Valentine's Day Treats- What Worked and What Didn't

by - Saturday, February 16, 2013

I was feeling ambitious and tried two different treats for Valentine's Day (the Boy made us dinner, so this was my big contribution.

First, I made coffee cakes for breakfast. I got the recipe from the blog Ice Cream before Dinner, who was doing a variation on a recipe she got from Epicurious (you can check it out here). The upside is that they were really moist. The downside was that the cake didn't have a ton of taste and they looked like the top of a bald man's head. Clearly I needed less cake and more cinammon brown sugar business on top.

On the other hand, the boy took half of them with him to work and rather than sharing them, he ate them all over three days. So they must not have been too terrible. I am convinced I can make some mind-blowing coffee cakes with more experimenting, so once I figure it out, I will let you know.

Second, I tried to use the cake mix The Boy already bought to make cupcakes with little hearts in them. I got the instructions here, but I think if I did it again I might actually put the hearts flat in the cupcake, because unless you bite into it the exact right way, the effect is sort of lost.

At the same time, this is a pretty simple way to add a little extra something to regular cake mix cupcakes (which are delicious, so I am not knocking them). Funfetti is the bomb. You could do it with any simple shape or very small cookie cutter shape.

Basically, make cake mix as if you are making regular cupcakes, then split out a third to a fourth (I would recommend a fourth, because I had left over hearts and not quite enough batter). Dye the smaller batch whatever color you would like to use. Bake the pink (or whatever color you choose) batch in a square or small bake pan. You want it to be somewhere between an inch and an inch and a half thick.

As soon as the cake is together enough to hold a shape (don't wait until it is actually done or it will be dried out), pull it out and put it in the freezer. Use this time to clean up and get the cupcake pan ready. Then, pull the cake out after 20-30 minutes (this will help it from drying out too) and cut out your shapes. If you have a small heart cookie cutter, congrats! You can just cut them out and skip this step. Cutting out hearts is simple. Cut an X into the cake, and just keep cutting the four triangles in half until it is short enough to fit in the pan. They should be right-angled triangles.

The top image illustrates this. Place the triangle with the hypotenuse up and the right angle down. Cut the top two corners off and cut a "v" into the center of your hypotenuse! So simple! Once this is done, Spoon one thing of cake batter into the bottom of the cake pan, then push the heart down into it. Spoon one batter onto each sides. If they don't cover completely, don't worry. The frosting will cover any awkward spots.

Put the cupcakes in and keep an eye on them because they bake fast. If you are really clever, figure out a way to frost them so the "front" of the cupcake is clear and it's easy to bite into the heart. Otherwise, just make sure the heart isn't poking out anywhere. This was my finished product:

Cute right? Ok, so perhaps I am still not pinterest-worthy here, but they were cute and tasted like cake, so who can complain.  On to the next holiday!

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