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OLIVE OIL CUPCAKES WITH PISTACHIOS AND RICOTTA FROSTING 

A favorite treat for honoring special occasions here at Spirit Rock, these cupcakes are wholesome and delicious. A few secrets to make these as good as can be: use the best olive oil you can get (we like Seka Hills Olive Oil produced by the Yoche Dehu Wintun Nation) and buy a fresh, locally produced ricotta (or make your own ahead of time). Enjoy!  —Makes 12 cupcakes

CUPCAKES

3 large eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups toasted pistachios

FROSTING

16 ounces ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

 FOR THE CUPCAKES

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat eggs and sugar at high speed for 30 seconds. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, beat until combined. Add milk, beat just until combined. Reduce speed to low. Beat in extracts.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour and ¾ of a cup of the pistachios to the egg mixture, beating just until combined, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl. Pour into prepared muffin tin.
  4. Bake cupcakes until tops are pale gold and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 24 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Lift the cupcakes from tin, set on a wire rack, and let cool completely before frosting.

FOR THE FROSTING

  1. Fit stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat the ricotta, honey, and vanilla extract at high speed for about 10–15 seconds. Frost the cupcakes using an offset spatula or a cake decorating tip, chop ½ of the toasted pistachios and sprinkle on top of the cupcakes, and decorate with edible flowers, if you like.
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