Valentine Day Cupcakes

I tried to make these cupcakes for Valentine's Day, but the hearts that I made were too big, so when I cut into the cupcakes, there was just a big red blob.  I was pretty disappointed, but still had a ton of french vanilla cake batter and about a million little cake hearts, so I had to figure something out.  This is what I came up with.  They're adorable, right?  Right.  And, they're pretty easy to make!

The cupcakes are french vanilla and I added maraschino cherry frosting in honor of Valentine's Day.  The hearts are just tiny little heart cakes, made out of the same batter as the cupcakes.  

You could easily adapt this for any holiday or occasion  so long as you have a cookie cutter that suits what you're making them for.   

First, make the hearts and cupcakes. 

What you need for the cake:
1 French Vanilla Box Cake Mix
1 Box of Powdered Vanilla Pudding
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Water
3/4 Cup Oil 
4 Eggs

What you do make the cupcakes and hearts:
1.  Mix all the ingredients together for the cake.  Separate about 1/3 of the batter into a separate bowl. 

2.  Using food coloring, tint the smaller portion of the batter to the color you desire. 

3.  Pour the tinted food coloring onto a sheet cake pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the cake is done. 

4.  Set the sheet cake aside to cool.  Meanwhile, using the remaining batter, make cupcakes, baking according to the directions on the cake mix box. 

5.  Once the sheet cake has cooled, using a small heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out as many hearts as you can from the sheet cake.  Remove the hearts from the pan and discard the scrap sheet cake. (I "discarded" the scrap sheet cake by eating it.  Don't judge.)

Second, make the icing. 

I slightly adapted my icing recipe from Glorious Treats.  

What you need for the icing:
2 Sticks of Butter at room temperature
4 Cups Powdered Sugar
6 Tbsp Maraschino Cherry Juice
1/2 Cup finely chopped Maraschino Cherries
A pinch of salt

What you do to make the icing:
1.  Beat the butter until smooth. 

2.  Add 1 cup of powdered sugar.  Beat until fully incorporated.  Repeat with a second cup of powdered sugar. 

3.  Add 1 Tbsp of maraschino cherry juice.  Beat until fully incorporated.  Repeat until you have added all 6 Tbsps of maraschino cherry juice. 

4.  Add 1 cup of powdered sugar.  Beat until fully incorporated.  Repeat with a second cup of powdered sugar. 

5.  Add the chopped cherries and a pinch of salt.  Beat to fully incorporate. 

6. You may add food coloring to tint your frosting if you would like.  I added a little bit of red to make my frosting a bit more pink that it was naturally.

Third, assemble the cupcakes. 

To assemble the cupcakes, pipe a bit of frosting on top of each cupcake.  Then, insert a toothpick into the bottom (pointed) end of one heart.  Feed the toothpick into the heart until it is about half-way in.  Push the exposed part of the toothpick into the top of the cupcake.  Your heart should now be "sitting" on top of each cupcake (no toothpick should be exposed).  Repeat until all cupcakes are assembled. 



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