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      1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
      1 cup sugar
      1 tsp baking powder
      1/4 tsp each baking soda and salt
      2 large eggs
      2/3 cup milk
      1 tsp vanilla extract
      1 cup all-purpose flour
      1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
      Vanilla Buttercream (recipe follows)
      Faces: candy heart decors, red and pink sprinkles (jimmies) and nonpareils, and semisweet chocolate chips

      vanilla buttercream
      2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
      1 jar (7 or 71/2 oz) marshmallow cream (such as Marshmallow Fluff or Creme)
      2 cups confectioners’ sugar
      1 tsp vanilla extract
      Beat ingredients in a large bowl with mixer on low speed until blended. Increase speed to high; beat 2 minutes, or until smooth and fluffy. Makes about 3 cups.

      1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 12 regular-size (about 23/4-in.

      diameter) muffin cups with paper or foil liners.2. Beat butter, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed 1 minute, or until well blended. Add eggs; beat on high 2 minutes until fluffy.

      On low speed, beat in milk and vanilla (batter will look curdled), then flour and cocoa powder, just until blended. Spoon into lined cups to about 1/2 in. of top of liner (you’ll have batter left).3.

      Bake 15 to 18 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes, then remove from pan to rack to cool completely. Use remaining batter to bake 4 more cupcakes.

      Cool as above.4. Frost cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream, reserving some for noses.5. Faces: Place heart decors and red sprinkles on cupcakes as sunglasses, and hearts for mouths on “girl” cupcakes.

      Press on sprinkles and nonpareils for hair. Put chocolate chips in a qt-size ziptop bag. Microwave on high 20 seconds.

      Press bag to see if chocolate has melted. If not, repeat at 5-second intervals until melted. Knead bag until chocolate is smooth.

      Cut a tiny tip off 1 corner; pipe eyebrows and a mouth on “boy” cupcakes, and a hair bow on “girl” cupcakes. Spoon reserved frosting into a small ziptop bag, cut tip off a corner and pipe a nose on each.Planning Tip: Can be made up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate in an airtight container.Leave some frosted cupcakes plain and encourage kids to make faces for once!

      Set out bowls of small candies and let them have a ball decorating cupcakes for their valentines.

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