Heart In A Cupcake – A Cupcake With A Surprise Inside

Do you love to share your love through baking? Well, this is a special treat. Perfect for Valentine’s Day or any other day to show your love. The outside is cute, but there’s a heart in this cupcake!

These are chocolate cupcakes with a pink vanilla heart inside, topped with raspberry buttercream frosting and decorated with a Royal iced mini-sugar cookie. Okay, I admit this is a bit over the top. This will take two to three days to complete all the steps. (Not two complete days – that would be crazy.) You can always decorate with something than the sugar cookie. Pink or white pearlized nonpareils would be just beautiful.

However, since I made them, I’m going to give you the complete instructions and you can decide which direction to take your treat.

The first step is to make the sugar cookies:

Since Royal icing takes at least a day to dry, make and decorate the cookies the day before. OR, even better, make them days ahead of time and store them in an airtight container in the freezer.

If you’ve never used Royal icing before, check out  Sweetopia. She has great tutorials about using Royal icing and I always follow her guidelines.

Sugar Cookies With Royal Icing
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifte
Royal Icing
  • 1 Tbls. Meringue powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Meringue powder
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 3 Tbls. warm water and add more water to desired consistency
  • Pink Gel Color
  1. Cream together the butter and sugar.

  2. Beat in the add and vanilla.

  3. Slowly add the sifted all-purpose flour until well combined.

  4. Chill the dough 3-4 hours.

  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4" thickness and cut with cookie cutters.

  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes and cool completely before icing.

Royal Icing
  1. Beat all ingredients on low speed for a few minutes until incorporated. The icing should be thin enough to "flow".

  2. Add small amount of gel color and mix until blended. Continue to add gel color and mix until desired color.

  3. Using a piping bag fitted with a #2 tip, outline the cookie. In a zig-zag manner, fill in the outline with the frosting. Shake the cookie gently so the frosting flows. Tap down any points in the frosting with a toothpick.

Next, make a vanilla cake to cut the hearts out of:

Pink Vanilla Cake
  • 6 Tbls. unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 large eggs (crack 3 - mix up, measure 1/2 and save the other 1/2 for another purpose
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbls. + 2 Tsp. whole milk
  • red food color
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Sift all dry ingredients and set aside.

  3. Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until fluffy.

  4. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix completely.

  5. Add a bit of the dry ingredients at a time, alternating with the milk. Mix until each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically during this process.

  6. Mix in the red food coloring 2-3 drops at a time until desired shade of color is reached. The color will lighten while baking, so keep that in mind.

  7. Continue beating the batter on medium-high for another 30 seconds.

  8. Pour about 1 1/2 cups of the batter into a nonstick or lightly greased 9-inch square baking pan. (Yes, there will be batter left over.) Bake for about 20 minutes or until tester comes out with a few crumbs. Allow the cake to cool completely.

After the cake is cooled, loosen the cake from the pan by running a knife around the edges and carefully invert the pan onto a cutting board. Use a 2-inch heart shaped cookie cutter to cut hears from the cake. Set the hearts aside while mixing up the chocolate cake batter.

On to the chocolate cupcake batter and adding the pink vanilla cake hearts: I tried using my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe, but it didn’t work well for this project. The mixture is too liquid and the heart cakes ended up floating, and, well, just don’t use that recipe. I tried this one from Taste of Home and it worked great.

Chocolate Batter And Making A Heart In A Cupcake
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a non-toxic marker, make a small dot on the edge of 12 paper liners and place in a standard muffin tin with all dots facing the same direction.

  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until well incorporated.

  3. Combine and sift the dry ingredients. Gradually add to the creamed mixture alternating with buttermilk and coffee. Beat well after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl often.

  4. Spoon in 1 1/2 Tbls. of batter into the prepared tins. Place a heart in each cup - the bottom of the heart pointing down and the front of the heart facing the dot on the cupcake paper. Press the heart gently into the batter. Carefully, cover the heart with another teaspoon (or a little more) with more batter. Make sure the batter covers the heart - but do not overfill as the goal is to crown nicely and not go over the edge of the tin when baked. (You will NOT use all of the cupcake batter.

  5. Bake for about 20 minutes until toothpick inserted (not in the center as that's where the heart is and already baked!) comes out clean. Do not over bake. Cool completely.

Are you still with me because we still have to make frosting!

Finally, we’re going to make Raspberry Buttercream Frosting: I like tons of frosting, so this recipe will generously cover 12 cupcakes with some left over.

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 or more tsp. liquid from frozen raspberries
  1. In an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium-high speed.

  2. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the sugar until all is incorporated.

  3. Add vanilla and raspberry liquid and beat for another few minutes until light and fluffy. Do not add too much liquid or the frosting will not be stiff enough to pipe.

Finish: Frost the cupcakes using a piping bag fitted with a #6B tip. Add a mini-sugar cookie.

To see the heart inside, look for the dot on the cupcake liner and cut the cupcake in half parallel to the dot.

What to do with the left over batter and frosting? Add some of each into lined muffin tins and bake for 18-20 minutes. Pip on a dollop of frosting and add a mini-sugar cookie. Go with the theme, “Mixed Up Over You.”

Happy baking!



Did you try this recipe?

Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #wistfullywarped.






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