Sunday, January 31, 2010

Valentine's Day Cupcakes

So February is around the corner... which means in 15 days a lovely holiday that everyone tends to love or hate comes around. Some call it Valentine's Day, some call it Single's Awareness Day.... I call it Really Yummy Baked Goods and Other Chocolate Delights Readily Available Season. Thanks to the fact that the grocery store likes to decorate the store at least a month before any said holiday remotely comes to fruition ... I was delighted to see that my local Kroger has started putting out their annual crop of medium-sized (i.e. Kendallina sized) heart-shaped cookie cakes. Now I don't think about how these cookie cakes will be stale as all hell by the time Valentine's actually gets here... I know that Kroger makes these cakes for fat-girls like me. Fat girls who plan on eating their feelings long before the actual holiday arrives. Cause on January 29 I buy a Kendallina sized heart shaped cookie cake all for my self.

The check out woman takes and scans my lone purchase and eyes me like:
"Don't think I don't know that you plan on eating this all yourself you fat, sad, lonely, girl. Maybe if you stop eating cookie cakes by yourself a nice young man would buy you a cookie cake for you to share 2 WEEKS FROM NOW WHEN THE ACTUAL HOLIDAY IS"

Actually it was more like:
1. Blank stare
2. Do you have a Kroger Card?
3. Cash or Credit?
4. Sign.
5. More blank staring.

.... But I know what she was thinking....


This little encounter reminded me that Valentine's is close, and for those of you who were fortunate/unfortunate enough to be trapped in Bloomington, Indiana in a very boring Vocal Pedagogy graduate course .... you will remember that I decided to make cupcakes for everyone on V-Day. Just cause you are single doesn't mean that you should be deprived yummy baked goods, and Kendallina was there to make sure everyone (at least in class that day) was taken care of:

Now for those of you who would like to take a stab at these to bring some Valentine's Day joy to others .... or if you just want to make them to eat your feelings.... here is the recipe:

Servings: Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter , softened
  • 1/2 vanilla bean , scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar (1 pound box), plus more if necessary
Cream the butter in a medium-sized bowl until very smooth. Stir in the vanilla-bean seeds until they are evenly distributed. Add the salt and milk, and stir until combined. Sift the sugar over the butter mixture and stir the mixture until it's perfectly smooth. If the frosting is too loose, add a few more tablespoons of the confectioners' sugar, and stir until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap until you're ready to use; mix well just before using.

RED VELVET CUPCAKES (Stolen from the famous/infamous MAGNOLIA BAKERY in NYC)
  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour three 9- by 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper.

To make the cake: In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.

In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

When the cake has cooled, spread the frosting between the layers, then ice the top and sides of the cake with Icing.

But how do I make them pretty like you did Kendallina?

Well the decorations are made with Fondant. Hardcore people make their own fondant.... I'm not THAT talented so I bought some Wilton pre-made Fondant. You can buy it at any Hobby Lobby or art supplies store that sells cake decorating tools. To make the colors you just add food coloring to the fondant and mix. Then cut out little shapes and things.

For more info on what the hell fondant is exactly and how to use it go HERE.


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