Spring has finally visited my little part of the world! It has been long awaited, and much anticipated. I love everything about Spring. Lucky for me I never struggled with allergies, so the flowers starting to bloom is actually enjoyable. The birds are singing and the grass is getting green again… it is one of the best times of the year! One of the greatest things that comes with this beautiful weather is all of the fresh fruit! One of my favorite things to use in baking (both in frosting and as a topper) is fresh fruit... strawberries, raspberries, blueberries... I love them all! Using fresh fruit in frosting can be a bit challenging though. The juice from the fruit can start to cause the frosting to separate (even more so if you make these in a warm place), so after you pipe the frosting onto these cupcakes, let them rest in the refrigerator for a bit before serving.

Almond Raspberry Cream Cupcakes

Yields about 24 cupcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cup almond milk
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweet cream, salted butter (softened)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp almond extract

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 handful fresh raspberries

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the almond milk and egg whites; set aside. Beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer until all of the sugar is combined, then add the vanilla and almond extract. While still beating, alternate adding half of the flour mixture, then half of the egg white/almond milk mixture until they are both completely combined. Fill cupcake cups halfway, and bake on 350 for 20-25 minutes. For the frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth (about 3 minutes.) Gradually beat in 2 cups of the confectioner's sugar, about a half a cup at a time. Once the sugar is completely combined into the cream cheese and butter, add the raspberries and beat until they are mixed into the frosting and broken apart enough so that the frosting will not have clumps of raspberry in it. Beat for 3 to 5 minutes after everything is combined to get the frosting smooth and fluffy; if the frosting is too liquid because of the raspberries, add up to a cup of extra confectioner's sugar... the frosting will be slightly sweeter, but it will stay more firm. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes with a star tip, and top with fresh blueberries (or other fresh fruit of your choice). Store your cupcakes in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve them. Enjoy!