Pretty in Pink

lemon cupcakes buttermilk fresh raspberry buttercream frosting valentines day recipes treats

This Valentine’s Day, I wanted to use a recipe I’d found for a vibrantly pink raspberry buttercream frosting I came across last year while making a Rainbow Sherbet – inspired cupcake.  I know February is the season for all things chocolate, but I just couldn’t move past the lemon raspberry flavor combo I adore so much  (Lemon Raspberry cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory, anyone?) so I paired this with my Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes from years past, just made into minis.  The results are DIVINE.  This frosting is pretty darn amazing; tart-sweet with no food coloring added.  That shocking pink is au naturel! Topped with a conversation heart for some V-Day flair, these are a cute and yummy treat for friends and coworkers.

What you need:

Makes 48 cuppiecakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • zest of one lemon

lemon cupcakes buttermilk fresh raspberry buttercream frosting valentines day recipes treats

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 ounces of raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons whole milk, room temperature (if needed)

Lemon Buttermilk Cuppiecakes

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a mini muffin tin with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

lemon cupcakes buttermilk fresh raspberry buttercream frosting valentines day recipes treats

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar.

lemon cupcakes buttermilk fresh raspberry buttercream frosting valentines day recipes treats

Beat in egg until just incorporated.

lemon cupcakes buttermilk fresh raspberry buttercream frosting valentines day recipes treats

Add vanilla, lemon zest and lemon extracts into the buttermilk and mix half into the sugar mixture. Mix in half of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining buttermilk, then the rest of the flour. Stir only until just combined. Use a cookie dough scoop to portion out into liners.
Turn oven down to 325 just prior to placing pan in oven. Bake for 9 1/2-11 minutes, turning halfway though, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

 

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Place raspberries in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat stirring with a spoon until they resemble a sauce.

lemon cupcakes buttermilk fresh raspberry buttercream frosting valentines day recipes treats

Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds.

lemon cupcakes buttermilk fresh raspberry buttercream frosting valentines day recipes treats

Place seedless sauce back in the pan and simmer until it reduces to a 1/4 cup of very concentrated raspberry sauce. Set aside to cool.

lemon cupcakes buttermilk fresh raspberry buttercream frosting valentines day recipes treats

When the raspberry flavoring is room temperature, cream the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Sift in 2 cups of powdered sugar, and combine.   Add the raspberry sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of kosher salt and process until smooth.

lemon cupcakes buttermilk fresh raspberry buttercream frosting valentines day recipes treats

Sift in an additional 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until it is spreading consistency.  If it is too stiff, you can add a tablespoon or two of milk, but I didn’t need to. Isn’t it lovely? A bit labor-intensive but worth every delicious calorie.

lemon cupcakes buttermilk fresh raspberry buttercream frosting valentines day recipes treats

Pipe your cakes and top with a conversation heart. Spread the love!

lemon cupcakes buttermilk fresh raspberry buttercream frosting valentines day recipes treats


Bake Love

Valentine's Day treats cupcakes desserts rose buttercream frosting champagne chocolate covered strawberry

When you think of Valentine’s Day, what comes to mind? Love, romance, Cupid…<snore>, let’s get a little more tangible, people.  How about roses? Chocolate covered strawberries? Champagne, maybe? What if you were to combine all of those elements into one perfect edible little package…in the form of a mini cupcake? A delicate champagne cake, topped with a rich, rose-scented buttercream, garnished with a white chocolate drizzled strawberry slice. One, maybe two bites if you’re being polite, the interplay between these subtle, yet distinct flavors delivers one lovely treat.

As always, I’m a scourer of recipes, so this is a combination/adaptation.  Many thanks to Gimme Some Oven (how great is that name?) for the cake recipe and the peeps at epicurious for the fabulously pipeable buttercream frosting base. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the Champagne Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup champagne
  • 3 egg whites

For the Buttercream Frosting:

Valentine's Day treats cupcakes desserts rose buttercream frosting champagne chocolate covered strawberry

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon rose water (found at specialty food stores and your local middle eastern market)
  • 1 drop red food coloring (optional, though festive)

Directions:

To Make The Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a mini cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.

    Valentine's Day treats cupcakes desserts rose buttercream frosting champagne chocolate covered strawberry

  3. In another large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. You should be able to hold the bowl above your head and nothing should move.

    Valentine's Day treats cupcakes desserts rose buttercream frosting champagne chocolate covered strawberry

  4. Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites.  Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.

    Valentine's Day treats cupcakes desserts rose buttercream frosting champagne chocolate covered strawberry

  5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

    Valentine's Day treats cupcakes desserts rose buttercream frosting champagne chocolate covered strawberry

To make the frosting:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the butter, sifted powdered sugar, salt, milk, and rose water until smooth. Mix in food coloring if using.

    Valentine's Day treats cupcakes desserts rose buttercream frosting champagne chocolate covered strawberry

For your strawberries:

Valentine's Day treats cupcakes desserts rose buttercream frosting champagne chocolate covered strawberry

  1. Wash, hull, and slice your berries into ~4-5 slices per berry.  If making minicupcakes, smaller strawberries seem to make a more proportionate garnish.

    Valentine's Day treats cupcakes desserts rose buttercream frosting champagne chocolate covered strawberry

  2. Lightly dry berries by using paper towel to remove excess moisture and place berry slices on a sheet of parchment paper.

    Valentine's Day treats cupcakes desserts rose buttercream frosting champagne chocolate covered strawberry

  3. Temper your melting chocolate and use a spoon to drizzle melted chocolate over berries (obviously, there is some room for improvement in my drizzling technique!).  Allow to dry.  Garnish your cupcakes and share the love!

    Valentine's Day treats cupcakes desserts rose buttercream frosting champagne chocolate covered strawberry


Cake Poppin’

red velvet cinnamon cream cheese frosting cake pop valentine's day treats dessert

When I first saw little cake balls on a stick at Starbucks, I honestly wasn’t very interested.  The idea of frosting and cake covered in more candy/chocolate sounded overly sweet for my preferably savory tastebuds. Then, along came Pinterest and all it’s pretty pictures…all of a sudden, just like that, I HAD to make them.

Thank goodness for Bakerella and her lovely YouTube video!  If you’re a first timer, be sure to check it out for helpful tips – you really can’t go wrong.

As Valentine’s is coming up, what better combo for a cake pop than my favorite, dreamy red velvet with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, doused in a white chocolate shell and adorned with some festive red sprinkles?  Simply, sinfully, scrumdeliumptious.

If you have a recipe for 12 cupcakes, it’ll make enough cake for about 48 cake pops.  I didn’t have enough frosting for that many, so I cut the baked cake in half.  I <gasp!> do not own a cake pan, so poured my prepared cupcake batter into a loaf pan and baked for ~45 minutes at 325, until a toothpick came out clean.

red velvet cinnamon cream cheese frosting cake pop valentine's day treats dessert

I cut the loaf in half and crumbled it up,

red velvet cinnamon cream cheese frosting cake pop valentine's day treats dessert

Added about 1/4 – 1/3 c of Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting (I made a batch of 24 mini cupcakes the same day and frosted them – this was the amount that was leftover)

red velvet cinnamon cream cheese frosting cake pop valentine's day treats dessert

Mix the cake and frosting together and, using a cookie scoop, roll them into uniform little balls that hold together.  Stick the balls in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm them up, then switch them to the fridge – you do not want frozen balls!

red velvet cinnamon cream cheese frosting cake pop valentine's day treats dessert

Meanwhile, get your chocolate ready.  I used the narrowest and deepest microwavable vessel I had on hand, which turned out to be my trusty Pyrex liquid measurer. I filled up my Pyrex cup with my melting chocolate, put it in the microwave for two, 30 second intervals and used a spatula to stir from the inside out (just like you would if using a double boiler to melt your chocolate) to make sure everything is melted, incorporated and smooth. DO NOT OVERHEAT or your chocolate will not set properly.

red velvet cinnamon cream cheese frosting cake pop valentine's day treats dessert

Take a lollipop stick and dip 1/2 inch or so of the tip in melted chocolate.

red velvet cinnamon cream cheese frosting cake pop valentine's day treats dessert

Insert tip into firm cake ball, about halfway through (not all the way through!)

red velvet cinnamon cream cheese frosting cake pop valentine's day treats dessert

Using a straight, vertical motion, submerge your cake ball in chocolate.

red velvet cinnamon cream cheese frosting cake pop valentine's day treats dessert

Use the turn of your hand to make sure all cake is covered (do not twist the stick!)

red velvet cinnamon cream cheese frosting cake pop valentine's day treats dessert

Lift cake pop straight out of vessel, pausing to let excess drip off in a vertical fashion, THEN, turn cake pop 90 degrees and slowly spin stick in your hand.  Use your opposite hand to gently tap your palm to allow all excess to drip off as you spin (watch the video – it is easier than it sounds!)

red velvet cinnamon cream cheese frosting cake pop valentine's day treats dessert

Before chocolate has fully set, sprinkle your cake pop with your favorite adornment. Place finished cake pops in a thick styrofoam base to allow them to set and dry.

red velvet cinnamon cream cheese frosting cake pop valentine's day treats dessert

To serve, I set mine in mini cupcake papers – helps contain the sprinkles!

red velvet cinnamon cream cheese frosting cake pop valentine's day treats dessert


Red Velvet Cupcakes

red velvet cupcake recipe valentine's day hummingbird bakery cinnamon cream cheese frosting

I never really understood the whole hype with Red Velvet cupcakes until I started baking a few years ago.  I always thought it was weird to eat something with such a strong artificial color to it, and was a bit averse to making them.  After some perusing, I found another baker with the same thought process, and discovered this recipe on Joy the Baker (a fabulous blog, if you haven’t yet stumbled upon it).  These Red Velvets have the delicious, lightly chocolate cake the type is known for, but are a subtle shade of rouge that won’t make you feel like you’ll be peeing red. :)

red velvet cupcake recipe valentine's day cinnamon cream cheese frosting pernigotti unsweetened cocoa powder

À la Martha, I tend to prefer Dutch processed cocoa for its milder flavor and use gel pastes for my food coloring, so those changes are reflected in the recipe below.  I finish it off with my trusty, pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting, adding a bit of cinnamon for a surprise and finally top it off with a cinnamon candy heart in honor of the holiday.  Enjoy and remember to share the love!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

makes 12 cupcakes

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tablespoons dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder (like Pernigotti)
  • 1/4 tsp red gel paste food coloring
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 5/8 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Turn mixer to high and add  the egg.  Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.
  3. Add in cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring, mixing thoroughly until completely combined.  You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.
    red velvet cupcake recipe valentine's day cinnamon cream cheese frosting pernigotti unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk.  Add half of the flour and all of the salt and mix until combined.  Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour.  Beat on high until smooth.
  5. Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar.  Turn to high and beat until well incorporated.
  6. Scoop batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan and bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.
    red velvet cupcake recipe valentine's day cinnamon cream cheese frosting pernigotti unsweetened cocoa powder
  7. Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them of a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

(makes 2 cups, more than enough for 12 cupcakes, maybe closer to 16)

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cold
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted (measure, then sift into bowl)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  1. Have the cream cheese cold and the butter at room temperature. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until blended. Add sugar one-third at a time and beat just until smooth and the desired consistency. If frosting is too stiff, beat for few seconds longer. Do not overbeat. Stir in cinnamon to taste.
    red velvet cupcake recipe valentine's day cinnamon cream cheese frosting pernigotti unsweetened cocoa powder
  2. To finish, use a piping bag to frost cupcakes. Garnish each with a cinnamon heart.