Monday, June 27, 2016

Almond Cupcakes with Fresh Cherry Buttercream

I almost don't have words for these little gems of cupcake glory.  It all started with some beautiful local cherries.  I ate a bunch of them and then forgot were in the fridge. I was going to make some sort of pie but then I got to thinking about how pretty they would be in buttercream.  After a little creative inter-webbing (trying to get that to be a thing like "Fetch," thanks Gretchen Wiener) I saw a recipe for Almond Cupcakes with Cherry Buttercream from and knew exactly how the cherries would spend their last moments.  

The cupcakes are light and moist with just a hint of almond.  The original recipe uses quite a bit (in my opinion) of almond extract.  I equate almond extract with lighter fluid - use a little you can barely taste it, use too much and it is basically an inedible mess up in flames.  I use equal parts almond extract and pure vanilla. They balance each other really nicely without the overpowering almond flavor.  I kind of think they are the perfect birthday cupcake.  I also used coconut milk instead of buttermilk.  Mostly, because I didn't have buttermilk and I thought if you got a little taste of coconut, it could be lovely.  I couldn't taste it and it was lovely anyway.

Now for the buttercream.  While the cupcakes are cooling, pit the cherries. What a pain!  Oh wait, I have a Tovolo Cherry Pitter!  That was a slightly shameless product plug but seriously, without it I probably wouldn't bake anything with cherries.  

The Tovolo Cherry Pitter is really simple to use and you can pit up to 7 cherries at a time.  It pits cherries really cleanly without losing too much of the fruit. As a bonus, you don't get juice everywhere or stain your fingers.  

Let's move onto the important subject - buttercream.  Now that your cherries are beautifully pitted, chop them pretty finely.  You want to end up with about 1 cup of chopped cherries.  I started out kind of rough cutting them but then I realized that if the pieces are too large it would be abrupt interruption to a mouthful of this smooth and subtle cherry buttercream.  I love the way the buttercream came together and then when you add the cherries, it was one of the most beautiful colors I have ever seen.  A perfectly cherry studded shade of pink.  Cherry perfection!

Who needs food coloring?

Almond Cupcakes with Fresh Cherry Buttercream
adapted from
Serves: 18 cupcakes
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coconut milk - full fat
Fresh Cherry Frosting:
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3½ cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and finely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 18- muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and mix to combine.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl in between additions. Beat in the almond extract. Add one-third of the flour mixture, beat to combine, then half of the coconut milk. Add another one-third of the flour, the remaining coconut milk, then the remaining flour. Beat just until combined.
  4. Fill the cupcake liners about ⅔ full of the batter. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time, mixing until completely combined. Beat in the salt and the extracts, then turn the mixer to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the cherries and any juices that may have accumulated. Beat on low until combined, then turn to medium-high and beat an additional 2-3 minutes. The frosting should be light and creamy and smooth.
  6. Pipe the frosting on the cupcakes. Top with an additional cherry, if desired. (Toasted Coconut is really nice too)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Tovolo's New Strawberry Huller

All Strawberry Hullers are not created equal.

As with most things here at Tovolo, we start with the problem and find the solution.  So you want to get the core out of strawberry?  What is the best way to do that without losing too much of the fruit? How about without potentially losing the tip of your finger?  What is the simplest way?  Is the solution easy to clean?  

So glad you asked!  We created a small stainless steel tube just about the size of a strawberry hull. On the one end is a comfortable handle to give you a little extra grip.  One the other end is, well it is open so that when you push up from the bottom or tip end of the strawberry the tube contains the whole hull.  You then just simply pull the leaves and hull from the tube and slide the strawberry right off!  Easy peasy!  As you can see from the above picture, you are left with a perfectly hulled strawberry.  These are PERFECT to put onto a straw and garnish your favorite cocktail or milkshake.  It also makes really quick work when you are baking and have to hull a pint or more of strawberries.  

When the work is all done.  It easily can be rinsed clean and go in your dishwasher.  

What should I do with all of those hulled strawberries now?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Strawberry Black Pepper Ice Cream

Whahoo!  Homemade Ice Cream!  To be more specific, Homemade Strawberry Black Pepper Ice Cream!  Be still my heart!  Cold, slightly sweet, slightly spicy, lusciously creamy with big (but bite-able) chunks of fresh strawberries - Oh Yea!  (That's meant to be a Barry White type of Ohhhh Yeeaaa!)

In season, strawberries are unbeatable!  Here in Washington, we have little super sweet strawberries from the Skagit Valley that remind me of the strawberries I would eat out of my mother's garden on hot summer days!  They are fragrant, deep red, and taste like strawberries!  I know that sounds dumb but I dare you to take one of those giant, conventionally grown strawberries, and then take an organic, as local as you can get, strawberry let them get room temperature then I DARE you to tell me there is not a WORLD of difference in the way they taste.  I feel confident that you will never look at one of those giant strawberries from the grocery store in the same way again.  

Ok, big step down from my soapbox.  Now, let's talk ice cream.  I love this recipe because it has you blend some of the strawberry mixture and cream together in a blender.  This really creates a creamier ice cream.  You are basically making a loose whipped cream and folding in the rest of the strawberry mixture.  Then when you add it to your ice cream maker some of the blending is already done.  The result is a super smooth and creamy texture with fantastic fresh strawberry flavor.  Summer Perfection. 

YIELD: Makes about 1 1/2 quarts
adapted from


  • 1 pound strawberries, trimmed, halved if large
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of crushed black pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Equipment: an ice cream maker
Coarsely mash strawberries with sugar, lemon juice, salt and pepper using a potato masher in a large bowl. Let stand, stirring and mashing occasionally, 10 minutes.
Transfer half of strawberry mixture to a blender and purée with cream until smooth. (This is an AWESOME tip - just don't over blend because you are making whipped cream at that point) Return strawberry cream to bowl with remaining strawberry mixture and stir.  Then add all of it to your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions.  Once you have ice cream, take a BIG Spoonful - for safety of course and transfer to Tovolo Glide A Scoop, put in the freezer until firm about 3 to 6 hours.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Mango Yogurt Yeti Pops!

Yeti Pops make me happy.  We released 8 new Pop designs this year and although I change my mind consistently as to my favorite I always seem to come back to the Yetis.  They make me smile every time I see them.  

Pops are easy to make.  There is no limit to Popsicle creativity.  If you doubt this, go to Pinterest and type in Popsicle recipes - unbelievable!  

These are crazy simple to make.  Greek yogurt, frozen mango pieces, and a little coconut milk, blend and done.  I used 1/3 cup of Ellenos Greek Yogurt, 1/2 cups frozen mango pieces, and a splash of coconut milk.  Blend ingredients together and pour into Tovolo Pop Molds.  This will make 8 pops.

Please post your favorite Popsicle recipe in the comments or send us an email at  We would love to add them to our recipe library.
To see all Tovolo Pop Mold designs, please visit: