Ohhh, Valentine’s Day is here. Time for hearts. Hearts everywhere. Heart-shaped everything! And of course, here that includes… cupcakes.
I go batty for holidays ’round these here parts, in case you didn’t
These particular little cupcakes are inspired by Linzer tarts, or Linzer tortes. In America, you low them as the cookies with a hole cut out of the top piece… its filled with a red or pink colored jam or jelly and dusted with confectioner’s sugar. However in Austria those are considered Linzer sablés (Linzer Augen or “linzer eyes”). They’re also a riff on the cupcakes I posted last year; which were chocolate cupcakes filled with pink frosting, all in a heart-shape.
There are a few ways of doing this neat little heart-shaped hole trick, but I just use the method I find easiest: I push the cutter down into the middle of the completely cooled (preferably refrigerated for a few hours) cupcake. After some wiggling, the heart-shaped piece should pop out when you remove the cookie cutter. Another way: cut the top of the cupcake off, add a layer of jam, then cut the hole out of the top and stick it back on.
Whatever way you choose, the end result is adorable. And sweet.
Makes about 12 cupcakes
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 large lemon, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter and egg mixture, along with the milk, and beat until combined.
- Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
The cupcakes have lemon in them, reflecting the fact that traditional Linzer tortes/tarts have a bit of lemon flavor. If you’d like to remove the lemon, you can. And you can definitely use store-bought jam or jelly if you don’t preserve your own/can’t or won’t make your own. Any red colored jam works; raspberry, strawberry, cherry, etc.
But if you decide to try making your own, here’s an easy strawberry recipe that doesn’t require canning.
- 4 cups fresh strawberries, washed & hulled (a little over a pound, depending on the size of the berries)
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice
- Slice the strawberries & using a potato masher or your (clean) fingers, mash & squish them together. If this doesn’t work, and the berries are too firm, cut them smaller.
- Place the strawberries in a large saucepan. Split and scrape the vanilla bean, adding the seeds to the berries. Add the empty vanilla bean along with the 1/2 cup sugar & lemon juice, stirring & cooking over medium-high heat, breaking up any large chunks of berry with a wooden spoon.
- Cook until it thickens and you can see the bottom of the pan when you stir, roughly 10 minutes.
- Remove the vanilla bean with tongs and add the jam to your clean, warm jars. You aren’t canning this so just make sure the jars are cool before refrigerating them.
Like I said last year, this idea can be used in a zillion different ways. You can fill the cakes with lemon curd or raspberry curd, too. You can use almost any shape cookie cutter, any flavor cupcakes, etc.