I first saw the idea for these cute cupcakes in a magazine at my dentist’s office, of all places. Right after I saw them, my name was called to go in so I didn’t get more than a passing glance. And then of course on my way out I was just so overjoyed to be done (and dentist-free for another 6 months until my next check-up!) that I was preoccupied with getting out of there at warp speed, so these cute cupcakes completely slipped my mind. (Which is just as well really…I would have felt a little weird rooting around (horrible pun, I know) for a sugary recipe at the dentist’s office, what with sugar being taboo and all.) Anyway, the real bottom line is I don’t know what magazine to credit with this adorable idea!
It was a while ago when I saw these cupcakes (the end of last summer to be exact), and they’ve been on my to-make list since then. The timing really couldn’t be more perfect though, since they have a very Valentine’s Day-ish feel to them. To make them, I started with my absolute favorite yellow cake recipe (the same yellow cake recipe I used to make Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes and transformed into Spumone Cake), but you can use any kind of cake you like. The “Linzer” part of these cupcakes is super easy to make, and I give step-by-step photo instructions because this is the sort of thing that’s more easily understood through pictures than words. If you’re planning to make sweets for the sweets in your life this Valentine’s Day, I recommend giving these a try!
(Yield: 15 cupcakes)
1 1/2 c white sugar
3/4 c canola oil
3/4 c milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
About 1 1/2 c jam (whatever kind you like, I used raspberry)
About 3 TB powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake baking pan with paper liners. Use a handheld electric mixer to beat sugar and oil together in a large bowl, then cream in eggs until light and fluffy; beat in milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually beat dry ingredients into wet until just combined, making sure not to over-mix.
Fill each cupcake well with batter to just under the top of the paper liner (I usually only fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, but for this recipe I like to fill the wells a little more than usual to make sure that I get a nice upper rim that I can cut off). Bake 22-24 minutes, or until light golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the cupcake comes out clean or with just slightly moist with a crumb or two. Cool for 5-10 minutes in the cupcake baking pan and then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
When the cupcakes are cool, cut the tops off with a serrated bread knife (this is easiest to do by turning the cupcake upside down on the countertop, and then gently running the knife between the cupcake top and the top of the paper liner). Use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter (or whatever shape you like) to stamp out a heart from the cupcake tops. Pour a little powdered sugar into a small sieve and lightly dust the cupcake tops with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Spread a spoonful of jam on the top of each cupcake, then put the tops on and spoon a little jam into the heart-shaped cut out.
I like to fill the cupcake wells a little more than usual for this recipe to make sure I get a nice upper rim that I can cut off…