Lemon Amaretto Cupcakes

Tuesday 19 January 2021

I am sharing a delicious amaretto cupcakes recipe with you today! Not only are they amaretto cupcakes, but  they are lemon amaretto cupcakes, as well as being totally gluten free!

These are fabulous little moist almond cakes, topped with an amaretto syrup drizzle while they are still warm. This syrup soaks into the warm cakes, which are then finished off with a lemon drizzle icing and a smattering of toasted flaked almonds.

It is not very often that I have baked a gluten free type of cake recipe which I am totally pleased with. These are an exception.

Normally when I bake gluten free things I end up feeling really happy that I am not gluten intolerant.  I find most baked goods without flour have a wierd consistency and leave a feeling in my mouth that I don't really enjoy.

However, if I was gluten intolerant I know I would be most grateful for being able to eat baked goods of any kind! To top it all off, gluten free goodies are also incredibly expensive! 
Its a shame really. Its like punishing someone for having a condition they can't help having. Its not like they made themselves gluten intolerate after all.

These cupcakes are beautiful despite being gluten free.  They are moist and delicious with a lovely texture which I really enjoy.  I adapted the recipe from one that I found in a cookbook by Hannah Miles, entitled The Gluten Free Baker.

For those of you not familiar with Hannah, she was the first runner-up in the British version of Master-Chef in 2007.  She is a fabulous baker and has written many books on the subject. 

Throughout the competition her cakes were outstanding, along with everything else. I love her vibrant style and have always enjoyed every recipe of hers that I have ever cooked, or baked for that matter.

Amaretto is a sweet almond flavoured liqueur.  It comes from Saronno in Italy.  It is created using  apricot kernels, peach stones, bitter almonds or almonds, which are all natural sources of benzaldehyde. It is this which gives it its unique almond flavour.

I don't drink alcohol myself, but I am not adverse to using it in cooking. To that end I always keep an assortment of liqueurs in my larder.  I just buy the small sample sized ones as I never need much more than a few tablespoons of it at a time.

If you don't have amaretto you can substitute 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of almond extract for every 2 TBS of amaretto that you need. As you are using it in a syrup I would also add water to make up the amount of amaretto needed. 
You will still be able to heat it with the sugar to make a mixture suitable to use in the soaking of the cupcakes, and they will still be very delicious and moist with plenty of almond flavour.

Ground almonds are the same thing as almond meal or almond flour. They are all made from ground sweet almonds. Almond flour is usually made from ground blanched almonds, whereas ground almonds may use either blanched or whole almonds. 

Almond flour with be much finer than ground almonds. Amond meal and ground almonds are pretty much the same, having the same consistency which is very similar to cornmeal.  All are used  to create delicious guten free baked goods to help replace some of the flour needed.

You will also need a small quantity of gluten free self raising flour for this recipe.  You can use an equivalent amount of self raising flour in its place, but of course then the cupcakes will not be entirely gluten free.
It is very easy to make your own self raising flour.  Simply add 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder along with 1/4 tsp of salt to every cup of flour needed.  Early on in the lockdown when flour was very scarce in the UK, I often had to make my own self raising flour.

Lemon Amaretto Cupcakes

The soaking syrup of amaretto makes these cupcakes incredibly moist and flavourfilled.  The lemon drizzle icing helps to seal that flavour in, and of course the toasted flaked almonds help to decorate them beautifully as well as add additional almond flavour.

Altogether whether you bake these as gluten free or with flour, these are delicious little cupcakes.  The recipe only makes six which makes them perfect for the smaller family. They do only keep a few days so you don't really want to be baking more than six anyways.

I have never frozen them so I cannot say for sure whether you can freeze them successfully or not! But really, they are so delicious you shouldn't have them around long enough to want or need to freeze them!


Lemon Amaretto Cupcakes

Lemon Amaretto Cupcakes
Yield: 6
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 10 Mincook time: 25 Mininactive time: 20 Mintotal time: 55 Min
These fabulous cupcakes are incredibly moist and boast an amaretto syrup drizzle which soaks into the warm cakes with a lush finish of lemon drizzle icing and toasted almonds they spell winner. Gluten free as well.


For the cakes:
  • 1/2 cup (120g) of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (95g)of caster sugar
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1/2 cup (60g) gluten free self raising flour (or 1/2 cup gluten free all purpose baking flour, plus 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/8 tsp xanthan gum)
  • 1/2 cup (60g) ground almonds (almond meal)
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) plain yogurt
  • the finely grated zest of two lemons
For the amaretto drizzle:
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) amaretto
  • 1 TBS caster sugar
  • the juice of one lemon
For the drizzle icing and finish:
  • 1 cup (130g) icing sugar, sifted
  • lemon juice to thin
  • toasted flaked almonds to sprinkle top


  1. Grease a six cup muffin tin and line with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Place the muffin tin on a tray.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Whisk together the flour and almonds. Fold this into the creamed mixture along with the yogurt and lemon zest. Divide the cake batter amongst the prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the cakes are firm to the touch and golden brown.
  4. Whisk together the ingredients for the amaretto drizzle until the sugar is dissolved. Spoon this over the hot cakes, a bit at a time, when they come out of the oven. It will be completely absorbed. Allow them to cool in the pan.
  5. Remove from the pan and place on a wire rack over a sheet of wax paper.
  6. Whisk together the icing sugar and enough lemon juice to make a spoonable drizzle icing.  Spoon this over the top of each cake in an attractive manner and scatter with some flaked toasted almonds while the icing is still wet. Allow to set.
  7. These will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container.
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Lemon Amaretto Cupcakes

Just look at their beautiful texture.  They don't look any different than a normal cupcake.  Seriously.

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  1. These look divine!
    I bought the same Hannah Miles book when I started baking for a friend with coeliac disease and in fact she started baking herself again as a result, having given up on it years before.
    All the recipes I have tried turned out well and I might try this one for myself with regular flour, they look so yummy!

    1. Thanks so much Jean! I love all of Hannah's books. She knows her stuff! xoxo

  2. These look really good. Can you use regular flour?


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