Vanilla Bean & Almond Cupcakes w/ Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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Soft, tender, and light cupcakes flavored with lots of pure vanilla and a hint of almond, topped with a dreamy, silky-smooth raspberry swiss meringue buttercream. A classy dessert for spring and summertime entertaining!

  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 22 minutes
  • Yield: 18 cupcakes* 1x



Roasted Raspberry Purée

  • 5 ounces raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Vanilla Bean & Almond Cupcakes

  • 10 1/8 ounces (2 3/8 cup, spoon and level) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
  • 9 5/8 ounces (1 3/8 cup) vanilla sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 4 3/4 ounces (or 4 large)** egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder)
  • 8 1/2 ounces (1 cup) buttermilk, room temperature

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 5 1/4 ounces (or 5 large) egg whites
  • 8 3/4 ounces (1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
  • 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups or 3 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup roasted raspberry purée
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • sugar pearls, for garnish (optional)


Roasted Raspberry Purée

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Toss raspberries and sugar together in a medium baking dish (I used an 8" square pan). Bake for 10 minutes, or until berries are soft.
  3. Use a fork to gently mash berries, and then transfer to a blender and blend until as smooth as possible. Strain through a cheesecloth to remove solids and allow to cool to room temperature before adding to buttercream.

Vanilla Bean & Almond Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line 18 muffin cups with paper liners (or use standalone muffin cups on a baking sheet).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and add the egg whites gradually, beating each addition in until well-incorporated into the mixture, and wiping down the bowl and beater as needed. Lastly, beat in the vanilla extract, almond extract, and vanilla bean until evenly combined.
  4. With the mixer on lowest speed, add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter in thirds, alternating between each. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Wipe down the bowl and beater as needed during this process and mix just until all ingredients are almost fully incorporated. Finish folding together by hand just until the batter is even.
  5. Divide batter between prepared muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 of the way. Bake cupcakes in preheated oven for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
  6. Cool muffins in pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  1. In a medium-large, heat-safe bowl, whisk together egg whites and sugar. Set over a pot of boiling water and heat, whisking frequently, until mixture reaches 160ºF on an instant-read or candy thermometer.
  2. Immediately transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment and beat on medium-high speed until mixture reaches stiff, glossy peaks and bowl no longer feels warm to the touch (about 10 minutes).
  3. Switch to the paddle attachment and reduce spead to medium. Add butter, a tablespoon or two at a time, beating in each addition until incorporated before adding more, and wiping down bowl and beater as needed. As you go, the mixture will gradually transition into a light, smooth buttercream. If at any point the texture looks odd, don't panic! Increase speed slightly and continue to beat until it comes together smoothly.
  4. Once all of the butter has been added and the frosting is smooth, continue to beat at medium while slowly drizzling in the raspberry purée. Once fully incorporated, add the vanilla bean and almond extract and continue to beat just until everything is evenly combined, wiping down bowl and beater as needed.
  5. Transfer buttercream to a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip (I used Ateco #808) and pipe onto cupcakes. Garnish with sugar pearls.
  6. Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a couple days, or in the refrigerator if you prefer your cupcakes cold.


*I find that standalone muffin cups (like I used here) tend to be a bit smaller than your standard muffin tin, so you may get slightly less than 18 cupcakes if using a muffin tin.

**Technically 4 3/4 ounces equates to about 4 1/2 egg whites, but if you don't want to go through the trouble of measuring out half an egg white, 4 should work just fine!

Vanilla Cake Adapted from Sweetapolita