These are chocolate cupcakes topped with raspberry buttercream frosting, iced mini-sugar cookie decoration and a *surprise* pink vanilla heart cake filling. (Perhaps I should call the blog “compositions, COMPLICATED cupcakes and chaos”?) Bake It In A Cake was my reference as to how to bake a heart into a cake, and the vanilla cake recipe is an adaptation of hers.
The first step is to make the sugar cookies (this is the BEST sugar cookie recipe I’ve ever made – but it’s from my archives and don’t know to whom credit is due!) Goes like this:
- Cream together 1 cup butter and 2/3 cup sugar
- Beat in 1 room temperature egg
- Combine and add 1 tsp. vanilla and 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- Mix until ingredients are well combined. Chill dough 3-4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll out dough (onto floured surface) about 1/4″ thick and cut. Bake 8-10 minutes and cool completely before icing.
The icing is a thinned Royal Icing. If you’ve never used Royal Icing before, the best tutorial I have ever seen is posted by Sweetopia and I generally follow her guidelines. (Her blog is a wonderland and worth a trip!) I used the following recipe and frosted almost all of the cookies with it:
- 1 Tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoon Meringue powder
- 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 3 Tablespoons warm water and add water to desired consistency
Beat all ingredients at low speed for a few minutes until incorporated. The icing should be thin enough to “flow” (this is where watching the above mentioned tutorial explains it all.)
The next step is to make the pink vanilla hearts: Preheat oven to 350F
- 6 Tablespoons 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 teaspoons vanilla extract (I like LOTS of flavor)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons whole milk
- red food coloring
- Combine the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until fluffy.
- Add the eggs, and vanilla and mix completely.
- Sift all the dry ingredients and then add a bit at a time, alternating with the milk, mixing until each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically during this process.
- Mix in the red food coloring 2 or 3 drops at a time until desired shade of color is reached. The color will lighten while baking, so keep that in mind.
- Continue beating the batter on medium-high another 30 seconds.
- Pour about 1 1/2 cups of the batter into a nonstick or lightly greased 9-inch square baking pan and bake for about 20 minutes (yes, there will be some batter left over). Allow the cake to cool completely.
- Once 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 out hearts from the cake. (I did this twice and had to slice a bit off the heart cakes as they ended up a tad too thick for this project – or maybe a thicker cake would have been better?)
- Set aside while mixing up the chocolate cake batter.
On to the chocolate cake step: (I tried using my favorite chocolate cake recipe – the one on this blog – but it didn’t work as that mixture is very liquidy and the heart cakes ended up floating and, and, and – just use this recipe. I tried this one I found on Taste of Home and it worked well.)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup baking cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
- Preheat the oven to 350F. 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.
- Cream butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until well incorporated.
- Combine and sift the dry ingredients and gradually add to creamed mixture alternating with buttermilk and coffee. Beat well after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl often.
- Spoon in 1 1/2 tablespoons 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. You will NOT use all of the chocolate batter.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until toothpick inserted (not in the center as that’s where the heart is!) comes out clean. DO NOT OVERBAKE! Cool completely before moving on to the frosting.
Raspberry Buttercream Frosting time! I like TONS of frosting, so this is the recipe I created – it will make a large quantity. It other words, this will generously cover 12 cupcakes with some left over.
- 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 (or whatever it takes to get the desired consistency) teaspoons of liquid from frozen raspberries
- Mix together butter and sugar until blended and creamy.
- Add vanilla and raspberry liquid and beat for another few minutes until light and fluffy. Be careful with the liquid as the frosting needs to be stiff to pipe. (I added too much the first time and it was too runny – I couldn’t add enough powdered sugar to correct it! I was told the taste was pure awesomeness – but it looked like a mess!)
What to do with left-over batter and frosting? Add some of each into prepared muffin tins – bake for about 18-20 minutes. Pipe on a dollop of frosting and add a mini-sugar cookie. Go with the theme, “Mixed Up Over You!”