Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a muffin tin. Set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, using a blender, puree the diced pears, milk, and almond extract until smooth. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Once the butter has been creamed, add in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat on medium-low until evenly combined. Turn the mixer to low speed. Add the wet and dry ingredients in three additions, alternating quickly. This should take only a minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix again on medium speed for 10-15 seconds to incorporate the batter. Using a spring release scoop, evenly distribute the batter. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until barely golden, and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the buttercream. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter. Add in the powdered sugar and beat on medium speed until incorporated. Add in the heavy cream, extract, and salt. Beat until light and fluffy. If buttercream is too stiff, add heavy cream one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe a generous dome of buttercream. Using a small offset spatula, lightly pull a circle around the center to create the nook for holding sprinkles. Add sprinkles if desired. Serve or store in an airtight container.