Cupcakes have been my go to baked good recently. I find making them therapeutic and a lot easier than trying to bake, cut, layer, crumb coat and frost an entire cake. Their small size also allows me lee way to do fun things, like the pastillage sparrows on the cupcakes I recently made for a friend's baby shower.
The actual cupcake is an Amaretto vanilla cupcake with a raspberry marshmallow cream filling and topped with an Amaretto raspberry cream cheese frosting (kinda like a high end Hostess cupcake). Over Christmas, Joetta brought over a batch of cream-filled chocolate cupcakes from a Paula Deen recipe she had found. The recipe called for a box mix for the cupcake and Cool Whip for the cream interior. I loved the idea if not precisely the ingredients so when Jenn asked for cupcakes featuring two of her favorite flavors, I recreated the recipe in my own fashion. I was sort of operating blindly since I didn't have the recipe Joetta had used but the end result wasn't bad at all.
My sister gave me a terrific basic cupcake recipe a while ago to which any other flavors can be added for a nearly fool-proof product. The cream filling is made with Marshmallow fluff, cream cheese, confectioner's sugar and seedless raspberry preserves. When it comes to frosting, there are very few that have the versatility and ease of a good cream cheese frosting. I'm a huge fan of buttercream but it's so...finicky...and I just wanted ease and flavor. With the addition of Amaretto and raspberry, the frosting was a beautiful compliment to the cupcake and the raspberry cream interior.
As for decorating, a pretty little pastillage sparrow in pale pink were a motif carried from the invitations I made for Jenn's shower. Martha Stewart Crafts has a beautiful collection of craft punches that I initially found when looking for a rocket craft punch to make Pug's birthday invitations. I discovered they were just as useful for cutting out pastillage shapes which are left to harden overnight, adding a sweet dimension to the cupcakes.
With Easter on the horizon, I'm debating making pretty pastel little Easter cupcakes or revisiting the insanity of an egg cake....
If you'd like the recipe, email me at ablithepalate (AT) gmail (DOT) com.