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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Valentine's Day Cupcakes

What say's Valentine's Day more than chocolate hearts and roses? These Valentine's Day Cupcakes are Lemon, with a Chocolate Cake Heart center that is revealed when you bite in to it and a simple but delicious butter cream frosting. I'm going to show you three ways and ideas for your chocolate cake heart, depending on how you plan to use it.

Chocolate Cake Hearts
~350  14-18 minutes
1 stick butter (room temp)
1 cup + 4 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs (room temp)
1/2 cup flour + 4 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup high quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

preheat oven to 350

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and chocolate in a bowl and set aside.
Measure out milk and add vanilla, set aside.
Cream butter and sugar for three minutes, add eggs one at a time mixing well between each.
Add dry mixture in thirds alternating between milk and vanilla and mixing between each.
Spread on to a greased and floured 9X12 baking pan and bake until it's almost done, but not quite. You want it just done enough to hold a form. I baked mine for 14 minutes. When done, set aside to cool.

Lemon Cupcakes
~350 20 minutes makes 24 cupcakes
2 sticks butter (room temp)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs (room temp)
2 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 lemon

You will need to zest and juice a lemon, so if you do not have the tools to do so, I picked up a zester, and a plastic juicer for a couple of bucks at the grocery store.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Zest the lemon and set zest aside.
Juice the lemon, set aside.
Cream butter and sugar for 3 minutes on medium speed. Add eggs one at a time mixing between each. Add dry ingredients in thirds alternating with milk and mixing between each.
Add lemon juice and mix well, scraping the bowl once.
Add zest and mix in with a spatula. If you use a mixer all your zest will end up stuck to it and not in the batter.

Using a heart shaped cookie or fondant cutter, cut out a heart for each cupcake carefully. I use a fondant cutter. You want it to be small enough to be covered with batter when standing upright in the cupcake liner.
Now at this point you can do this a few ways.

You can put a little better in the center of the liner and then fill in front and behind it and then a little on top. The effect you will get from this technique is a heart in the center of the cupcake if you bite in to it, just the right way. The catch is, unless you mark it you will have no way of knowing which way to cut the cupcake in order to see the heart. That being said if you bite in to it, and take small bites, you can easily see the heart and bite in the appropriate places to expose it.

You can press the heart up against the side of the liner and fill behind in and on top of it.
The effect you will get is a heart in the front of the cupcake when you peel off the paper.

The third is to put the heart on the bottom of the cupcake liner, and have a cupcake "from the bottom of my heart"

Now when I read about how to bake a heart in the center of a cupcake on Pinterest, it said to cover the cupcakes while baking them, but I found as long as you cover the heart in batter, it will not dry out.

Bake your cupcakes for 20 to 22 minutes and set aside to cool completely.

Simple Vanilla Butter Cream
2 sticks slightly softened butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix butter and two cups of confectionery sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and milk and mix until well combined. Add remaining sugar and mix until smooth.

To make the rose on top, use a 2D frosting tip. Start in the middle and work your way out in a circular motion, trying to just barley touch the frosting to the previous pass without overlapping it.

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