Celebrate This Tu Bishvat With Cupcakes: Two Recipes

The Jewish arbor day yields dozens of wonderful recipes featuring the fruits of Israel’s trees.

Marzipan and lemon cupcakes.
Vered Guttman

Tu Bishvat, the Jewish arbor day, yields dozens of wonderful recipes featuring fruits, nuts and any other goodness coming from the trees of Israel.

This year I celebrated American-style, with cupcake recipes that contain two of the holiday’s staples, dates and almonds. Extra points for making both recipes this weekend!

Marzipan and lemon cupcake recipe:

Yields 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:
3/4 cup sugar
7 oz. marzipan
10 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon zest

For the lemon frosting:
16 tablespoons butter (1 cup) at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon milk
Pinch kosher salt
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Directions:
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Line a cupcake pan with baking cups.
2.    Put sugar and marzipan in the bowl of a food processor and chop into small crumbs. Add butter and almond and mix to combine. Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix to com-bine again, then add eggs one by one and mix very briefly just to combine.
3.    Divide batter between 12 cupcake cups (an ice cream scoop makes this easy) and bake for 18-20 minutes until the center of each cupcake is stable; a toothpick inserted into the cup-cake should come out dry. Cool on a cooling rack.
4.    To make the frosting put butter, sugar, lemon juice, milk and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix for 4-5 minutes until smooth and fluffy, stopping to scape the sides of the bowl as needed. Transfer to a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip (or any tip you prefer) and generously frost the cooled cupcakes. Keep cupcakes in a closed container for up to two days.

Date and chocolate cupcake recipe:

Pressed dates are available at many Middle Eastern and Israeli supermarkets. Can be substituted with tender pitted dates.

Yields 12 cupcakes

Date and chocolate cupcakes.
Vered Guttman

Ingredients:
6 oz. pressed dates or pitted large soft dates
2/3 cups boiling water
8 tablespoons butter
3/4 cups sugar
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg

For the chocolate frosting:
16 tablespoons butter at room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (such as Valrhona brand) 
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Line a cupcake pan with baking cups.
5.    Put pressed dates or dates in a bowl of a food processor and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes before processing to a smooth paste. Add butter and mix to combine. Add sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and mix to combine, then add egg and mix very briefly just to combine.
6.    Divide batter between 12 cupcake cups (an ice cream scoop makes this easy) and bake for 18-20 minutes until the center of each cupcake is stable; a toothpick inserted into the cup-cake should come out dry. Cool on a cooling rack.
7.    To make the frosting put butter, sugar, cocoa powder, milk and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix for 4-5 minutes until smooth and fluffy, stopping to scape the sides of the bowl as needed. Transfer to a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip (or any tip you prefer) and generously top cooled cupcakes. Keep in a closed container up to two days.