Unless you are a professional baker, you and I are a lot alike. We are home bakers. We stick to our tried-and-true, usual recipes and we bake in the pans we know work for us. Once in a while, we try something new. Does it always work out? No, it doesn’t. But sometimes it leads to something delicious, like amaretto pistachio cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese frosting.
A few weeks ago, I tried making my Amaretto pistachio cake in baking papers I’ve never used before, in a new oven on a setting I’ve never baked cupcakes on before. It was a complete failure. It was the last straw that night. I’d already messed up a batch of mini cinnamon Bundt cakes earlier that day and by the time I had a pistachio cupcake disaster on my hands and needed to start over, it meant a late-night run to the grocery store.
For those of you who have been following my story for a while, you know I lost my full-time job, my career in corporate communications, on September 8. As I seek to understand what is next for me, I’ve been baking and writing because I enjoy it and it’s an income generator. In the middle of the cupcake fiasco, I messaged my sisters and told them I am done. I think I said something along the lines of, “I can’t bake. What do I think I’m doing?!”
And then I redeemed myself. I started over. The result? Scrumptious Amaretto pistachio cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese frosting. (It was nighttime so I didn’t have good lighting for a good photo.) It wasn’t the first baking mistake I’ve made. Like the time I attempted to make petit fours and they should look more like this.
And I’ve made mistakes since. But I guess I like sharing good food with people so I’ll never really give up. It will take a lot more than a cupcake failure to take me out.
I hope you feel the same. Don’t let a few flops in the kitchen defeat you. No one is a perfect baker.
Amaretto pistachio cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese frosting
- cupcake pan
- 1 box yellow cake mix, for a 9×13 pan size cake
- 2 (3.4 ounce packages) instant pistachio pudding mix
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup amaretto liqueur, Can substitute with another 1/2 cup water plus 1 tablespoon pure almond extract.
- 4 large eggs
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup chopped pistachios, optional, there are some in the pudding mix
- 1 (8-ounce package) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 to 2½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract or amaretto liqueur
- ½ cup white chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled
- finely chopped pistachios for sprinkling on top, optional
- Heat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
- In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mixes, water, amaretto liqueur, eggs and vegetable oil.Stir in chopped pistachios. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Pour into cupcake liners. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely.
- Blend the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer. Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, a little at a time, blending with mixer until all the sugar is well incorporated. Add 1 teaspoon almond flavoring or Amaretto and the melted white chips and mix on medium speed until the frosting is fluffy.
- Add the additional 1/2 cup powdered sugar as desired for spreading consistency. Spread on cooled cupcakes. Top with chopped pistachios. Store in refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.
All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets