"I have come that they might have life and have it to the full..." -John 10:10b

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Annette's Birthday Cupcakes

Today is the birthday of my friend, Annette. Annette is the kind of person who will go above and beyond for her friends, and heck, for people she just met. She's got a way about her that makes people feel at home and comfortable and the unique ability to keep a conversation fresh and interesting. She's also an incredible cook and I myself have been blessed countless times by her culinary expertise as well as her knack for hosting a gathering (my baby shower was beautiful). She is my Ina Garten incarnate.

That being said, imagine if you will that Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa herself comes to you and admires something YOU'VE made. Well, that's about how I felt when Annette loved a batch of cupcakes I made a year ago for her birthday. I have to admit, I can't take total credit for the recipe. They are a product of Giada DeLaurentis (my culinary hero)but still, I made them and Annette liked them and so I will take SOME credit. So, I made them again this year for her birthday. They turned out well I think.

And well, I believe whole-heartedly that a recipe is just no good unless it's shared. So, here ya go. Enjoy!


* 1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix (recommended: Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe)
* 1 1/3 cups water
* 3 large eggs whites
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
* 2 teaspoons almond extract
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 (6-ounce) containers fresh raspberries, cut in half or 1 (16-ounce) container fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped
* 1 cup heavy whipping cream
* 1/3 cup powdered sugar, plus additional for dusting


Line 18 muffin cups with muffin papers. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cake mix, water, egg whites, melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla extract in a large bowl for 2 minutes, or until the batter is well blended. Using about 1/3 cup of batter for each cupcake, spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake the cupcakes until they are very pale golden on top, about 15 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely on a cooling rack.

Using a fork, coarsely mash 1 1/2 containers of raspberries in a medium bowl. Beat the cream and 1/3 cup of powdered sugar in a large bowl until firm peaks form. Fold the mashed raspberries into the whipped cream.

Remove the muffin papers from the cupcakes and cut the tops off of each cupcake. Spoon the raspberry whipped cream atop the cupcake bottoms. Place the cupcake tops on the cupcakes. Dust with more powdered sugar and serve with the remaining berries.

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