Ralph Wiggum is my Valentine. I choo-choo-choose him. 🙂
Oops. I mean, Ralph is my four-fingered, animated, 2nd grader Valentine. Eric is my real life Valentine. I choo-choo-choose him first.
If you are a Simpsons fan and get this then I heart you. We should get together and talk in Ralph-isms over coffee.
“Me fail English? That’s unpossible!”
“I ated the purple berries! They taste like….burning.”
“The doctor said I wouldn’t have so many nosebleeds if I kept my finger outta there!”
And for you, all my lovely reader Valentines…CUPCAKES! Share them with your Valentine, even if your Valentine is Ralph Wiggum. Little cupcake buddies for you and all your four-fingered, animated friends.
Moist, tangy and festive red velvet cupcakes topped with swirls of sweet, creamy cream cheese frosting and wearing a Valentine’s Day smile. They choo-choo-choose YOU to share their candy hearts with. 🙂
All it takes to turn these cupcakes from irresistible to adorable is a couple of squeeze bottles and a few squares of baking chocolate. The eyes, mouths and cherry stems are semi-sweet squares (3 to 4 ounces) and the cherries and hearts are white squares (4 ounces, divided) colored with gel food coloring. (Note: You can’t use liquid food coloring to color chocolate – it will seize.)
You can really make and shape you want out of chocolate to decorate your cupcakes – either by tracing the shape – like I did with cherries:
I picked out an image I liked, (Thank you, Microsoft Office and your wonderful array of free clipart) and then printed it several times across the page. I turned a baking sheet upside down (so the lip of the pan didn’t get in the way) and put a sheet of parchment over my images. It’s easy from there! Just trace over it with chocolate. To fill it in, I just put a couple dots of chocolate and then smoothed it with a toothpick. I clearly don’t have the steadiest hand in the world, but overall I was pleased with how they came out.
Or you can draw the design free hand – which is what I did for the eyes, smiles and hearts. If you do draw free hand, make sure to do way more than you’ll need to decorate. That way, you can choose the best ones to top your cakes. 🙂
To set the shapes, place the cookie sheets in the refrigerator or freezer – then just peel them off! You’ll have extra. You’ll have to figure out something do with them. I’m sure you’ll think of something. 🙂
Now, let’s talk about the cakes themselves! I’ve made red velvet once before – I turned them Illini blue, but that doesn’t matter. They were good, but a tad dry. When I decided to make red velvet for Valentine’s Day, I knew I wanted to try a different recipe. This one from Kelsey at Apple a Day (who’s blog is WONDERFUL, by the way! Such creative and homey recipes!) seemed to be a favorite among the blogging world.
I have to say…these are phenomenal! SO moist, the perfect crumb, a great crown, amazing color. They are pretty much spot on. They have that great tangy flavor that is unmistakably red velvet. It’s kind of hard to explain how red velvet cake tastes, isn’t it? It’s for sure not chocolate – but it’s a different taste from a plain white cake too. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, Kelsey! This will be my go-to red velvet from now on!
Cream cheese frosting is pretty traditional with red velvet. Feel free to use your favorite. I like the one in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. It has a great flavor and just has the perfect creamy consistency. It’s super easy to work with – pipes like a dream, if you will. 🙂
So, Happy Valentine’s Day from the Cupcake Buddies! Hope you got to spend it with all your favorite people. 🙂
- 2 1/2 c. cake flour
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 TBSP cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
- 1 c. buttermilk
- 2 TBSP (1 oz.) red food coloring
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. white distilled vinegar
Preheat oven to 350°.
Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.
Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Line two 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners and fill each one 2/3 full.
Bake cupcakes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cakes cool 5 minutes, then remove to cooling rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
**Note: I halved the cake recipe above to get 12 cupcakes – this frosting recipe makes about 4 cups, which was the perfect amount for laying it on pretty thick in piped swirls. If you make 24 cupcakes, you’ll probably need more frosting (this recipe is easily doubled), or check out the frosting recipe Kelsey has in her post. 🙂
- 1 80z. package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 5 3/4 to 6 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar beating well. Gradually beat in additional powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.
Gang’s all here! ENJOY! 🙂
One Year Ago: Rich, meaty and satisfying Short Ribs with Tagliatelle for a Valentine’s Day at home with my hubby. 🙂