Monday, February 13, 2012

romancing the belly [heart cutout cupcakes]

hello lovers!

i don't care much for valentine's traditions, but i can't help myself when it comes to baking heart-shaped goodies.  i knew i wanted to try this adorable technique when i saw it on glorious treats last month.

first you'll bake some chocolate cupcakes (i used a box mix), filling the cups 3/4 full (instead of the recommended 2/3). this should be good for 18 cupcakes, but not quite enough for 24.

i added the extra batter to a small ramekin and made a mini cake with it.

when the cupcakes are finished baking, they will come out nicely domed (haha, dome.)

while we're waiting for them to cool, make the frosting.

start by rinsing and hulling some strawberries, then slice them.
i really wanted an excuse to use this adorable strawberry slicer.

after you slice the berries, mash them up a bit with a fork


now press the mash through a fine mesh strainer to get rid of the excess juice.

you'll want 1/4 cup strawberry solids.  set aside.

 now cream together 1 stick of butter and 2 blocks of cream cheese (both at room temperature)

add confectioners sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing well between each addition (2 cups total)

this is my basic cream cheese frosting recipe. normally you'd be done here, but we need to add the strawberries.

add the mashed strawberries and mix until fully incorporated

your icing will be a nice light pink color.

the cupcakes should be cooled at this point...

so behead them with a serrated knife, using the top of the liner as a guide.

since the smooth top of the cupcake has been removed, it's difficult to spread the frosting without getting crumbs all up in there.  so i used a pastry bag with a flat tip, and just did squiggles

take the cupcake lids and cut a heart in them with an itty bitty heart cookie cutter

replace the lids

and you now have the cutest cupcakes ever.

but what to do with the heart cutouts?

there will be plenty of frosting left over, so you can frost them too (sloppily, of course)

and remember the mini-cake?  yeah, i did that too.

i had a little... 

extra time... 

on my hands

heart cutout cupcakes.

make some chocolate (or whatever flavor tickles your fancy) cupcakes from a box mix

icing ingredients
2 8-oz blocks cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar
5-10 whole strawberries (depending on size)

make the cupcakes according to the directions on the box.
fill liners 3/4 full (instead of the recommended 2/3 full) to achieve dome-ness.
this is enough for 18 cupcakes, but not enough for 24. get creative with any extra batter.

while the cupcakes are cooling:
hull, slice, and mash strawberries
press strawberry mash through a fine mesh strainer, reserving 1/4 cup of the remaining solids
cream together butter and cream cheese with a mixer
add confectioners sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition
add strawberries, mix well

using a serrated knife, slice the dome off the top of the cupcake, using the top of the liner as a guide
ice cupcakes with a flat pastry tip, snaking it back and forth to avoid crumbs in the icing
use a cookie cutter to cut a heart shape into the cupcake lids
replace the lids over the iced cupcakes

now feed them to people you love, including yourself!  

that's right...TREAT YO SELF!