Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

12 Feb Valentine's Day Cupcakes

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There are many ways to say “I love you”.  One way I say it is through my baking. From the pretty-in-pink to the decadent chocolate/chocolate, here are some of my favorite I Love You’s for Valentine’s Day:

1. Pink Velvet Cupcakes with Sweet Revenge Liqueur

2. Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes with Sweet Revenge and Limoncello

3. Amaretto Sour Cupcakes

4. Goldschlager Red Hot! Cupcakes

Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Frosting

Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Frosting

5. Champagne Cupcakes

6. Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes with Grand Marnier Buttercream

7. Chocolate Wine Cupcakes

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8.   Neapolitan Cupcakes with Chambord Raspberry Buttercream

9.   Chocolate Snoball Cupcakes with Coconut Rum

10. Godiva Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes

11. Frangelico Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

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Why not whip up a batch of something sweet for your special sweetie?

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pink Velvet Cupcakes with Sweet Revenge Liqueur

9 Feb

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Valentine’s Day is once again upon us, the season of everything pink and red and white, the colors of Love. Suddenly the stores are overflowing with red and pink roses and heart-shaped boxes full of chocolates. Entire aisles of greeting cards are devoted to stacks and stacks of sparkly, beribboned, pink and red declarations of love.

We even bake in pink and red. Pinterest is overflowing with photos of Red Velvet cupcakes, Red Velvet Whoopie Pies, Red Velvet Cheesecake, even Red Velvet brownies! Well I have a confession. I don’t like Red Velvet. In fact, the one thing I don’t love this time of year is making Red Velvet cupcakes. My reason is valid; after years and years of trial and error, and more bottles of red food coloring than I can count, I have yet to find the perfect Red Velvet Cupcake recipe (if you’ve found one, please send the link my way!) They are either too dry, too gummy, too RED! And if that isn’t bad enough, I’ve searched in vain for a good pipe-able cream cheese frosting. Sure, there are plenty of recipes out there for tasty cream cheese frosting, but good luck finding one that still holds it shape once it’s been piped out of a pastry bag. But my luck, it seems, has changed…this year I decided to try the kinder, gentler version of Red Velvet.

I introduce to you the Pink Velvet Cupcake!

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I originally found a recipe on Pinterest, but as I was shopping the baking aisle, a saw that Duncan Hines had a Pink Velvet cake mix. I don’t know about you, but on Valentine’s Day, there are a whole lot of other things I’d rather be doing than making cupcakes from scratch. So box mix it was. I added some pretty pink Sweet Revenge strawberry liqueur, topped it with the best pipe-able cream cheese frosting (thank you Lori @ RecipeGirl.com!) and voila! 

The b.u.i. cupcake version of the Pink Velvet Cupcake!

Talk about some lovin’ from the oven!

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PINK VELVET CUPCAKES

Makes 18 – 24 cupcakes

1 package Duncan Hines Pink Velvet cake mix

1 stick butter – room temperature

3 eggs, room temperature

2/3 cup Sweet Revenge liqueur

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake tins with paper liners.

Combine cake mix, butter, eggs and Sweet Revenge in a large mixing bowl at low-speed until moistened – about 30 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl.

Beat at medium speed for about 2 minutes. Batter will be thick.

Fill cupcake tins 1/2 to 2/3 full.

Bake for 18-21 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Remove to wire racks to cool thoroughly.

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CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Original recipe found here by Recipe Girl

2 – 8 oz packages cream cheese, room temperature

1 stick butter, room temperature

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pink and red jimmies and sprinkles

In large bowl of electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until creamy and well blended.

Add in vanilla and mix to combine.

Add powdered sugar and mix on low until combined, then at medium/high-speed until thoroughly mixed. Add more sugar or a splash of milk until desired consistency is reached.

Frost and decorate as desired.

Enjoy!

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Happy Birthday Cupcakes with Chocolate Zinfandel Buttercream Frosting

26 Jan Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Zinfandel Buttercream

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When it comes to birthdays, I have found there are generally two types of people: those who approach them with dread, scarcely acknowledging the day, refusing to discuss their age, mentally ticking off the days til death; and those who fully embrace them, loving the attention, the gifts, the reasons to celebrate life. Age to these people is only a number. I definitely fall into the second category. I love my birthday, look forward to it for 364 days every year. Because on that one day each year, for those 24 hours, it’s all about me. Even if no one else were around to celebrate, as far as I’m concerned, my birthday is my day. Mine. I’m having a pretty good life, its good to take a day to celebrate it.

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I am very fortunate in that I have a sister, Laura, who loves to celebrate my birthday with me. And by celebrate I mean she bakes me a fabulous 3-layer, decadent chocolate cake with creamy chocolate buttercream frosting. My favorite. She sometimes even decorates the top with these amazing shaved chocolate curls. I’ve written about this cake before. It’s a masterpiece. And all mine. For my birthday. And there is a reason I mention this.

This past summer, my friend Diane and I spent a beautiful August day in St. Michaels, Maryland. St. Michaels is one of those quaint little historic towns along the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, overflowing with little shops and eateries and, much to our surprise, a winery. As you can imagine, a day of browsing through shop after shop can really take it out of you, so a break to sample the local wine was just what the doctor ordered. St. Michaels boutique winery had several interesting offerings, but it was the chocolate zinfandel that caught my eye. Chocolate AND wine together in one bottle? Nirvana. I noticed the wine was just the prettiest shade of crimson red as it was poured into my glass, but it was as I lifted the glass to inhale the bouquet that I was immediately transported back to….wait for it….. my sister’s amazing chocolate, chocolate birthday cake. That wine was my sister’s cake in a bottle. With some alcohol added in.

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You should know it took a huge amount of restraint to purchase just the one bottle to bring home. I pondered for quite some time what exactly should do with the wine and concluded it deserved to shine like the gem it is. Nothing fancy, something that would showcase that velvety wine, make it stand out.  I finally decided on a basic vanilla cupcake topped with a chocolate buttercream infused with the chocolate zinfandel – delicious!

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A good vanilla cupcake can be tricky, but I found the best recipe posted here by American Heritage Cooking. Perfect flavor, perfect crumb, nice and moist – this recipe is a keeper.  The frosting is the basic Hershey’s recipe on the back of the can of cocoa, but I substituted the chocolate zin for the milk. Who knew such a simple switch would have such an amazing outcome?

So here it is, a classic vanilla cupcake topped with the creamiest, most decadent chocolate wine buttercream frosting.  The way I see it, whether it’s your birthday, your sister’s birthday, your dog’s birthday, or even I-Remembered-To-Pick-Up The-Dry-Cleaning Day, there’s always a reason to CELEBRATE! And here’s just the cupcake to make it happen.

Classic Vanilla Cupcakes – makes 24 cupcakes

Be sure to have all ingredients at room temperature before starting

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/4 cups sour cream

2 1/2 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into a medium bowl; set aside

Cream butter and sugar in large bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy

Add eggs one at a time, beating to combine after each

Add vanilla, sour cream and almond extract, mixing until just combined

Reduce mixer speed to low and stir in the dry ingredients in several additions. Stir in the last addition by hand until just combined, being careful not to over mix.

Fill cupcake tins about 2/3 full. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with only a few clinging crumbs.

Cool completely before frosting

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Chocolate Zinfandel Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup butter

2/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup chocolate wine

1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter. Transfer to mixing bowl and combine with cocoa. Gradually add powdered sugar, alternating with chocolate wine on medium speed until desired consistency is reached. Stir in vanilla. Frost and decorate as desired.

Enjoy!

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