Remember That One Time I Pretended I Was a Baker?

cupcakes that overflowed in little paper cups

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?!”

pistachio cupcakes with cream cheese white chocolate frosting

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.

Sweet wishes,

Amaretto pistachio cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese frosting

Staci at Random Sweets
Rich and flavorful, these cupcakes make a delightful dessert for weddings, showers, holidays and Mondays through Sundays.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 cupcakes
Calories 266 kcal


  • 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.


Calories: 266kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 2gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 188mgPotassium: 60mgFiber: 1gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 110IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 1mg
Keyword almond bark, amaretto, cake mix, cream cheese, cupcake, entertaining, frosting, liquor, party, pistachio, pudding mix, white chocolate

All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets

Tried this recipe?Mention @RandomSweets and tag #OurSweetMidwestLife

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