaped pigs at Christmas and marzipan-shaped eggs at Easter. At Christmas time in Germany, they exchange Marzipanbrot, shaped like a loaf of bread, and Marzipankartoffeln, shaped like little potatoes. During the Christmas season in Italy, it's popular to indulge in fruit-shaped marzipan that has been brightly painted with food coloring. In the United Kingdom, pastry chefs roll marzipan into thin sheets, glaze it, and place it like fondant on wedding cakes, fruit cakes, and Christmas cakes.
While some people use marzipan and almond paste interchangeably, there is a significant difference between the two in flavor and texture. Therefore, bakers should not substitute one for the other. Marzipan is sweeter and smoother than almond paste. Many people eat it as is like candy. Almond paste – less sweet and coarser – is typically used as an ingredient in baked goods such as pies, cakes, and cookies. In fact, almond paste is often used as an ingredient for making marzipan!
Eat it from the box or mold it into shapes!
Buy It or Make Your Own!
Marzipan is available at most supermarkets in the baking aisle. World Market is a wonderful source for plain marzipan, chocolate-covered marzipan, and at Christmas, fruit and animal shaped marzipan. Another option is to make your own. Here's how:
7 ounces almond paste
1-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons corn syrup
- Put almond paste in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer.
- Gradually add sugar and beat until it looks like coarse bread crumbs.
- Add corn syrup and mix well.
- Put mixture on a clean surface and knead until it becomes a smooth dough.
Max's Amazing Marzipan and Cherry Cupcakes
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Assemble the Ingredients
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1-1/2 cups flour
- 2/3-cup almond pieces
- 1 can cherry pie filling
- 7 ounces Odense marzipan, cut into little pieces
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3-1/3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
12 Paper Liners Ready to Fill!
Let's Get Started!
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place 12 paper liners in a cupcake pan.
- Beat the butter and granulated sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time.
- Fold in the flour, the almond pieces, and most of the cherry pie filling (save a little to top the cupcakes).
- Fill paper liners halfway with mixture. Sprinkle marzipan pieces on top. Cover with the remaining mixture.
- Bake in preheated oven for 18 minutes until risen. Insert toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, they're done.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- While cooling, make the glaze. Put lemon juice and confectioners' sugar in a bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon on cooled cupcakes and top with cherry pie filling. YUM!
Beat the Sugar and Butter Together. Add Eggs, One at a Time.
While the Cupcakes Cool, Make the Glaze.
The Finished Product: Dense and Delicious!
What Do You Think of Max's Amazing Marzipan and Cherry Cupcakes?
Fun and Fabulous Facts About Marzipan
- There is debate among food historians about marzipan's origin. Some say China. Some say the Middle East, specifically Persia (present-day Iran). Still others give Spain the credit.
- In Norway, Denmark, and Germany, people give marzipan pigs to one another at Christmas and the New Year. The pig, a symbol of good luck, is given to wish prosperity and happiness in the new year.
- Because almonds and sugar cane were rare and expensive, marzipan was a treat reserved for the privileged classes for many centuries. With modern sugar processing methods, marzipan began a treat for everyday folks in the 1950's.
- Lubeck, Germany is known for its world-class marzipan. The Niederegger chocolate factory there has become famous for producing marzipan-filled chocolate candies with a secret family recipe.
- January 12th is National Marzipan Day.
- In some countries, apricot and peach kernels or cashews offer a lower-cost alternative to almonds when making marzipan.
How to Make Marzipan Fruit
In Closing, What Do You Think of Marzipan?
Use almond paste to make marzipan and other yummy treats!
Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on September 26, 2015:
I love marzipan. I love cherries. I love cupcakes. I'm sure I'm going to love this recipe. Thanks for sharing.
wiserworld on September 25, 2015:
The first recipe looks like one we'll have to try. Thanks for sharing!
McKenna Meyers (author) on September 25, 2015:
I forgot to mention that our dog, Domino, ate 9 of the 12 cupcakes that were cooling on the counter, waiting to get glazed. I had to make them all over again the next day. It's safe to say now that marzipan is not harmful to dogs!
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 25, 2015:
Well tell Max thank you for sharing the recipe with us. It looks delicious and I'll definitely try it soon. Have a great weekend!