Lychee Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream or Dedicated to the Missing O’Malley

If I bake too many sweets (always) then I can (hopefully always) rely on the O’Malleys to bring their unique brand of amazing round my house and eat.  After a massive city hike in San Francisco, that involved the pier, Boudain, Ghiradelli Square, a cable car ride, and the cable car museum we found ourselves in Chinatown…with a good mile still to go to our car.  It was hard for me to care when I saw the 2 pound bags of lychees falling out of their crates for $1.99!!  I LOVE lychee.  If however it is a new fruit to you allow me to introduce you a little.  It is soft white, fresh, sweet and a little citrusy.  But only a little!  It is above all delicious.  So after eating HALF the bag I bought, while watching a movie I decided MAYBE I had had enough fresh lychee and MAYBE I should try to make something with the rest.

I looked at drink recipes, salads, meat dishes, etc.  A pork chop glazed in cinnamon and lychee almost had me, until I gave the glaze a second look and realized….um, CUPCAKES!!!

So I took the base of the ginger muffins that I had recently made from Orangette, swapped the sugars and added chopped delicious fresh lychee and it’s juices.  Then topped it with a less sugar MORE SPICE cinnamon buttercream frosting.  They lasted two days, and only because I had to save some for the O’Malleys.  Sadly, a crucial member to the O’Malley clan remains up north, and because she couldn’t have one.  I am dedicating this recipe to her.

Lychee + Cinnamon Buttercream with Toasted Almonds

Cake

8oz lychee chopped

1/4 cup cane sugar

1/4 cup coconut sugar

8 tbsp butter

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking soda

Frosting

8oz butter

8oz cream cheese

2 cups powdered sugar

5 tbsp cinnamon

Toasted Almonds

Set oven to 375.  Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or mix by hand). Beat the butter for a second or two, then add the sugars, and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, beat well. Add the buttermilk, beat until blended. Add the flour, sea salt, and baking soda, and beat just until smooth.  Fold in the Lychee.  Pour into muffin tin with paper liners.  Bake for 25-30 mins or until tester comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to completely cool on rack.

While cupcakes are baking, in a bowl using a hand mixer/stand mixer cream butter and cream cheese together.  Add confectioners sugar, mix.  Add cinnamon, mix.  Continue adding cinnamon to your taste if you like, the amount I used gave them a slight bite which was delicious.  Chill covered in the fridge till cupcakes are ready.  Frost cupcakes, top with toasted almonds and dash of cinnamon.

Note: Previously 350 top rack toast nuts 10 mins.  I buy bulk, toast and keep in containers in the freezer.  This keeps them fresh longer as well as releasing their maximum taste.  Plus then they are always on hand for ANYTHING!

Elaine, please make these.  Feed the babe one and make sure I get another smash picture.  We all want it. Nay, need it.
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