Valentine Love Cupcakes

In my opinion, Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion for two cupcake recipes so, here’s #2! Honestly, I couldn’t decide between the two different Valentine recipes that were in my little cupcake book so I decided to bake both of them. This one was called the I Love You Cupcake but I actually only used the cake recipe and a few of the decorating ideas.

This recipe was for a fun, jelly filled cupcake (I modified from the called-for raspberry jelly to strawberry because my husband hates raspberries and it still tasted great). I also got to use my Wilton decorating tip #230 to fill the cupcakes with (the book describes another method to fill the cupcakes with, but if you have this tip, just insert it into the cupcake and squeeze some jelly in). These cupcakes also called for fondant which I thought would be fun, especially since my son loves it. I found some pre-made white fondant  by Duff Goldman that I was able to color red, and it actually tasted delicious! I’ve had lots of other brands of fondant before and this one was one of the best tasting. I cut out little heart shapes to top the cupcakes with. I also decided to top the cupcakes with buttercream frosting because in my opinion, fondant alone just won’t cut it. It’s the same basic vanilla frosting that I’ve used before but this time I colored it pink using Wilton’s icing colors because my youngest son insisted that it needed to be pink. I think they turned out great!

I cannot wait to share them with my family tonight. It is my Valentine gift to them, truly baked with all of my love!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • generous 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • generous 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp strawberry jelly

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Put 10 paper liners into a muffin pan
  2. Place the butter, sugar, and almond extract in a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs. Sift in the flour and, using a metal spoon, fold in gently with the ground almonds. Add milk and fold gently into the batter.
  3. Spoon the batter into the paper liners. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until risen, golden, and firm to the touch, Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
  4. Using a small knife, scoop out a little of the cake from each cupcake. Place 1/2 teaspoon of the jelly into each hollow and replace the piece of cake on top.
  5. Frost & decorate cupcakes.
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Chocolate Valentine Heart Cupcakes

Valentine’s Day! I am such an optimist when it comes to Valentine’s Day. I love… love! Romantic love, friendly love, family love: it is all so beautiful and I love the day that we get to celebrate it. I know that others can often be bitter and jaded when it comes to Valentine’s Day but I think that is ridiculous! Find someone (even if it isn’t romantic) or something to love, and celebrate! Celebrate with tacky hearts and flowers and every other clique that you can possibly think of because that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about!

Of course Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without a sweet chocolate treat, so that is what I made this week! Chocolate Valentine Heart Cupcakes are what I decided to give a try. I did deviate slightly from the decorating that the recipe called for but, I figure that I’m allowed creative license; I used little candy hearts that I bought (how can you resist the Valentine isle?) instead of making my own. This recipe made a very small batch which is kind of nice for a Valentine  dessert for two (wink, wink). At first I was a little worried that these wouldn’t be much different from the last chocolate cupcakes that I made but I was definitely wrong! This recipe was much better than the last one; the cupcakes were moist and rose nicely while baking. They were so good that it’s probably a good thing that the recipe only made 6. The frosting lived up to the Valentine’s Day standard as well: it was rich, fudge-y, and very sweet. Personally, it wasn’t my favorite but it was nice for a special treat. When you make it, be careful with how much powdered sugar you use; I made mine a little too thick to pipe smoothly. Everything worked out though and they tasted delicious. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:
  • 6 tbsp butter, softened
  • scant 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • generous 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking power
For the Frosting:
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • scant 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1oz/25g semisweet chocolate, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Put 6 paper liners into a muffin pan.
  2. Place the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs. Sift in the flour, cocoa, and baking powder and, using a metal spoon, fold into the batter.
  3. Spoon the batter into the paper liners. Bake in the preheated over for 20-25 minutes, or until risen and firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
  4. To make the frosting, put the butter in the large bowl and beat until fluffy. Sift in the confectioners’ sugar and beat together until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat together until well mixed. Spread some of the frosting on top of each cupcake and decorate.

Coconut Lime Cupcakes

In the midst of this extremely busy week (everyone seems to be making up for losing time with the snow!), I was finally able to carve out a few hours to bake. Of course this meant that I was baking pretty much in the middle of the night (midnight is way past my usual bedtime!), but I got it done!

This week, I decided to try out my first actual recipe from Pinterest. I pinned this delicious sounding cupcake recipe a couple of months ago for what they described as “Coconut Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream.” I was very excited to make these cupcakes because they seemed like a wonderful tropical escape in the midst of this cold and dreary winter, and they did not disappoint! They are truly delicious and refreshing! The coconut and lime flavors are just right, not too overpowering. Unfortunately half of my family doesn’t like coconut, as I was informed, so I’ve had to find others to share these goodies with but hasn’t been too difficult.

There were many different (for my baking) ingredients in this recipe that took me a minute to find in the grocery store (I even had to go to a couple of stores to find a few things). Who knew that coconut cream pudding would be hard to find?! I had one funny hiccup in the baking with the coconut milk too. I have never used coconut milk before and didn’t know what to expect when I opened the can, it was slightly odd that it seemed to be thick but coconut oil isn’t liquid at room temperature so it seemed to make sense. I was even able to take 1/2 cup out of the can without even realizing that there was liquid underneath. I didn’t realize until I was making the frosting that I should have stirred the milk before I used it – oops! I was so upset and afraid that I had ruined things. Thank goodness I had not, and everything turned out fine! Sometimes baking in the middle of the night with new ingredients can be tricky!

I will definitely be making these again! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:
  • 1 (18 ounce) box French Vanilla cake mix (see note below)
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package Jell-O Coconut Cream pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (13-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk; divided use (see note below)
  • 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
For the Frosting:
  • remaining 9 ounces of coconut milk
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • zest of 2 medium limes
  • 1.5 pounds (about 5 3/4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

Directions:

For the Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners or spray wells with non-stick cooking spray.
  2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs and 1/2 cup (4 ounces) coconut milk. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined. Fold in the shredded coconut.
  3.   Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well.
  4.   Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes.
  5.  Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Prepare the frosting.
For the Frosting:
  1.  Place the remaining coconut milk into a medium saucepan with high sides. Over medium heat, bring the coconut milk to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to medium-low heat and reduce the coconut milk for about 20 minutes. Turn the burner off and allow the coconut milk to cool completely. Cover and chill (about an hour), this will cause the coconut milk to thicken up a bit
  2.   In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and reduced and cooled coconut milk on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes. Add in the lime zest and mix to combine.
  3.  Turn the mixer down to low-speed and gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until it is completely incorporated. Add in extracts and mix until incorporated. Turn off the mixer and check the buttercream for taste and texture. Turn the mixer back up to medium-high speed and beat the mixture for about 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  4.  Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and if desired, garnish with a dusting of shredded coconut.