I’ve had some interesting Valentine’s Days. Some have been lonely and others exciting. However, I have a keen memory of this day in 7th grade. The year was 1981 and I was a small, shy middle “schooler” who had not started dating boys or even considered kissing one. These were the days when everyone in your class swapped heart shaped cards, no one was singled or left out. Nonetheless, that year I was singled out.
After a very active lunch recess, my friends and I came huffing and puffing up to our classroom. While entering, I started hearing oohs and aahs and plenty of snickering. I was mortified – on my desk sat a large red heart box of candy and a single rose with a card signed “Your Secret Admirer”. Yuck!! Unless this secret admirer was the coolest cutest 8th grader, I wanted nothing to do with what was on my desk and found it horribly embarrassing. I can’t remember whether it was a few hours or days later that I identified my admirer and wasn’t happy. I didn’t really know him, think he was cute or have ANY interest. He stalked me for the next two years as only pre-pubescent boys can do.
Therefore, slipping into comfortable, mutual adoration for for this day of love is nice. For the last 20 years my husband has been my constant sweetheart and for the past 14 years, my kids the objects of my adoration. It can be as effortless as exchanging cards or as intricate as planning a romantic dinner out or baking a sweet surprise.
I’ve been dying to make a fresh raspberry butter cream frosting and racked my brain to think of a flavor other than vanilla, chocolate or lemon that highlighted this beautiful deep pink fruit. Then the Linzer Torte came to mind. This dessert is a buttery mixture of almond pastry and rich raspberry preserves. Hence, my light almond cupcake, filled with raspberry preserves and a dollop of almond paste, topped with raspberry butter cream that happens to be the perfect color for Valentine’s Day.
Linzer Torte Cupcakes with Raspberry Butter Cream
1 box yellow cake mix
2/3 cup of ground almonds
2 tsp. pure almond extract (imitation is just not as good)
1 cup raspberry preserves
4 oz. almond paste (in baking section of grocery store)
raspberry butter cream:
1 cup of frozen raspberries, thawed
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Prepare cake mix per box directions. Stir in almonds and extract. Pour batter into cupcake papers-2/3 full. Bake 15 minutes. Let cool.
With a small spoon, scoop out a ½ inch hole from the middle of each cupcake and save cake. Fill hole with ½ tsp. raspberry preserves and ¼ tsp. of almond paste. Replace cake on top.
Puree your raspberry in a food processor or blender. Press through a sieve to remove seeds.
In a medium bowl beat the butter and sugar until almost smooth. Slowly add raspberry puree until you have the right consistency and color for spreading.
Spread frosting on cupcakes and decorate with a “Sweetheart”.
Makes 15 cupcakes