Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Put Your Heart Into It :0)

Gonna try these!  Had a hard time finding the instructions last year, so I am posting word for word.  This is NOT my idea or post!  Just loving that I found the instructions finally!

These vanilla bean cupcakes really have heart—when you cut (or bite) into the cake everyone will see how much love went into them! They’re shockingly simple, and you can easily mix and match with your favorite cupcake or buttercream flavors (maybe the love of your life is a chocolate addict? Use a chocolate cupcake batter or top with ganache!). Because I’m a candy fiend, I made Strawberry Laffy Taffy buttercream. Awesome!
Here’s the recipe (makes 12):
For the cupcakes and the hearts you’ll need:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
the seeds from half a vanilla bean
1/4 t. salt
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/3 c. whole milk
red food coloring 
For the Laffy Taffy buttercream you’ll need:
10 pieces of strawberry Laffy Taffy candy
2 T. heavy cream
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. powdered sugar 
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees (F). 
Mix the butter and sugar together at medium speed for about 90 seconds, until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl so everything gets well combined. Add the baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla and mix until the batter is smooth. Finally, alternate between the flour and milk, beating on med-high speed until the batter is light and creamy.
Pour a little more than 1/3 of the batter (about a cup and a half) into a smaller bowl. Add red food coloring until you get your desired pink or red color. Pour the batter into a non-stick (or lightly greased) 8x8 baking pan and bake for about 20 minutes until the edges of the cake start to turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely (to speed up the process, I stuck in in the fridge).
Once the sheet cake is cool, loosen the edges away from the pan with a knife and then invert the pan onto a cutting board. Use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out a dozen cake hearts that are small enough to fit into an average-sized cupcake pan.
Spoon two heaping tablespoons of the remaining batter into paper-lined cupcake tins, so they’re about half-full. Put one heart into each tin and press it point down into the batter. Keep all the hearts facing forward in the pan. Cover with another teaspoon of batter and bake for 24 minutes.
Allow the cupcakes to cool before frosting.
Here’s the tricky part—you’ll have to keep the cupcakes facing forward so you get the right cross-section of the heart when you cut or bite into the cupcake (to get the full heart effect). So keep all the cupcakes facing forward as you move them from the cupcake tin to a cookie sheet for cooling/frosting. After frosting, put heart candy on them (or some other decoration) that can also face forward so you know which way to cut the cupcake in order to see the heart shape inside (if you cut the heart in the wrong direction you just get a rectangle shape—not very romantic!).
For the buttercream, melt the taffy and the heavy cream together in a small bowl for one minute on high, stirring every 20 seconds. Stir the mixture together until it’s smooth, then stick it in the fridge so it cools a bit (the cream will keep it from hardening). 
In a mixing bowl, whip the butter for 30 seconds until it’s smooth. Add the powdered sugar, a half cup at a time, whipping until fluffy. Finally, with the mixer on medium-low, drizzle in the melted and cooled taffy mixture. When it’s all in, turn the mixer up to high and whip the frosting until it’s fluffy. If you’d like, add a little pink or red food coloring to get the desired shade. Then frost! 
Remember, while frosting, keep track of which direction the heart in the cupcake is facing. You can put conversation hearts on top, facing forward, so when people bite into it they see this:

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