A year ago I was busy in the kitchen baking some valentine cupcakes for the neighb’s. (BTW, delivery of the cupcakes was a success and I only had one very awkward encounter with a shirtless neighbor, but we have since moved and it’s time to bring treats to new neighbors!)
Just thought I’d repost the Pre-Game Warm Ups in anticipation for 2013 Valentine’s Day. This is inspiration for today’s kitchen crazies!
It’s Pre-Game day, people! That’s right, with Valentine’s Day right around the corner the Ruffled Heart Headquarters has been buzzing with activity.
Author’s Note: I love Valentine’s Day. I always have. And not because when the 14th of February rolls around I have some hot boyfriend. Nope. In fact there’s been only ONE HOT boyfriend on Valentine’s Day (who happens to be my now HOT husband) and that didn’t happen until I was 27. I love it because I love hearts, candy, little notes, chocolate, flowers, and chocolate, and sweets, and all the other little pretty touches Valentine’s Day affords the female. I personally think Valentine’s Day is the day I get to be as girly as possible and use pink and purple in great excess all the while eating a heart shaped candy bar. I also love that it’s a day devoted to giving small little tokens of love and friendship to people. AH! It’s like first grade again!
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and since Andy and I have lived in our apartment for almost a year and I have seen our neighbors less than the amount of coupons I cut (that’s not very many), I thought I’d make them some cupcakes to celebrate the day.
To help you with your pre-game warm-ups, I’m here to share some icing goodness. I like to make healthy and tasty things. This is not healthy. It is tasty. I’m not great at them simultaneously.
Ask your husband to take you to King Soopers (another author’s note. . .Andy does not keep me in a basement. I don’t like to drive nor do I enjoy errands. . .so I ask if he will take me places. . . then I don’t have to drive and I have a buddy). Buy boxed cake mix. You can get creative and get some mix-ins. I like to use 1 box of chocolate pudding, 8 oz of plain yogurt, and substitute the oil with natural applesauce. This made the cupcakes very light and fluffy.
Make cupcakes. Test them. Test a lot of them. Watch Valentine’s Day and see how many celebrities you know without looking their names up on IMDB.
Go to sleep.
Since it is now the day before Valentine’s Day, you may not have this luxury.
Skip to step four.
I love making icing.
I like making baked goods just because I like making the icing.
(hands down, delicious and very sweet)
1/2 cup butter no-salt added, room temp
Put in mixing bowl and beat 5 minutes on medium-hi. If you have a whisk attachment, you are in for a treat.
Gradually add in powdered sugar on low setting. Once mixed, turn to higher speed.
Add a little vanilla extract or your favorite flavoring (pumpkin spice, almond, coconut?!)
Continue to add powdered sugar until thick (maybe 2-3 cups).
Add a little milk or cream to get icing fluffier. Beat on high, of course.
CHOCOLATE WHIPPED BUTTERCREAM
(make whipped buttercream)
Melt 6 oz of unsweetened chocolate baking squares (or dark chocolate) in a double boiler.
Add gradually to whipped buttercream and continue to beat on high.
DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE
(this is extreme dark chocolate flavor-not for the faint of heart)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 oz of chocolate (I used unsweetened baking squares, and a little bit of a dark chocolate candy bar) chopped into small pieces and placed in pyrex
Bring cream to boil and pour slowly over chocolate.
Stir until chocolate melts
The DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE is pretty strong. I iced the cupcakes with the WHIPPED BUTTERCREAM icing first and then dipped it into the GANACHE. What match made in heaven.
I suppose you could use milk chocolate.
Now I don’t have any type of cake decorating tools. Nothing but a spatula. So for those of you who do not own much of that, here are some of my ideas for DECORATIONS.
Ganache, sprinkles, pearl drops, shredded coconut, dusted powdered sugar, a piece of Valentine’s day candy, chocolate chips, toothpicks with notes glued to them, and you can always put icing in a ziplock baggie, cut off the tip and pipe it on the cupcake.
The plan is to give these to our neighbors, right? Well who wants to put all the work into delicious icing only to have it smushed by plastic wrap (yeah, I use plastic wrap). I have an idea.
HOW TO MAKE HEART STOPPING CUPCAKE PROTECTORS
Take the Fourth of July toothpicks your husband bought for $.50 last August and strip them of the flags. I don’t hate America, I promise. I just need toothpicks, and well, go figure the Hlushaks only have one’s with American Flags on them.
Punch out little hearts (I got a heart punch on Black Friday at JoAnn’s last season. I guess you could cut out hearts too).
Paste the little hearts to the non-pointy ends of the toothpick.
Stick HEART STOPPING toothpicks into cupcakes (the tallest ones) and wrap with plastic wrap (or whatever non-toxic, hypo allergenic thing you use).
One more pre-game thing you can do-find verses in the Bible that speak of God’s amazing love for us. After all, he is the greatest lover and greatest year-round Valentine.
“It was not by their sword that they won the land,
nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your hand, your arm,
and the light of your face, for you loved them.”
“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed.
His mercies never fail;
they are new every morning.
Great is your faithfulness.”