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Valentine's Day cupcake recipes & icing ideas

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Deciding upon what kind of cupcakes to create can make a Valentine's Day statement of love or send a message of simple friendship. (©iStockphoto/Thinkstock) Deciding upon what kind of cupcakes to create can make a Valentine's Day statement of love or send a message of simple friendship. (©iStockphoto/Thinkstock)


By Sabina Dana Plasse

There's nothing more scrumptious or delightful than Valentine's Day cupcakes. Whether you are making them for your family, children or a special someone, a homemade cupcake for Valentine's Day is a whole lot of love. A cupcake can find it's way into anyone's heart, making a simple, sweet statement for this special holiday. Deciding upon what kind of cupcakes to create, serve or distribute to family, a classroom or friends can make a Valentine's Day statement of love or send a message of simple friendship. Cupcakes can be fun red and pink treats with candy hearts, red hots or sprinkles for kids' Valentines or artistic icing designs on red velvet cakes for that special someone at a formal Valentine's Day celebration. Mini cupcakes can have a sophisticated appeal and cupcakes in a variety of shapes and sizes can be a topic of conversation for any gathering.

Cupcake Recipes For Valentine's Day

The basic cake in a cupcake is the foundation of a chocolate, vanilla or, for Valentine's Day, red velvet cupcake. To create heart shaped cupcakes, place a small marble or a half-inch ball of aluminum foil on the side of each cupcake paper liner in a cupcake tin pan. The paper will be pushed inward on this side, forming the shape of a heart. This will then force the batter into the form a heart as well. In addition, don't rule out creating gluten free cake batter for those with special dietary needs.

Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients -- Serving Size: Approximately 20 to 25 cupcakes, Calories: 300 (with frosting)

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the cupcake pans with paper liners in decorative or plain styles. Festive Valentine's Day liners are available in many grocery, craft and kitchen stores. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add shortening, milk and vanilla. Beat with a spoon or electric mixer on low for 1 minute. Add eggs to the mixture. Beat for 1 minute longer. Scrape the sides of the bowl to mix any left out ingredients back into the batter. Beat again for about 90 seconds until well mixed, and no single ingredients are visible. Spoon the cupcake batter into paper liners until each is about halfway full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Frost your Valentine's Day cupcakes when completely cool.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Ingredients -- Serving Size: Approximately 25 cupcakes, Calories: 300 (with frosting)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks of butter at room temperature
5 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon red food coloring

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and sift the dry ingredients together three times, using a baking sifter. Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer or handheld pastry blender until they are light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Add 1/4 of the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, then approximately 1/4 of the buttermilk, alternating until the entire mixture is thoroughly combined. Mix in the vanilla and food coloring. Fill the paper lined cupcake pans 1/2 full of the batter. Bake approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pans for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove them to allow thorough cooling. Cool completely before frosting.

How To Make Icing For Cupcakes

Creating icing for vanilla, chocolate or red velvet cupcakes can liven up a basic cupcake from ordinary to extraordinary. With the classic vanilla cupcake, icings can range from chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Decorate mini chocolate cupcakes in and array of colors for a chic looking Valentine's Day cupcake display or use a delicious cream cheese frosting for a red velvet cupcake. (For more information on cooking with cream cheese, see A Guide To Cooking With Cream Cheese.)

Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients

1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
8 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature
2-3 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions

Cream the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes. Again, this can be done by hand with a pastry blender, or an electric mixer. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spoon to ensure even mixing of all the ingredients. Add the vanilla extract and mix thoroughly. Add the powdered sugar, and continually taste to get your desired cupcake frosting sweetness.

Buttercream Icing

Ingredients

12 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, which should take about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition, for about 5 minutes. Add vanilla, and beat until the buttercream mixture is smooth. Use the icing immediately, or cover and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. To create frosting shades, divide a batch of buttercream and tint each portion by mixing in gel-paste food coloring, which can include deep pink, dusty rose, egg yellow, lemon yellow, mauve, orange, peach, sky blue and violet.

Decorating Cupcakes

For precise application of the frosting onto the cupcakes, pipe the frosting rather than spooning it. If you do not own a professional icing piping bag, you can easily create one of your own. Simply snip off the corner of a plastic sandwich bag, then fill with the icing. Gently squeeze the bag to release the icing through the hole, just like a piping bag. One of the most exciting parts of creating Valentine's Day cupcakes is what goes on top.

There are endless ideas to baking and decorating Valentine's Day cupcakes with sweetheart candies, confetti, sprinkles and jimmies. In addition, using fruit such as strawberries or even chocolates can add the final, perfect touch. Being creative and making desserts personal is one of the most heartwarming additions you can make for a Valentine's Day celebration for the you love and care about.

This article was originally posted on IdealHomeGarden.com

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