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Ah, Valentines Day! The one day of the year we’re supposed to be all lovey-dovey to our loved ones, co-workers or classmates. Every year we stuff our faces with cheap chocolate candies picked up at the drugstore and gloat at the new stuffed critter our husbands throw at us on Valentines Day before tossing it into the closet with last years’ gift.
If you can’t tell, I love Valentines Day. If I could spend the entire day dressed in black, watching horror movies eating popcorn I would, but that doesn’t equal a happy afternoon spent with my husband. Since I find myself obliged to partake in this wonderful day, I go over the top and make heart-shaped everything. Cookies, sandwiches, mozzarella slices, cupcakes… you name it, it’s been forced into a heart shape by a nifty cookie cutter.
These awesome cupcakes can be made with raspberries, strawberries or blackberries, whichever you prefer. At baking time, strawberries looked better at the grocery store, so they won by default.
Instead of being made in cupcake tins, the cupcake batter is baked in a jelly roll pan and then neatly cut with your favorite heart shaped cookie cutter.
- 1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 cup seedless preserves (raspberry, strawberry or blackberry, whichever fruit you choose)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 pint fresh berries
- Preheat oven to 375º
- Beat the egg whites until stiff (not dry), set aside.
- Combine the cake flour with the baking powder and salt, set aside.
- Combine milk and almond, set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk mixture, mixing well after each addition until well combined. Fold egg whites into batter.
- Lightly oil jelly roll pan and then press wax or parchment paper over the bottom to fit.
- Begin checking the cake for doneness after 12 minutes, look for slight browning at the edges and a dry surface. When a toothpick inserted to the center comes out clean, remove from oven and cool the cake on a wire rack.
- While the cake is cooling, melt the fruit preserves with the water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until it’s smooth and keep warm over low heat.
- Once the cake has cooled, use heart-shaped cookie cutters to cut out as many hearts as you can. I like to alternate the sizes used so I can get more cakes.
- Using a pastry brush, spread a layer of the melted jam on one heart cake and stack another on top of it. Spread jam on the top of that heart, too.
- Arrange fresh berries on the top layer—be sure to do it quickly so the jam acts as an adhesive!
- Glaze the top of the berries by painting the berries with the melted jam.