Cooking Books: Julia, Child and Chocolate Almond Cupcakes Recipe

chocolate almond cupcakes recipe

As a child I was a total bookworm. I remember the excitement of being a kid and piling up 20 books from the library and lugging them home with my mom. We were surrounded by books as children and my favourites were always the ones with beautiful drawings of cakes or pastries or elaborate meals, or pictures of bears dispensing ice cream-like honey, or Cookie Monster ravaging a plate piled high of pink cookies. Later, when picture books morphed into junior novels then regular old booky books, it was always the pages-long descriptions of what was laid on the table at supper, from starched tablecloth to the shine of silverware to the clinking of crystal to the glugging of glasses being filled to sloshing. Now, as a mother myself, I see what a cool move that was of my mom to get us into reading! It’s that love of books that I see thusfar in my two year old son. Reading time mellows him right down as he immediately gets engrossed, points to things, practices his words, asks questions and laughs.

Julia, Child children's book chocolate almond cupcakes recipe

This book! Julia, Child by Kiyo Maclear and illustrations by Vancouver artist Julie Morstad – it’s all the things I remember loving about reading, all rolled into one beautifully illustrated book about friendship, the magic of childhood, trying, failing and trying again – and cooking, of course! Teddy loves the book too – especially the page of cooking disasters – a flopping over tiered cake, an escaping octopus, a deflated omelette! Then, a magical baking experiment – chocolate almond cupcakes with delicious chocolate centers. Those cupcakes inspired me to make some of my own! I came up with a chocolate almond cupcakes recipe thanks to both Julia Child herself and that devilishly sensuous Nigella.

chocolate almond cupcakes recipe

My sweet memories of children’s books likely explains my love for my friend Danielle’s blog – This Picture Book Life! Her blog is so sweet, clever and fun – a blog that “explores picture books—their art, their makers, the stuff they illuminate, and all the exuberant wonderfulness they contain.” In a blogosphere stuffed with craft/DIY/food blogs (ha – all my faves) – her blog is refreshingly genuine and heartfelt. I’ve found lots of great new authors through it, and today she’s posting about Julia, Child too! Sweet!

chocolate almond cupcakes recipe

I admit my kitchen looked very similar to Julia and Simca’s kitchen while I was making these cupcakes. Pots and pans flying everywhere, chopped chocolate, egg shells strewn on the counter, piles of bowls, and drips of batter on the floor. It was childlike chaos, and I laughed at the similarities. In the end however, out of the oven came these delicate, totally sunken in chocolate almond cupcakes, with a rich chocolate gooey texture. I filled the centers with chocolate pastry cream, sprinkled them with toasted almonds and dug right in, like a delighted child. The recipe is gluten-free, using almond flour (ground almonds). The cupcakes are very fragile, and best served with a spoon on a fancy plate.

Illustrations from Julia, Child by Kiyo Maclear and Julie Morstad

Chocolate Almond Cupcakes With Chocolate Pastry Cream

2 dozen cupcakes

For The Cupcakes

  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of dutch process cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups almond meal
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs

For The Chocolate Pastry Cream

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ tablespoon flour
  • ¾ tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup chopped dark chocolate

For The Almonds

  • ¼ cup toasted almonds, chopped

Make The Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Gently oil the top of the cupcake pans and line cupcake pans with cupcake liners. 

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk cocoa powder with the boiling water until you have a smooth, thick and creamy chocolate paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
  2. In another small bowl, combine the almond meal with the baking soda and salt.
  3. Place the sugar, oil and eggs into the bowl of stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on high until thick and creamy, about three minutes.
  4. With the mixer on low, add the chocolate mixture until combined.
  5. Add the almond flour mixture until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl, about one minute.
  6. Using a medium sized ice cream scoop, dole out the cake mixture and fill the cupcake liners just over half full.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes – cupcakes will rise, and fall again.
  8. Let them cool in the pans.


Make The Chocolate Pastry Cream

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, flour and cornstarch.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a low boil.
  3. Whisk half of the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then add the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk.
  4. Cook the pastry cream over medium heat, whisking constantly until thick – about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Remove the pastry cream from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. The chocolate will melt into the hot pastry cream. Whisk to combine.
  6. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and power-chill in the freezer for 30 minutes, or let cool in the fridge for 2 hours to set.
  7. Dollop two tablespoons of chocolate pastry cream into the sunken chocolate almond cupcakes.
  8. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and finish with a fresh berry.

Toast The Almonds

  1. Place almonds on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes (watch they don’t burn!) Let cool until crispy, then chop.

chocolate almond cupcakes recipe

Do you have a favourite children’s book from your childhood, or one your child loves now? I’d love to hear! Happy baking, everyone! xo Lyndsay 

Image from Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear. Text copyright © 2014 by Kyo Maclear, Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Julie Morstad. Reprinted by permission of Tundra Books, a division of Random House of Canada, a Penguin Random House company. All rights reserved.

10 Responses to “Cooking Books: Julia, Child and Chocolate Almond Cupcakes Recipe”

  1. julia, child picture book + chocolate almond cupcakes by coco cake land - This Picture Book Life

    […] Check out the whole post with more photos to admire over at Coco Cake Land! […]

  2. Natasha

    These cupcakes are so darling, and I love the little plates you put them on!

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      thank you , natasha! they’re vintage from my grandma’s old collection! xo

  3. Sara @ Cake Over Steak

    This post makes my heart melt! First of all these cupcakes look TO DIE FOR, but also I’m such a fan of children’s books and this one looks so lovely. I should really get a copy. I had always wanted to be a children’s book illustrator, and maybe I still will be one day. Who knows.

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      SARA! yes yes of course you should do children’s books!! eeks! you have all the skills – what an amazing job it would be for you!! thank you for the sweet comment too, friend! xo

  4. danielle @ this picture books life

    This is just about the best thing ever. Thanks so much for teaming up to cook the book, Lyndsay! And I agree, those plates are darling.

  5. ATasteOfMadness

    I haven’t made cupcakes in forever. Yours look amazing :)

  6. Sylwia

    heeey! you + your pictures = sweetness (!)

  7. Jessica

    Thrilled to see this post…my daughter was gifted Julia, Child a little while ago for her 2nd birthday, and we read it every day! And those cupcakes of yours…divine as always!

  8. 3 picture books: Kyo Maclear - This Picture Book Life

    […] You may also be interested in my post on Kyo Maclear’s recent picture book, Julia, Child, illustrated by Julie Morstad. It includes a chocolate almond cupcake recipe from Coco Cake Land! […]


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